US endurance sport athlete Jesse Thomas won the 5th Ironman Wales in Tenby yesterday.
Thomas’ season had been focused on the Half Ironman World Championship held in Austria at the end of last month. However, a controversial 5 min penalty incurred during the cycle leg brought a four year commitment to the event to an end and tears to his eyes as his 5th place position and goal of a top ten finish evaporated.
So what does someone with a Welsh surname and a passing resemblance to Lee Halfpenny do in these circumstances?
Obvious really, compete in and win your first full Ironman event having only ever cycled 112 miles once in your life (12 years ago) and never having run a marathon (Mr Thomas had run 20 miles but that was 15 years ago). And decide to do this a couple of weeks out from the event. Good on you butty.
He passed me as he finished his swim (I was starting my second lap) and on the bike too (he was finishing his second lap, I was on my first).
So congratulations to Jesse Thomas, Wales salutes you. And with the 2015 Rugby World Cup kicking off this week and the great Lee Halfpenny laid-up injured, Wales wonders whether you have a Welsh grandparent and whether you can turn your hand to place kicking and full back play as effectively as your moved to Ironman.