2013 Ironman 70.3 UK Champions Ritchie Nicholls and Eimear Mullan have confirmed they will be back to defend their titles on Sunday 15th June, in what promises to be an exciting Pro race amongst a leading British line up.
Last year saw a very tightly contested race amongst IRONMAN 70.3 newcomers Tim Don, Will Clarke and Ritchie Nicholls, but it was Nicholls who eventually took the event by storm as he not only fended off the Olympians in his first 70.3 race but also broke the course record by 54 seconds.
This year promises even more excitement with the same trio entered together with IRONMAN UK Champion Dan Halksworth and bronze medallist Paul Hawkins also committed to be on the start line.
I’m really looking forward to racing on home soil at Wimbleball again – it’s a fantastic event.” Ritchie commented. “Last year was my first 70.3 and despite Eimear’s attempts to warn me about how tough the course was I didn’t quite appreciate her words of wisdom! So second time around, together with a year of racing long distance under my belt, I can head into the race better prepared to defend my title. With Tim and Will also having more experience on their side it should be a really tough race.”
Eimear Mullan (IRE) is currently firm favourite in the women’s Pro field entry at this stage ahead of the race. Reigning Champion for the last two years, Eimear’s course knowledge and strength should be a force to reckoned with given her current form.
Ahead of the event Eimear said, “This is one of my favourite races – It’s a tough one, but I’m really looking forward to come back and defend my title for the third consecutive year.”
The Pro field will form part of the sell out 1900 athletes entered in this iconic and world’s first IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon event. Staged on the edge of Exmoor’s National Park it offers a truly stunning yet toughest of courses.
Starting with a 1.2 mile swim in Wimbleball Lake, the athletes will embark on a two lap 56 mile bike course – which entails 52 hills and 1190m of climbing, eased only by the excitement and buzz of the fantastic crowd support. The final 13.1 mile mixed terrain run course comprises three laps each with its very own leg bursting hill climb.
Kevin Stewart, Managing Director of Ironman UK said, “We are very much looking forward to welcoming all the athletes to our first event of the season. This event is always a firm favourite in the IRONMAN calendar many of whom are first timers and we very much hope their experience will play a part towards their journey to completing a full Ironman.”
Many of the athletes will be fundraising for two hugely worthwhile charities, The Rotary Charity Fundraisers and Scope. Both charities would love any support athletes are able to contribute as part of their event experience and be contacted directly via their websites.