Two Harrogate athletes made Bolton a home away from home as they battled several of the best Ironman competitors in the world over the weekend.
Caroline Livesey and Eleanor Haresign tackled the gruelling course for more than ten hours to finish second and fourth respectively in Britain’s most prestigious Ironman race.
Livesey, an engineer by day, completed the course in ten hours five minutes and 21 seconds, 34 minutes behind dominant gold medallist Lucy Gossage.
The 33-year-old said: “To get that result, and to do it on the home course with my family there and a lot of people that have been involved in my development, to do it for them, and to see the happiness on their faces, it was just amazing.”
Haresign also produced an admiral performance on the Lancashire streets as she came home 14 minutes behind Livesey and little over a minute away from a podium place.
Ironman events are one of the toughest challenges in sport with athletes swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles and then running a marathon to finish. And the conditions in Bolton made the race even more challenging.
Heavy rain caused visibility problems for competitors during the swim, but it did not prevent Haresign staying close to the eventual winner.
The pair left the water after 59.11 minutes, two minutes ahead of Livesey.
Livesey made up that gap on her town rival as she posted the second fastest bike leg of the professional women and climbed from fifth to second place.
She then completed her race with a marathon time of 3:21:07 – taking her time to 10:05:21 overall.
“The support from the crowds was just amazing. It was great to see so many people out on the course cheering.”Caroline Livesey
Haresign, who finished fifth in a world class field at the inaugural Staffordshire Ironman last month, lost third place on the marathon finale as ran with a back problem. She was forced to walk a section of the course before battling back to clock a time of 3:26:43 and 10:19:48 overall.
There was an electric atmosphere around Bolton throughout the competition for a race now into its seventh year. Livesey was delighted by the atmosphere and thanked husband and coach Mark for spurring her on.
On the crowds, she said: “The support from the crowds was just amazing. It was great to see so many people out on the course cheering.”
Haresign added: “They really got behind the event. I wanted to quit an hour into the run but I didn’t want to have to explain a DNF to all the people that came.
“Nobody likes to finish fourth but it shows what I can do in the professional races and will spur me on in my next race.
“I have learned a lot from the race, but it was not the day I had hoped for.”