A recent Olympic distance triathlon win and course record at South Cerney after a 10 year gap from triathlon competitions showed that Lucy Walmsley, now aged 44 and a member of the newly formed 'North Cotswold Tri & Run' club, was in good form leading up to the New Forest Half Ironman. She had been inspired to do this race by two friends, Lisa Cartlidge and Hanna Minett who both battled on admirably to complete it.
Despite having A family with two young children to look after and run her own business, Stow Physio Ltd., she still manages to fit in the hard training necessarily for doing this type of event. As this was her first attempt at this distance, one could only speculate at what she might achieve although the dedication of training and the determination throughout the race made it no surprise to those who know her that she won the race.
However, it was the manner in which she won that was dramatic and astonishing.
Coming out of the one mile swim in about fourth or fifth place she sailed through transition to be first out on the 56 mile bike course consisting of three laps. After the first lap Lucy had a good lead of 4 1/2 minutes over the next placed lady and the gap was increasing. Then disaster struck and her rear wheel punctured. As everybody went speeding by she could only watch while trying to change her inner tube. Not able to inflate the new tube with the emergency gas canister she was facing the end of the race and proceeded to walk with the bike. After a little while she decided to just ride it back with a flat tyre. A spectator supporting one of the other riders spotted her and offered to help but by now the new innertube was wrecked. Fortunately he had a spare and a pump and she was able to continue on her way even though the tyre was still severely deflated.
Lucy sportingly and dutifully declared all this to the race referee who was completely happy about the situation.
The whole episode cost around 20 minutes and Lucy was now back in 16th place so in her mind the race to win had gone but she needed to complete the course and treat it as a time trial as it was a build up to her ambition of doing an ironman in Bolton next year which is a qualifier for the World Championships in Kona.
Now about 16 minutes behind the lead she continued to pass other cyclists during the next lap and a half and again overtaking people in transition she started the half marathon run in sixth place and over nine minutes behind the leader. On a gruelling and very demanding, off road course she gave everything of herself, overhauling men and women until finally overtaking the leading lady with less than 2 miles to go. From there on Lucy never looked back, well only once to see if she had enough breathing space to give her kids a high-five on the way past! Her supporters were in awe and totally ecstatic to witness this remarkable win and proud to see Lucy as a champion in her very first half ironman.