Firefighter Sophie Hedges took part in the Ironman World Championship, in Hawaii this year.
Sophie finished with a 47-minute personal best over this distance in an overall time of 10:40:19, coming 38th in her age group out of 237 people (3rd Brit) and 202nd out of 2037 women overall (top 10% in the world).
Well done to Sophie on such an amazing achievement, read her race report below:
This race is like no other race I have done before; the buzz of this event is second to none. You can feel the energy as soon as you step off the plane onto the Big Island.
The race began with a deep water start in the Pacific Ocean. 237 swimmers patiently behind a row of surfers with their boards tip to tail. As the gun went, my World Championship race had begun.
The course took us straight out of the bay for 1.2 miles, where the coral and fish soon just became deep blue. I was alone and it was time to push on.
Onto transition, a skill which I wholeheartedly believe I have perfected due to my career in the Fire Service. Both speed and precision are needed to safely get from the swim and onto the bike with everything you need.
So, I did just that and was out onto the bike course in 3 minutes 1 second.
The bike leg is 112 miles of long straight roads, with little shade, again an out and back course. I was very conscious at this point to not go out too hard with what was still ahead and managed to make it to transition without being caught by my teammate which gave me a real boost.
Back into transition to swap the cycling shoes for trainers and onto the final leg, just a marathon ahead of me and that famous black and red finishers carpet.
The first 10km of the course was lined with spectators so it was a chance to soak up all the support and save it for the journey ahead.
The next focus was a section of the run called the energy lab; this is a science and technology park on the island which the run course makes its way through.
It was not until this point that I allowed myself a glance at my watch. I had just over 11km to go and my watch said 9 hours 30, I had to double take, but again it still said 9 hours 30.
This was the moment I realised I was going to make my goal of sub 11 hours
The steep descent of Palani Road finally came into view, supporters filled the roads once again and it was time to soak up the last 1.5km. The finish line was the time for me to take it all in, to feel that carpet under my feet and to see the familiar faces of my club members.
The dream had come true, and that finishing arch was within reaching distance.
Looking back on this race I can truly say I loved every minute; my head was in a great place the whole way through.
I want to say a big thank you to the National Triathlon Section, the Service triathlon section (headed by Mark Lawson) and the sports and welfare section who have all had a massive role in supporting and funding this goal.
Also, to Red Watch Scunthorpe for listening to me talk about Kona for the best part of a year and a half and allowing me to turn the fans off in the gym so I could get used to being uncomfortable.
The need to stay fit and healthy for the role as a Firefighter and the time we have dedicated to this on shift has undoubtedly helped me get to the World Championships.