Wales shone in all its glory this weekend providing perfect conditions for an all-British victory with Tom Bishop and Lucy Byram taking the wins at Challenge Wales in 3:56:28 and 4:25:07 respectively.
Andrew Horsfall-Turner led out of the swim, posting a time of 25:20 with Tom Bishop right on his heels, and exiting T1 together one and a half minutes ahead of third place Harry Palmer.
After lap one of the two lap course, a hilly out-and-back towards the country’s smallest city, St David, Bishop had put in a sizeable lead of over four minutes that almost doubled on the second lap. Behind him, local athlete Liam Lloyd (GBR) had overtaken Palmer to come into T2 in second, just seconds ahead. While Bishop continued to maintain his lead on the run, Palmer and Lloyd were duelling for second and third on the first of the four laps, a battle ultimately won by Palmer who went on to post the fastest run split of the day in 1:16:07. Bishop was never under threat and took the win 7:48 ahead of Palmer with Lloyd coming in third in 3:28:06.
“I just put my head down and went for it on the bike,” said Bishop. “I’d made around 90 seconds by the first turn on the bike and I just carried on at the same effort and then on the second lap I wanted to recover a bit to make sure I had a half marathon in my legs. I started to suffer at the end but the plan worked and I came first, super happy about that!”
In the women’ race, Rosie Weston led out of the swim, ahead of race favourite Lucy Byram in 29:03 but this was the last time Byram would be anywhere but in front. She essentially raced alone all day from early in the bike and never looked back, smashing the course record in 4:25:07. Behind her, Lizzie Rayner quickly took ownership of second place on the first bike lap while Australian Renee Kiley moved into third, placings that would not change during the duration of the race. The only thing that did change was the size of Byram’s lead which was 12:18 by the time she crossed the line.
“It was a tough day! A few of us came out of the water together which was nice and then I put my head down on the bike and came off six or minutes ahead for the run and then I just built on that.”