Hawaii high for triathlete Mel

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The 32-year-old won her age group and finished seventh overall, beating two professional triathletes in the process, in the Half Ironman UK Triathlon on Sunday.As a result she has been handed a place in the prestigious Hawaii event for which over 50,000 triathletes from more than 50 countries attempt to qualify each year.Sunday’s race, which was held at Sherbourne Castle in Dorset, is the biggest triathlon in the UK and attracted 1,352 competitors.The field raced over a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run with Messervy the 117th competitor to cross the finish line, in 4 hr 29 min 28 sec – less than nine minutes behind the leading lady Lisbeth Kristensen of Denmark.Island Games double gold medallist Messervy came first in the 30-34 age group in her first attempt at the longer distance and produced the fastest bike section of any female athlete in the field – more than four minutes quicker than anyone else.After a chilly and nerve-racking wait due to fog and traffic jams, Messervy set out for the 1.2-mile swim with the first wave of competitors, which included élite athletes from the UK, Europe and the USA.The Island Games double gold medallist had a good swim, exiting the lake in first place in her age group and seventh overall, which put her in a strong position for her best discipline, the bike.

The 56-mile cycle following a technical route on local roads but that did not faze the Jersey girl who overtook all six of the professional female athletes ahead of her.

A slight hiccup with her running shoes, which were briefly misplaced by the transition helpers, meant Messervy was delayed in the changeover but she still set out on the run in second place overall.The final phase was a 13.1-mile run across the hilly grounds of the castle and this proved to be Messervy’s biggest challenge.Despite holding third position until the 12th mile she found the final stretch extremely difficult and the more experienced élite athletes caught her.

However, she still maintained her lead of over ten minutes in her age group.

‘Coming seventh overall was unexpected but I was really blown away that I had beaten some of the pros,’ said Messervy.

‘When I started the run I was in second place but then I died a death on the second lap of the run.’When I was in second all the cameras were in my face and everyone was cheering – it meant I had my moment of glory.

The event was absolutely huge.

The swim was a mass start.

It’s the biggest triathlon in England.’After that Messervy’s attentions turn to the World Triathlon Championships at Queenstown in New Zealand in December, although her travelling to this event could depend on finances.

However, she is desperate to go and targets an age-group medal as a realistic prospect.The Ogier and Le Masurier Olympic distance Triathlon, run by the Jersey Triathlon Club, takes place next Saturday.

Anyone interested in competing should call Gary Jones on 728323 or log on to www.jerseytriclub.org

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