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Roberts’ reward is trip to Ironman Worlds in Hawaii

August 24th, 2022 2:00 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

Category winner Paula Roberts and her husband Bill Brown who both competed in Ironman 70.3 in Youghal. (Photo: Garry Minihane)

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‘YOU can’t say no to a trip to Hawaii,’ Paula Roberts laughed. And she certainly won’t.

Her reward for victory in her age category (F45-49) at the recent Ironman in Youghal is a ticket to the Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii – the holy grail for Ironman lovers.

‘It’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip,’ Roberts says, and she can’t wait for the big event in early October, but right now she’s dialling down her training and taking a well-earned breather after her heroic exertions in Youghal.

The Dubliner, who relocated to Old Court in Skibbereen, completed the gruelling 3.8km swim, 180km bike course and 42.2km run in 12 hours 54 minutes and 46 seconds. An Ironman is the ultimate test, but the searing heat added to the challenge. It was all about racing smarts, as Roberts explains.

‘The weather was so hot, everyone suffered so it was about whoever was the toughest out there, mentally,’ she says.

‘The swim was lovely because it was six o’clock in the morning so it was cool. That was a 3.8k swim and I had a good time for that.

‘The first lap on the bike, I held back. I had done the Ironman in Youghal before and I knew it was going to be tough on the second lap. I wasn’t counting on the heat though, but I knew I had to keep the heart-rate low and save it for the second lap, and I was quite strong. The heat was so ferocious, you were trying to find shade on the road wherever you could, under the trees. I used my brain and held back for the second lap.’

The run was a challenge, too. Roberts started to cramp and felt nauseous halfway through the 42.2km course, but battled on to win, conquering Ironman and the heat.

It’s all about rest and recuperation now. Visits to Lough Hyne for gentle swims. A bit of spinning. But no running for a little while; her legs need a rest. Then she’ll step it up again ahead of the World Championships in Hawaii.

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