Barnoldswick’s Rob Scothern - currently based at RAF Scampton - won the UK Ironman 18-24 category in Bolton on Sunday, his first event in the sport!
Rob, son of former Barnoldswick Cricket Club captain Mike, entered the competition, widely regarded as one of the toughest in the world, which consists of a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile cycle,before a Marathon.
At 6 a.m. in Pennington Flash, 1,600 swimmers started in a mass start, and this was followed by the cycle part of the race around the environs of Adlington and Bolton, followed by the Marathon.
Rob completed the race in 10 hours 32 minutes, as he finished first in the 18-24 age category, gaining him qualification for the World Championship event at the world famous Kona Ironman in Hawaii on Saturday, October, 12 - an event which has been held annually since 1978.
There he will join an exclusive band of athletes.
Each year, more than 80,000 vie for slots at the World Championship, but only approximately 1,900 make it to the starting line on race day.
Every full-distance Ironman event, and selected 70.3 races, offer a minimum of one qualifying spot per age group, and Rob, who finished 81st over all ages and Pro caregories in Bolton, has earned his place in Hawaii, for what is renowned as the single most difficult day there is in sport, in oppressive heat and humidity.
Rob’s performance on Sunday was part of a hugely encouraging set of results for UK athletes on a very challenging course.
Very seldom will you see any Ironman race in the world that has over 40 males entered in the youngest 18-24 age-category, but that was the case in Ironman here, and Rob came out on top.
The top five finishers in the male 18-25 age-group finished under the 11-hour mark, and the next eight were under the 12-hour mark, boding well for the future of the sport of triathlon in the United Kingdom.