DALES triathlete Diane Lee has turned in a fine performance in the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Mallorca event in Alcudia.
The University of Derby lecturer, who also coaches at Matlock and District Swimming Club, travelled out to the island for her debut at this distance, competing alongside a world class field, and proved to be the clear winner in her 25-29 age group, also finishing top UK athlete and third female overall.
The warm Mediterranean sea was ideal for the 1.9km swim, which saw Diane, who turned 26 shortly after the event, obliterate the field and emerge from the swim with a massive 1min 45secs lead. The difficult bike section came next, over 90 kms of varied terrain, and saw Diane maintain a comfortable position going into the 20km run stage, being closely followed by two athletes from Germany and Canada. After a careful planned run, the victory came with a gap of five and 15 minutes between her nearest competitor.
Diane’s success gave her automatic qualification to the Ironman World Championships, to be staged later this year in Nevada, but due to the financial costs involved, she has had to decline the offer.
Her coach Gary McCaffery said: “It was encouraging to see Diane do so well at her debut at this distance.
“The race was the first of her season and was only attended as a training race in preparation for her main competition later in the year.
“To see Diane emerge from the swim with such a clear lead among world class swimmers was indicative of the training she has put in over the winter.
“The race was conducted exactly to plan and the win was well deserved.”
Diane added: “My race really went to plan. Training, tactics and nutrition all came together to take the win. I would like to thank my sponsors CNP nutrition, Blueseventy swimwear, Zepnat Cycles and La Bicicleta of Sheffield for supplying my race bike three days before I raced. I have fantastic nutritional support, race kit, coaching and equipment to use.”
Diane has gained invaluable run training advice and support from Christine Howard of Darley Dale, who in her own right is Duathlon World Champion and an inspirational training partner and mentor.
Diane said: “Gary, my main coach, was in contact with Christine throughout the race giving her updates, so I had expert advice coming from the two people I respect the most.
“No pressure, but I had to win for both of them!“
Later this year, there is the Alpe D’Huez triathlon in France to tackle, which after a 2km swim, takes on parts of the iconic Tour de France course, and culminates with a climb up the epic Alpe d’Huez before at 20km run once the top is reached.
Diane has now laid down a clear marker for an international career in the sport, which is all self-funded.
If any company or individual would like high profile sponsor recognition, Diane would be keen to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.