WHATEVER else Chris Maxwell achieves in his sporting career he can now proudly reflect on having successfully conquered a lifetime ambition.
The Team Bath AC runner (pictured above) returned home Tuesday after tackling and surviving the greatest Ironman event of them all, the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.
“It’s the birthplace of the Ironman, which was first held in Kona, Hawaii, in 1978 and is the pinnacle event for long distance triathletes,” said Maxwell.
“Ever since I’ve been involved in triathlon I have been fascinated by the event and six years ago I started to seriously focus on trying to qualify – and qualification is very tough.”
As it has to be for the Blue Riband event of Ironmen triathlons comprising a 2.4 miles swim in the Pacific, a 112 miles bike ride through the island’s lava fields and then culminating with a 26.2 miles marathon in hot, humid conditions.
You don’t get an entry for this even via a ballot. It has to be earned.
“After several near misses I qualified at Ironman UK in Bolton, 2021, my ninth Ironman,” added Maxwell.
“So my 10th and final Ironman would be on the ‘Big Island’ in Kona. With covid cancellation for the October 2021 event a year later I found myself fulfilling a dream. It was an incredible event which met, even surpassed, my expectations.”
Maxwell prepared for the hot and humid conditions – typically 29-30C with over 70 per cent humidity – by making lots of trips to his local sauna/steam room, cycling on his turbo indoors with doors closed and running with extra layers of kit.
It proved invaluable as Maxwell had to dig deep for that final marathon challenge.
“The toughest part was the brutally hot and humid run especially in the remote part of the course from 7-23 miles when the aid stations ran low on ice and water!” explained Maxwell.
“I had to slow down for a few miles to avoid heat stroke. But once back in Kona town and that last mile on the ‘red carpet lived up to be my greatest experience in sport.
“The electric atmosphere, iconic location, crowd support and sharing the course with the best athletes in the world – it was truly amazing.”
As for the race Maxwell more than did himself justice finishing in 10 hours 21mins 10secs, giving him 149th place in his M45-49 age group.