Milford's Natalie Green qualifies for Ironman world champs in Hawaii after winning Barcelona event
MILFORD’S Natalie Green produced a remarkable performance to win her age category in her first full Ironman and qualify for the world championships in Kona, Hawaii.
After more than a year’s rigorous training in all three disciplines, Natalie achieved an outstanding first place in Barcelona after the gruelling 3.8k swim, 180k bike and 42.2k run in an overall time of nine hours and 54 minutes.
Green, who trains locally with New Forest Cycling Club and Hardley Runners, said: “Training for my first Ironman in Barcelona was a huge undertaking and admittedly a little daunting. I’d heard stories from friends about how brutal it could be and how difficult it was for them, but this didn’t deter me.
“It wasn’t until race morning when my coach and boyfriend Chris looked at me and said, ‘All you’re doing is less than a week’s worth of training in one day’, and for some reason, I had that sentence going through my head all day.
“There were some crazy swimming conditions, including 6ft waves, but having spent 18 months swimming in the sea during lockdowns, it didn’t faze me in the slightest.”
The two-lap bike course included a brutal 30mph headwind for the first half of each lap before Green entered the transition zone to start the final marathon leg: “I had to stop my mind fretting about what was about to come and break the three-lap marathon run down into smaller, more manageable chunks which I could mentally tick off as I went along.
“I was feeling really strong as I ticked the first few kilometres off until I reached 25km, where my legs started to protest at what I’d put them through in the previous seven or so hours!
“It took a lot of mental strength to fight off the negative thoughts which start to cross your mind after racing for that long, and it was certainly very emotional crossing the finish line.”
The former middle-distance European Multisport Championships silver medallist, who works full-time within the military, will now have the opportunity to compete in the jewel of the Ironman calendar, the world championships in Kona, Hawaii.
The endurance athlete continued: “It’s been my triathlon dream to compete at Kona one day, and I was well aware that it was a race a lot of people never manage to qualify for at all.
“To find out several hours after I finished in Barcelona that I had won my age group and qualified for Kona at the first time of asking blew my mind!
“It really is a dream come true, and so it has been enormous motivation through this winter to give it my all and give myself the best chance of racing well alongside the best triathletes in the world.”
However, the financial burden of competing is so significant that she has been forced to open a fundraising page to be able to compete.
She added: “Although I am working a full-time job, it is unrealistic for me to afford entry fees and flights without some financial assistance.”
To provide financial help, visit bit.ly/3LpPoWc