TENBY’S very own Oliver Simon ensured the large crowds went home happy as he secured a third Long Course Weekend title in five years.
The 34-year-old completed the 2.4 mile Huub Wales Swim on Friday night in 44:01, the 112 mile Tredz Wales Sportive on Saturday in 5:21:25, and the 26.2 mile Newton Wales Marathon on Sunday in 2:56:26.
This gave him an overall time of 9:01:52, just over 17 minutes quicker than runner up and 2013 champion Dominic Rohan-Gates (9:19:17).
Richard Wilder was third in 9:24:19.
And Simon, who also won the title in 2010 and 2011, said he was ‘over the moon’ to have regained the crown after recovering from recent injury problems.
He was unable to take part in the marathon leg last year because of injury, and then before Christmas suffered a stress fracture in his foot which kept him out of running action for a further three months.
“I was worried about the marathon because of my lack of running in the past 12 months and the injuries, but fortunately there were no problems ,” he said.
“The toughest leg was the cycling.
“I rode with really quick group who pushed things a lot harder then I would have liked, and the last 20 miles were especially hard.
“I just had to keep telling myself that it was really going to benefit my time if I kept up.”
And Simon also paid tribute to the vociferous home crowds, who cheered the athletes to the finish line at Tudor Square, Tenby, on Sunday.
“The atmosphere was brilliant,” he said.
“There were banners of support everywhere and youngsters were handing us sweets as we went along.
“The finish was quite overwhelming because during the marathon you spend so much time on the country roads, and then you get into Tenby to be welcomed by a huge mass of cheering people.
“It was perfect.”
Overall, 5000 competitors from 42 countries participated in the Long Course Weekend, with some athletes choosing to enter only one or two disciplines as opposed to the full course.
The event kicked off on a glorious Friday evening with the swim on North Beach, and Chris Suggit was the first competitor out of the water in an impressive 38:14.
Fern Davies was the first female home in 41:17.
In the Sportive cycling leg, Rohan-Gates was quickest in 5:29:17, with Jayne Arnold the first female home in 7:06:04.
In the marathon, Graham Hedger broke the finish line tape in 2:49:41, and Lynette Porter was first female in 3:15:48.
The competition was organised by Activity Wales Events, and director Matthew Evans described the weekend as ‘absolutely superb.’
The group will now return to Tenby in September, for the much heralded IronMan Wales event.
Highlights of the Tenby Long Course Weekend will be shown on Sky Sports, Eurosport and Channel 4 in August, with the times and dates to be confirmed.
Further reaction and pictures in this week’s Western Telegraph.