You know you’re fit when you can spend 20 minutes on the side of the road waiting for help to get your bike fixed and you can still win the race by over eight minutes. We knew that Joe Skipper (above seen riding at the 2019 Ironman World Championship on his way to a fifth-place finish) was super-fit after his impressive effort at the Sub7 project earlier this year – the Brit was off the bike ahead of eventual winner Kristian Blummenfelt before having to “settle” with a 6:47:36 finish time for the full-distance effort. We just didn’t know Skipper was that fit.
A pro men’s only race, Ironman Wales is considered among the toughest Ironman events in the world, featuring wavy water, high winds, lots of climbing both on the bike and run and, often, lots of rain.
To start the race, Skipper was third out of the water, but over five minutes behind Andrew Horsfall-Turner. That didn’t seem to phase Skipper, though, as he steadily gained time on early leader through the opening kms of the bike race – he had moved into second and was 3:42 off the lead by 40 km. Disaster struck shortly after, though, as Skipper ran into mechanical issues that required some help from a mechanic. (We haven’t learned the specifics of the issue.) That meant that through the 60 km check point Skipper suddenly found himself 23:20 behind the lead.
Off the bike Skipper was still almost 16 minutes down in fifth place as Horsfall-Turner continued to lead. He then blasted through a 2:37:25 on the challenging Wales run course to cruise past the men ahead of him to take the win in 8:35:49. Germany’s Boris Stein would take second (8:43:54), with France’s Kevin Maurel rounding out the podium in 8:50:38. (Horsfall-Turner would fade to fifth.)
Skipper’s Instagram and Twitter handles are “notanotheraveragejoe” – he certainly lived up to that moniker today. Skipper’s performance certainly bodes well as he prepares for the upcoming Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.