Wednesday 23 October 2019

Wexford Ironwoman Gretta back from Hawaii

Sally Lawler, Gretta O'Connor and Anne O'Connor in Hawaii.
Sally Lawler, Gretta O'Connor and Anne O'Connor in Hawaii.

By David Tucker

A WEXFORD woman is just back from Hawaii where she competed in the Ironman World Championships.

Gretta O'Connor, from Broadway, had plenty of local support too as her mother Anne and sister Sally travelled out to help her compete on an extremely tough course in hot, humid conditions.

Gretta, who qualified for the Hawaii championships in July, said she arrived on the first October 'with my mam and sister. Getting off the plane at 9.30 p.m. the heat juts hit you and it's so hot even at night time.

'In the days leading up to the race I had a bit of training and every day I felt a little better. Getting over the flights and used to the heat, you definitely need at least 10 days to acclimatise'.

She said that on race morning she managed to keep her nerves under control.

'I knew all the work was done my only worry was coping in the heat .. 40 degrees (Centrigrade) and humidity which made it feel hotter.'

First was the 3.8 km swim, out a boat at the turn round point, followed by a swim back with the current and swell against her.

'I found the bike the toughest of the day,' she said adding that the heat was a problem as well as the head wind on the way back.

'My legs legs wouldn't work. I couldn't wait to get off the bike, but I kept drinking and eating and taking salt tablets,' she said.

'I said to myself getting off the bike. Forget about the bike it's all about the run. Just have a good run. So I stuck to the plan, taking on two cups of water at every aid station and using sponges to cool me down and ice under my cap,' she said.

'Each aid station was a mile apart and you needed every one of them. The run went well. I really enjoyed the finish and everyone cheering. I grabbed the Irish flag off my mam and crossed the line, in 11 hrs 41 secs, the first Irish lady home.'

Wexford People

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