After more than nine hours of swimming, cycling and running, Richard Ashton didn’t realise he’d crossed the line as winner of the Austrian Ironman race.
Richard, Finance Director of Home Retail Group, crossed the line in 9:09:47 - not only an incredible time but the fastest in the over 45 age group, and 56th overall.
And the 47-year-old’s unexpected victory means that he has qualified for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii later this year.
An Ironman triathlon consists of a 3.8km swim, 180km on the bike, followed by a marathon run.
“When I crossed the line, I was just relieved to have finished,” said Richard. “A booming voice said ‘You’re an Ironman!’ which was a great buzz, but I didn’t expect to be told I was fastest in my age group and I’d won!
“When you’re out on the course, you don’t know who you’re competing against, or where you are overall. To win was a real shock to me.”
The Middleton man was one of 25 athletes from Team MK to take on the challenge, including brother John-Paul.
Max Dillon was second across the line for Team MK with a time of 9:11:47.
Richard’s victory means he has qualified for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii at the end of the year - but not before he competes for Great Britain in the Triathlon World Championships.
He said: “I wasn’t planning on any more big races this year! But with two world championships coming up, it’s looking like a long season.”