International success for Norfolk triathlon stars Kimberley Morrison and Joe Skipper

Norfolk triathlete Kimberley Morrison, pictured at Whitlingham Outdoor Education Centre. Picture: DE

Norfolk triathlete Kimberley Morrison, pictured at Whitlingham Outdoor Education Centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Kimberley Morrison's remarkable rise in the world of triathlon has continued with the first major victory of her professional career.

The 28-year-old was the first woman to finish Ironman 70.3 Buenos Aires in Argentina yesterday, completing the course in four hours, 20 minutes and 43 seconds.

Morrison, from Bale, near Fakenham, turned professional in September after a rapid rise to prominence in the sport.

The Tri-Anglia member was born with two holes in her heart and has previously raised thousands of pounds for Great Ormond Street Hospital, where she received regular care during the early years of her life. After life-saving heart surgery as a youngster Morrison went on to live a healthy life and started competing in triathlon events in August 2012, finishing 19th in her age group at the London Triathlon.

Rapid progress led to first place in her age group at the European Championships in Kitzbühel, Austria, in the summer of 2014 and sixth in her age group at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships, also in Austria, in Kaprun last August.

After confirmation of her professional status from British Triathlon, Morrison began with victory at the Hever Castle Gauntlet in Kent before taking on international competition.

Sixth place at Challenge Sardinia, in Italy, followed in October and eighth at Challenge Phuket, in Thailand, continued that good start in November.

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Morrison then dedicated herself to a strict winter training regime, avoiding the temptations of festive excess, and her preparations paid off in Argentina.

She completed the 1.2-mile swim in 25.54mins, in fourth place in the women's race, before moving up to second by finishing the 56-mile cycle in 2:18.28.

Top place on the podium was then seized during the 13.1-mile half marathon final leg, which Morrison completed in 1:33.21 to finish nine seconds clear and take first place.

• There was also a local success at Ironman New Zealand on Saturday, where Norwich professional Joe Skipper finished second.

The 27-year-old, originally from Lowestoft and now based in Cringleford, finished second in Taupo in an overall time of 08:09.37 hours. The event consisted of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile cycle and was then completed with a 26-mile marathon run.

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