Joe Skipper soaks up the glory of breaking British Ironman record
- Credit: Getty Images for Challenge Triat
The celebratory Champagne tasted all the sweeter for Norwich triathlon star Joe Skipper in Germany – as he became the first Briton to complete an Ironman in under eight hours.
Skipper wrote his name into the history books by breaking the British record with a time of seven hours, 56 minutes and 23 seconds at Challenge Roth.
The 27-year-old's remarkable time earned him second place on the podium and the former Notre Dame High School pupil is relishing every moment of his success.
'It's just amazing, to think that no one else can take that away from me and hit that milestone because it is a piece of history,' Skipper said.
'No one's going to go under seven hours so to be the first British athlete to go under eight hours is a great feeling and to actually do it when I had been training for so long because I wanted to do it there on that course, it was a great feeling.'
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Skipper had set his sights on the British record after moving up to third in the all-time rankings with a time of 8:09.37 hours when finishing second at Ironman New Zealand in March.
It continues a phenomenal rise in the sport for the Lowestoft-raised athlete, having entered his first triathlon in 2010. He has since finished second at Ironman UK, third in the ITU Long Distance World Championships and set the third fastest Ironman bike split of all time.
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Skipper still thinks he can go faster though, continuing: 'It was amazing, I had a great day out there, I felt great throughout but I was hoping to swim a little bit quicker and go a bit quicker on the bike.
'But it was a bit windy on the second lap and the course didn't feel as quick as I thought, so it left me with quite a bit to do on the run but luckily I had some good running legs and I managed to do a quick marathon which got me under the eight-hour barrier.'
The Tri-Anglia member finished the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle and 26.2-mile marathon run a full five minutes and 26 seconds faster than the previous record.
'I didn't think I was going to get it until probably about two-and-a-half miles to go,' Skipper said of his record. 'I knew then that the pace I would have to slow down to would be dramatic, like a bit of an explosion, but I didn't feel that bad.
'With 10K to go I wasn't sure whether I'd get it but my thoughts of getting it were better as the run went on. I knew I needed to do a 2:42 marathon and I thought I could do it but I'd have to have a great marathon because my previous best was about 2:44 so it was a tall order but I managed to have a good race.'
In fact Skipper finished his marathon in 2:38.52, sealing the British record and moving him up to 29th in the all-time Ironman rankings.
He's not finished yet either, with the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii in October his next focus, looking to improve on 13th place last year.
'I want to do well again out there and hopefully, looking at the field which are likely to be there, there could be a few who are similar to me where we lose a bit of time on the swim but we're strong cyclists,' Skipper added.
'So if we can link up well on the bike and manage to get up to the front pack then who knows what could happen at the start of the run, I could be right up there for a podium.'