Skipper aims to reclaim British record after fine top-10 place at Ironman World Championship
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He's just finished seventh in one of the world's most gruelling physical challenges – but Joe Skipper is convinced he can go faster.
The 30-year-old finished inside the top 10 at the World Ironman Championship in Kona, Hawaii, last weekend, over 30 minutes quicker than he had previously managed.
The endurance athlete, from Cringleford, completed the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle and 26.2-mile marathon run in a total time of eight hours, five minutes and 54 seconds – in temperatures upwards of 30C.
'I am pleased but I feel I can do better because I feel that I didn't do that good a run,' Skipper said. 'A part of that is just the heat, I find it horrendous, so I know there's definitely more in the tank there.'
After climbing out of the water in 32nd he pulled away from the congested pack with his strongest discipline, moving up to 15th on the bike, before completing the marathon in 02:54.15 hours for seventh place – over 15 minutes slower than his 2.38 personal best.
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'The heat is just like nothing you'd experience in Europe,' he continued. 'The closest is if anyone's been on holiday to Mexico or Florida or somewhere like that, really hot and humid, horrible.
'I've done four Ironmans this year and done quicker marathons than that but it's the heat in Kona, dealing with that is the key in that temperature.'
The former Notre Dame High School pupil, originally from Lowestoft, is now setting his sights on reclaiming his British record. He became the first Brit to go under eight hours when he completed Challenge Roth in Germany in 7:56.23 in 2016. However, Tim Don clocked 7:40.23 in Brazil last year to claim that record.
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'I've still got one more yet at Ironman Arizona next month, that'll be my last one this year and that's quite a fast course, so it would be good if I can break Tim Don's British record – because he took that off me,' Skipper continued.
'So if I was going to do it that would be a good chance to do it, or if not Ironman Texas is one next year when it's potentially possible. That's my main target now, going under one hour and 40 minutes, to be the fastest British man of all time over that distance.'
The success in Kona continued a strong year for Skipper, who won Ironman UK, finished second at Ironman New Zealand and Ironman Hamburg and finished fourth in this year's Challenge Roth.
• Any local companies interested in sponsoring Skipper during 2019 can email him on email@example.com