Successful Ironman debut gives driven Karen appetite for more

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Karen Haldane is no stranger to long distance sporting events, whether it’s on two wheels or two legs.

For the46-year-old Duns mother, a member of Berwick Wheelers Cycling Club and the Tweed Triathlon Club, is a former marathon runner.

In 1992 she won the Dublin marathon and these days she can regularly be seen running or cycling around the local countryside. But she recently took it a step further when she competed in her first Ironman distance event, the Outlaw Triathlon in Nottingham.

The Outlaw is based around the Holme Pierrepoint National Watersports Centre, and Karen, who trained hard for the event, put in a very good showing.

There were over 1,000 entrants, and despite this being her first attempt over the extended course, she managed to complete it in 12 hours, 7 minutes and 10 seconds.

That put her 294th out of the 910 finishers, and 16th out of the 117 women in the field.

But perhaps her best stat was the fact that, at 46 years of age, she managed to complete the course second in her category for women aged 45-49.

She was just 54 seconds behind the category winner, whilst she finished almost three hours behind the overall race winner and 2 hours 16 minutes behind the leading lady.

“I first started training for the Outlaw last October,” said Karen, “and I must be honest and say the prospect of a full Ironman distance event was quite daunting. It wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, but I know I kept a steady pace throughout,

“As a marathon runner the running side of things comes quite naturally, and of course being a member of the Wheelers helps with the cycling.

“Swimming has always been the most difficult phase for me, but I have been training with Henry Grey which has helped.”

The Outlaw comprised of: a 2.4-mile swim, which Karen completed in 1:18:00; a 112-mile bike ride, which she managed in 6:07:08; and a 26.2-mile run, which took her 4:30:03.

Additional time during transitions between the disciplines was also taken into account when calculating the final times.

“I was very pleased with my performance and the result,” said Karen. “If I had known the first lady was only 54 seconds ahead of me I might have pushed a bit harder, but at the end of the day I was delighted with the way things went and it has given me an appetite for more in the future.”