A former Monmouth schoolboy put in an outstanding performance to win his age category in the gruelling Club La Santa Ironman Lanzarote.
Old Monmothian, Finn Arentz, showed remarkable determination and willpower in hot and windy conditions to complete the event in 9:56.01 to finish 33rd overall out of 1,363 athletes.
Finn, a pupil at Monmouth School for Boys between 2012 and 2016, had previously topped the 18 to 24 age category at Ironman Wales 2018.
And he is preparing to compete in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, which takes place in October.
“The age-group win was an added bonus but, with the Kona slot already in the bag, the main priority had been to put in a performance of which I could be proud,” he said.
“I am happy to say that I can put a big tick in that box.
“There are plenty of things to work on leading into Kona, acclimatising to the heat better being the chief priority, as well as refining my nutrition strategy and a few other bits.
“But for now there will be a little bit of downtime before getting back to the grind that I love so much.”
Finn managed to get near the front of the age group ranks for the 3.8km swim which took place over two laps at Playa Grande, Puerto del Carmen, the main tourist resort of the island.
Despite a lack of top-quality swim work over the winter, Finn’s spirits were lifted when he saw his time of 56:53.
Finn battled against strong winds during the 182.2 km bike section which took athletes through El Golfo, La Geria, Mirador del Rio, and Puerto del Carmen and he clocked a 5:44:11 split.
He was then tested physically and mentally during the three-lap 42.2km run but managed to overhaul a 22-minute deficit to take first place in his age section.
“I got to 28km and for the first time ever in a race I considered throwing in the towel,” he recalled.
“It wasn’t until the 40km mark that for the first time since I crossed the halfway point that I believed that I would make it, and I was absolutely elated when I did 3:07:09 for the marathon and 9:56:01 overall.”
He added: “The wind and hills on the bike and the heat, particularly on the run, make Lanzarote even tougher than Ironman Wales, and therefore most likely the toughest out there.”