Bert Jammaer, Lanzarote Ironman Triathlon winner, 2009

There were convincing victories in both the men’s and women’s Lanzarote Ironman Triathlon , as Bert Jammaer from Belgium and Bella Bayliss from Scotland made it two wins each in two years, in Puerto del Carmen today. Bella’s husband, Stephen Bayliss, was the first British athlete home, finishing fifth.

Jammaer was in the leading pack from the start of the race, which got underway at 07.00 hrs with a 3.8 km swimming race in the sea at Puerto del Carmen. By 9 am in El Golfo on the bike leg of the race, Jammaer was closing in on the leaders, and by 10.30 in Teguise it was starting to look like a 3 man race of Jammaer, Ain Alar Juhansen of Estonia, and Kai Hundertmarck of Germany. However, the latter two did less well in the running race, and finished further down the pack.

Stephan Vukovic, Runner up, Lanzarote Ironman Triathlon 2009
Stephan Vukovic of Germany battled with a back problem through the bike race, which he later admitted meant he had to go easy in the cycling stage.  Even so, he went on to ran a fantastic marathon to finish in second place.

Gregorio Morales, Lanzarote Ironman Triathlon 2009
The local hero was Gregorio Morales. Born in Lanzarote, he ran a great race to finish in fourth place, one better than he achieved in 2008.

Stephen Bayliss, Lanzarote Ironman Triathlon 2009
Stephen Bayliss of the UK was also well in contention throughout the first half of the bike race, but lost ground as the athletes took to the hills towards Haria, and he continued to lose ground from that point to the end of the bike run. He recovered to run a great marathon, and made up a number of places to finish fifth – and was the first UK athlete home.

Bella Bayliss, Womens Winner, Lanzarote Ironman Triathlon 2009
Bella Bayliss (nee Comerford) took the marathon by the scruff of the neck, finishing it in 3:04, her best ever run time, and finishing 20 minutes ahead of Rachel Joyce, the runner-up in the women’s race. Bella’s time of 9 hours, 54 minutes was her best time in the Lanzarote Triathlon, and she is only the sixth woman to ever break 10 hours for the whole race.

The Course

The Lanzarote Ironman Triathlon event is known to be the toughest of its kind in the world. Anyone who knows Lanzarote will know how hilly the island is, and the showpiece of the course is a 112 mile cycle ride that is basically a complete lap of the island.

Lanzarote Ironman Triathlon 2009
After starting a very long day with a 3.8 km swim, the athletes make the transition onto their bikes in the centre of Puerto del Carmen, climb the hill out of the town, and take the low road to Puerto Calero. From there, they climb again and turn left on to the main road towards Yaiza. They then navigate the El Golfo road, looping around and off towards Tinajo via the Timanfaya National Park. From Tinajo, they climb again to Teguise, before going on to Famara and then Haria, returning to Puerto del Carmen via Arrieta. In total, the cycling stage takes the fastest athlete around 5 hours.

Back in Puerto del Carmen, the athletes make their final transition from bike to road running. The marathon course is completed by making four circuits of a loop that goes the full length of the promenade road in the town, which is great because today the route was lined by literally thousands of spectators, cheering the athletes on.

In all: 9 hours plus of gruelling endurance racing. No wonder they call it the Ironman event!

Read more about the Lanzarote Ironman Triathlon