Maesteg Triathletes head to Kona, Hawaii, for the Ironman World Championships

Maesteg Triathletes Paul Lewis and Paul Thomas are heading to Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii for the 2019 Ironman World Championships next weekend. The duo will swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles alongside 1800 competitors from around the World in scorching temperatures reaching 38C (100F). Both triathletes are clients at Bridgend Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic, one2one Therapy.

Rhian Davies, physiotherapist and one2one clinic director says:

“Qualifying for such a prestigious event is a huge achievement and we’re really proud of our clients. They’ve worked so hard to get to where they are, it’s not easy training for hours and hours when you’re juggling work and family life.”

Police Officer Paul Lewis competed in his first ever triathlon because of a bet. Friend and colleague Alun Thomas (Maxi) made a bet with him to participate in the Cosmeston Lakes Triathlon 20 years ago and they both had forfeits for the loser. Maxi was unaware of Paul’s achievements as a runner, being the Welsh Cross Country Champion, Welsh Road Champion and Welsh 1500m Track Champion aged 15/16 so was surprised when Paul beat him over the finish line. When he agreed to the forfeits, he was not expecting to be the one to dye his hair blonde!

After a few years, Paul gave up triathlon because he had a young family then returned to the sport 3 years ago after watching Ironman Wales in 2016. He got the bug for the longer distance races and found that he was pretty good at it when he won his age group in his first ever Ironman race in Tenby 2017. He qualified for the World Championships at that race but declined his place. The following year, Paul finished 24th overall and first in his age group but this time his wife Hayley convinced him to accept his place. Hayley and their 2 children will be travelling with Paul to support him and Hayley will celebrate her birthday on raceday.

Paul Thomas, a senior engineering manager at Orthoclinical Diagnostics and age group athlete from Maesteg first took up triathlon in 2011 when a friend convinced him to enter Ironman Wales. Since then Paul has completed 13 full distance Ironman events (6 in Tenby) and 2 half Ironman events. Paul is no stranger to the Ironman World Championship events having competed in Kona in 2017 and in Nice earlier this year for the 70.3 Worlds. He qualified for the 2019 Ironman World Championships when he raced in Cozumel last November so he’s had plenty of time to prepare. Paul said:

“This time I’d like to go under 10 hours but it depends on the conditions on the day”

Paul has always been a lover of sport, he was the Motorcycles Trials Rider Welsh Champion aged 13 and again at age 31, and also played rugby for Maesteg from 1991-96. He’s always had the support of his wife Paula who’ll be travelling again to Kona with him.

Rhian at one2one Therapy says the whole team are excited to follow the duo’s achievements and plan to track their progress through the gruelling event:

“From all the staff at one2one, we’d like to wish the two Pauls all the very best for the race. We’ll be tracking you and cheering you on!”

We’re sure there will be more than a few proud followers in Maesteg too!   Image of Paul Lewis: Black Magic Photography

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