‘Onze’ Els won gewoon maar even de Ironman in Maastricht. Wat een bikkel! We zijn supertrots op haar en delen graag haar race report over deze magische dag. Gelukkig is ze er in Almere weer bij voor haar ‘Double Dutch’.
Two days later, and yes it is real. I WON THE IRONMAN MAASTRICHT! What I never ever expected happened. Winning my first Ironman race in my home country. A day that will always be in my heart and I will always remember. Here a short race report.
After a few weeks of training on altitude in Sankt Moritz, I came down to sea level a week before the Ironman. I had some quiet days with my parents, did my last training sessions and made myself ready. I was pretty relaxed and was excited to race!
And then it was Sunday morning 7 am, the gun fired and we were off in the hot water of the Maas river. Sonia Bracegirlde was swimming next to me, I decided to jump in her feet and followed her for the first 2 km. At the turning point, I took the lead and tried to accelerate. In third and fourth position we left the water, however we were 8 minutes behind Haley Chura. I ran to my bike and started to attack the course through the amazing and rolling landscape in Limburg. A course with technical and narrow roads with sharp turns. I am not really technical on my bike and during trainings I am by far the slowest on downhills, but when it’s raceday I don’t see the danger and go for it! My legs felt strong and powerful and it didn’t take long before I was in second position. In the last 15 km of the first lap (90km) I heard that I was 2 minutes behind Haley and I was making time on her, but still 1 lap to go! As second female I rode towards the city. It was packed with spectators, and they were all cheering for me as first dutchie coming back! Time to start the second lap, BAM! And then, after 5 km, I overtook Haley and suddenly I was in first position and was leading the course! I tried to enjoy this moment as long as I would lead. My legs still felt powerful and I kept pushing, but yes, on the hills my legs started to burn! I stayed in the lead and after 5 hours I was the first lady who was coming back in T2 and who entered the running course. The sun was burning and the race started! Don’t start too fast, stay hydrated, stay in the process, and don’t think about the other girls, do your own thing. My family and friends were all over the course and all the dutchies were cheering for me. I never had support like this before. I really wanted to start waving and smiling, but I had to stay focused on my run. From the first till the last kilometer. I heard that Yvonne and Haley came closer, and yes, they will probably pass me somewhere during this marathon. But if there are stronger, then they are and I will accept it. I can only give what I have and try to run the best as possible for me. And so I didn’t try to accelerate to stay ahead with the risk to blow myself up. In the third lap, they still didn’t pass me and I heard that Yvonne was in second postion. So something must have happened with Haley… I still felt good, I felt my calves, but the body was good. So Els try to give all you have in the final lap. And then I had 4 km’s left, with Yvonne 4 minutes behind me. But as long as I can’t see the finish things can happen, so don’t take any risks and stay focused Els! And then in the last 500m I was still running there, without danger of the other athletes…. I realized that this was my race and my day! I am the one who is gonna win!! In between all the people I was allowed to enter the finish area and the red carpet. My family and friends were all waiting for me and it was time to give them a big hug! With all my emotions I crossed the finish line! I am an IRONMAN CHAMPION! What a great feeling, and it still is and will be for the next couple of weeks! You people were amazing!! Dankjewel lieve nederlanders voor alle support, jullie waren waanzinnig!!! Congrats to Yvonne and Sonia for a 2nd and 3rd place.