ROB ARKELL achieved a superb podium finish in the Ironman 70.3 Budapest race to book his place at the World Championship.
A powerful run from the Stubbington Green athlete, who trains at David Lloyd in Port Solent, saw him move from 14th to second in the male 30-to-34 category.
His overall time for the race of 113k – consisting of a 1.2-mile (1.9k) swim, a 56-mile (90k) bike ride, and a 13.1-mile (21.1k) run – was 4hr 4min 35sec.
Arkell, from Fareham, was delighted to finish second and felt having the right mindset was key to success.
He said: ‘The run is where I had told myself I would make it really, really hard. I wanted to make sure that when I crossed the line I had nothing left to give.
‘I think I achieved that and I ended up with the fastest non-pro run by over a minute at 1.18.09, with the next fastest being 1.19.11.
‘The temperature by the time we hit the run was around 32 to 33 degrees on the day and it was a four-lap course so you went past the finish a few times before crossing the line which can be mentally tough.
‘I think it was a mindset shift that set this race apart from others I’ve done. My focus was on ensuring I had no regrets and was sure in myself I had done absolutely everything possible that day to take the opportunity that was right in front of me and to get on the podium.
‘I also finished in 16th place overall, including the pro field, and once again qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2017 which will be held in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.
‘To get on the podium in my age group was a very special moment for me.
‘It takes blood, sweat and tears to strive after your dreams but if you believe in yourself and you want it enough you will get there.’
Overall the race in Hungary was won by Bertrand Billard, from France, in 3.41.11, with German Horst Reichel second (3.41.46).
Arkell was the top British competitor and thanked his family including his fiancée Kitty Rose for the support.
He added: ‘I’m very lucky to have such a supportive family and also a fantastic group of friends to train with at David Lloyd Tri Club.
‘My fiancée, Kitty, is amazing and so supportive.
‘She also ran a 10k race the night of the 70.3 and then ran in the IronGirl the next day.’
Arkell’s next challenge will be Ironman Weymouth on Sunday, September 11.