David Galea will become the second only Maltese Triathlete to qualify and take part in the Ironman World Championship, following the qualification of Dermot Galea in 2013. David Galea managed to obtain this coveted-for pass after a perfect race in Ironman UK which was held last Sunday at Bolton. The race also featured two other Maltese Triathletes, Jude Zammit and Gejtu Catania who train regularly with Galea.
In the past 4 years, Galea, Zammit and Catania have been training hard for long distance triathlons. An Ironman is an endurance triathlon which sees athletes swim almost 4 kilometres, then cycle 180 kilometres and then run a full-marathon of 42 kilometres.
These events require a huge amount of training and sacrifices, as preparation for such races requires long hours of training throughout the week. The trio train for most of the time as a group and they support each other continuously. Long runs of over 2 hours and long cycling sessions of over 4 hr at the end of every weekend would have been impossible to endure on one's own. Participation in Ironman Bolton had been planned right after they completed Ironman Barcelona last October where David Galea established a new record for a Maltese athlete, 9 hours, 10 minutes and 33 seconds. The prospect of qualifying for the Kona event wetted his appetite and despite being a very difficult course, it was believed that Bolton will be the event that offered the best possibility for the Worlds' qualification. Having a very hilly bike route improved the chances for athletes that excel on the climbs.
The race proved to be even harder than expected. Swimming in the murky waters of the Pennington Flash reservoir with very limited visibility made things harder, while the bike course in the region of Wigan had an elevation gain of 2165m and at times the wind was rather strong. The run had an elevation gain of 330m which makes it a very unusual marathon course with some segments having an incline of 9%. The weather changed drastically by the time the run started as from a chilly morning it turned to a very warm afternoon with temperatures soaring to 26 C.
Galea had a strong performance in all 3 disciplines. He swam the 3800m segment in just under 63 minutes, 18th in his age group, and cycled the 180 km bike section in 5 hours 45 minutes to rise to 12th position and finally pushed towards the qualifying time and moving up to 5th position in his category out of 390 finishers by running the marathon in 3 hours 36 minutes to an overall time of 10:37:12.
With this result, Galea reaches the global pinnacle in long-distance triathlon as he secures his place in the World Championship which will be held in October on Kona island, in Hawaii.
Galea has a long history of successes under his belt, as he was crowned Long-Distance National Champion in 2014, Triathlon Champion in 2003 while he managed to take the three most important championships (Triathlon, Duathlon and Triathlete Of The Year) in 1996. 1997 and 2004.
The other two Maltese triathlete were in the same category and also managed the performance they were aiming for, with Zammit finishing in 11 hours 43 minutes and in 21st spot, while Catania managed to conclude in 11 hours and 52 minutes while placing 24th in the category.
Galea thanked both Zammit and Catania for their continous support throughout the last years of training. Reporting a few moments after his qualification, Galea thanked all his friends, team-mates and sponsors, the Malta Triathlon Federation for the support and finally much appreciation for his wife Sharon and his family for their patience and encouragement.
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