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22 February 2007 PR 07/19

Loughborough triathlete Renouf attempting first Ironman

Loughborough University student Sam Renouf is hoping that his feet are still intact after this weekend’s gruelling Ironman Langkawi triathlon in Malaysia.

“Last years winner apparently lost five toenails as his feet blistered from the heat of the tarmac roads – hopefully that won’t be a problem,” the 21-year-old politics and international relations student said ahead of his first Ironman event.

Ironman is an ultra-endurance triathlon that consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle and full marathon run. The Malaysian event is one of the world’s toughest with the temperature hitting 40C during the 42.3 km run, and about one-third of all entrants not finishing.
“It will be a very tough race! Definitely my most physically challenging event to date but I am feeling fit and really looking forward to racing over the full Ironman distance.”

Renouf, who is originally from Exeter in Devon, began competing in triathlons only four years ago while on a gap year in Australia and was awarded a TASS scholarship to Loughborough University. After impressive performances over the shorter distance and in duathlons he decided to concentrate on the long distances events.

He is now a member of British Triathlon’s World Class long distance programme and splits his time between Loughborough and training camps in Switzerland, Brazil and Thailand with the world class “Team TBB” international training group, while completing his studies.

“Loughborough University is very understanding and supportive of my needs, especially my head of department Professor Dave Allen and personal tutor Oliver Daddow, and the University allows me considerable flexibility and time away to train and race around the world,” he added.

“In order to achieve a better balance between my sports training and academic studies I chose to split my final year into two part time years, halving my daily work load and enabling me to aim for a higher overall grade.”

The field at Langkawi is incredibly deep with several past champions racing such as New Zealand’s Bryan Rhodes, who won the inaugural Ironman UK in 2005, top American Chris Lieto and the German world record holder Lothar Leder.

“There are a lot of very good athletes racing, but the heat often changes any pre-race strategy – its as much about survival as speed in Malaysia.

“Very few British athletes have placed top 10 in an international Ironman event so if I can achieve that in my first race that would be fantastic, but for now I’m focussing on finishing!”

Renouf has been preparing for the heat in the tropical climate of Phuket, Thailand – a destination known more for tourism – though he had managed to stay focussed on his training because of the influence of his team mates.

“I moved to Thailand three weeks ago with Team TBB, which includes top British athletes Andrew Johns, Steve Bayliss and world champion Bella Comerford, who will also be racing in Langkawi.”

Renouf said he would race in the UK and across Europe before he attempted the half and full Ironman UK events.

Ends

For all media enquiries contact:

Greg Stutchbury, Sports PR Officer
T: 01509 228686, E: G.M. Stutchbury@lboro.ac.uk


Notes to editors

  1. The world Ironman championship takes place in Kona, Hawaii each October, with qualification through a world series ranging from Australia to Arizona - with the British leg taking place in Sherborne, Dorset in August.

    Sam Renouf career highlights:

    2004
    1st Junior, Salford National Triathlon series
    2nd National Junior Duathlon Champs,
    Selection for GB Junior Duathlon team

    2005
    2nd u23, National Elite Duathlon Championships – Milton Keynes
    2nd European Age Group Triathlon Championships – Switzerland
    3rd Elite, Vevey International Triathlon, Switzerland
    6th Elite, Dijon International Half Ironman, France

    2006
    2nd u23, Spanish Long Distance Championships, Ibiza
    3rd Elite, Vitruvian Half Ironman, Rutland
    29th Elite, European Long Distance Championships, Amsterdam
    Selection for GB Elite Long distance team (at 20, youngest team member by 6 years)
  2. Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough in the top five among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

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