A Harpenden man has finished second during an Ironman challenge in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Ross Harper took part in the cycling, swimming and running event on Sunday, May 21, and recorded the fastest bike time of the day.

The race involved a 2.4-mile swim, a 112mile cycle and a 26.2-mile run.


Speaking with The Herts Advertiser, Ross explained how the locals rallied around him once they had realised that he was English, and supported him throughout the race.

He also spoke of how a bet with a friend had led to him taking part in his first Ironman challenge in Wales.

Ross said: "I've been doing it for about five years, maybe four years properly.

"I did my first one five or six years ago, but definitely in the last four years I have stepped up my training...

Herts Advertiser: The race involved a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle and 26.2 mile run.The race involved a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle and 26.2 mile run. (Image: Ross Harper)

"...In 2017, a friend of mine was doing triathlons. He basically bet me that I couldn't do an Ironman.

"He wanted to do one, he'd been doing triathlons for a few years, I was a keen rugby player and was playing by no means at a professional level.

"In a bar one day he said 'I bet you can't do it'. He wanted someone to train with. I'd never really swam, biked or ran properly ever before!

"Then we went off and did Ironman Wales, which at the time I didn't realise was one of the hardest ones in the world!

"I beat him by 30 minutes, and did a reasonably good time in the first one.


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"As soon as I crossed that finish line, I stopped playing rugby and devoted myself to doing triathlon."

Speaking of how he was received in the United States, Ross continued: "I was the only British person, to my knowledge, on the start line.

"There was a Belgian person and a Ukranian fella, a few Europeans that had come across.

"Ninety five per cent of the field was American...

"...The Americans do things that Americans do. They like cheering, and (especially) once they found out that there was a British guy racing!"

Ross wished to thank Liam and Will from Harpenden Cycles, who constructed "the fastest bike possible".