HAWAII is a place most people would consider a relaxing, luxury destination.
But that’s not the case for Becky Hoare.
The 23-year-old soldier of Henblas Street, Mold, flew to the tropical isle to swim in shark-infested sea and run across lava-covered terrain in one of the most gruelling feats on the planet.
On Saturday, she lined up in the scorching heat to compete in the IronMan World Championships.
It is the ultimate feat of endurance involving a swim of more than two miles through seas renowned for some of the biggest waves on the planet, followed by a cycle ride of 112 miles and finished off with a marathon run.
The challenge, which attracts both amateur and professional athletes, is the “biggest day” on the calendar for triathlete sport.
Former Mold Alun pupil Becky was one of the few women who took part as 75 per cent of participants are male.
She said: “I performed to my full potential on a very challenging swim, but swimming through the Hawaiian waves was like swimming in a washing machine.
“On the bike I ended up riding even better than expected.
“It was so much hotter than I’ve raced in before, I could even see my legs and arms getting sunburnt, and there was a strong headwind all the way back which made it even more difficult.
“During the run I got to the nine-mile point and thought I was going too fast but I managed to maintain 8.45 minute miles and made a fast time. It was the hardest run I’ve ever done.
“Despite the extreme heat and driving winds, I finished half an hour quicker than expected. I couldn’t be happier.”
Her overall time was 10 hours 31 minutes made up of the swim (1.05), bike (5.30) and run (3.48). She finished seventh in her age group in the world.
Becky, a Corporal in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) in Wiltshire, previously beat 1,400 triathletes at the UK qualifier in Wales to get to the final.
She said: “It was difficult to prepare for the heat and humidity of Hawaii.”
Becky, whose parents met whilst competing at a triathlon, joined the army in 2007.
She didn’t take part in her first triathlon event until joining, and has gone on to be the REME time-trial champion, first under 24 at UK Half Ironman by 40 minutes, REME triathlon champion as well as the army middle distance triathlon champion.
Of the 2,167 athletes to compete in the world championships, 570 athletes were female.