WEYMOUTH fitness expert Andy Sloan has achieved a personal best time while competing at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

Sloan, who owns and operates Procision Fitness Personal Training Studio on the Granby Industrial Estate, as well as Weymouth Fitness Camp, qualified to compete at the event with a top-five age group finish at Ironman UK in July this year, having also competed at Ironman France in Nice, just four weeks previously.

The Ironman World Championships is the biggest and most famous race in triathlon, and with more than 600,000 people competing in Ironman events each year, gaining qualification for one of the 1,900 places in Kona is fiercely tough.

Sloan said: “Getting to Kona is a massive achievement, as in order to get there you have to qualify by placing high up in your age group at another Ironman event, which is really tough. I managed to put in a solid performance at Ironman UK which was good enough to get me to Hawaii and I was delighted of course.”

The course in Kona is renowned as the toughest Ironman triathlon in the world.

The event begins with a 2.4-mile sea swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride through the lava fields where temperatures this year hit 100 plus Fahrenheit with 35 plus mph headwinds at times, and finishes with a gruelling 26.2-mile marathon along the coast and through the lava fields in the heat of the day.

Of his race, Sloan added: “This race was without doubt the toughest I’ve done to date.

“I found the swim okay and put in a solid time, then on the bike I was flying and right up there until the last 30 miles when I began feeling pretty sick, and a big headwind for the last 25 or so miles didn’t help things.

“I got off the bike feeling pretty rough, and on the run really struggled to get my nutrition down, so was pretty much running on empty for the marathon, which wasn’t fun.”

Sloan was looking for a sub 10 hour finish, but was happy to cross the line in a new personal best of 10 hours 23 minutes.

He added: “I was on track to hit my target until things went bad on the run, but at the end I was pleased to get over that line in a new personal best time.

“Competing among the best professional and age group triathletes in the world was amazing, and I’m looking forward to getting back there soon.”

Next up for Sloan is a year off from Ironman racing, as he is turning his attentions to half distance for next season, with a view to coming back and qualifying for Kona again in 2014.