British triathlete Chrissie Wellington shocked the world by winning the Ironman World Championship last year. She spoke to Sport about defending her title this weekend.

Sport Issue #94

It wasn’t supposed to happen. The Ironman World Championship, held in the sweltering sauna of Kona, Hawaii, is renowned as one of the most punishing sporting contests on earth – and, in its 30-year history, no pasty Brit had ever crossed the line fi rst. Then, last year, along came unknown Chrissie Wellington from Suffolk, a former international development policy-maker at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who tore up the rulebook to become the UK’s fi rst ever Ironman world champion. What’s more, she did it less than a year after turning professional. Sport Issue #94

Since named the 10th toughest athlete in the world by Sports Illustrated – one place behind boxing legend Floyd Mayweather – Wellington returns to Kona this weekend to defend her title. And, this time, everybody knows who she is…

Chrissie, were you as surprised by your victory last year as everybody else?“

Absolutely! I still can’t believe it. I was so proud just to be on the start line in Hawaii, and to race on the famous stage of the lava fi elds. I went there hoping for a top 10, so to cross the line as world champion was amazing, slightly surreal and incredibly overwhelming.” …

Sport Issue #94 Sport Issue #94

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