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Arena triathlete Iván Raña takes sixth place at Iron Man World Championships

Tolentino, 24 October 2013Arena-sponsored athlete Iván Raña celebrated his Iron Man World Championship debut with a sixth-placed finish at the 2013 global triathlon showpiece in Kona, Hawaii, on 12th October. The 33-year-old Spaniard is a former ITU world champion, and was the international sportswear company’s first signing as it entered the triathlon market in 2013 with a new range of trisuits.

Raña finished the gruelling course in 8:23:43, 11:14 behind the winner. After the 2.4 mile (3.9 km) swim which he finished in 51:06, he was placed 12th, and then dropped sixth places during the 112 mile (180 km) biking stage, which he completed in 4:40:34. However, a strong marathon (26.2 miles, 42.2 km) returned the second fastest run of the day (2:47:54), and saw him climb twelve positions by the time he crossed the finish line.

“It was very emotional for me, I waited 20 years for that moment,” reflected Raña after the race. “When I was young I read about Kona in magazines, and it was like fulfilling a dream to finish the race in one of the top positions.”

Despite starting out in-record low temperatures for the race, Raña struggled a little on the cycling leg: “I really felt the strong wind between 120-160 km on the bike, and on the run it was so hot, but I like this weather – hot and humid – so for me it was a perfect race.”

While Raña’s annual schedule typically includes a number of Iron Man races held under the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) banner, in the past he has predominantly competed in the International Triathlon Union (ITU) events, the most recognized being the standard triathlon consisting of a 1.5 km swim, a 40 km bike ride, and a 10 km run. It was in this event that he has enjoyed most of his successes, competing in three Olympics, where in both Sydney (2000) and Beijing (2008) he finished fifth, less than a minute behind the winner. The highlight of his career came in 2002 as he was crowned champion at the ITU World Championships in Cancún, having placed fourth in Edmonton, Canada the year previously. He followed up his world title with silver medals in 2003 (Queenstown, New Zealand) and 2004 (Madeira).

In order to prepare for the longer distances of the Iron Man World Championships, he worked hard on his cycling: “I´m not a heavy man, so on the flat roads I lose time to the bigger guys, and I have to be at my best on the bike to stay with them.” However, after all the training’s done and you’re in the heat of battle, for him it comes down to human qualities rather than technique: “Motivation is the key! If you like what you’re doing you don’t suffer during the race. (During the run) I knew I had a good chance of catching the athletes in front of me, and so I pushed hard. The marathon is difficult but if you have patience, you can work your way up the field.”

“We are both thrilled and truly impressed with Iván’s performance in Kona,” said Greg Steyger, Global Triathlon Product Director. “To have waited so long to compete in the Iron Man World Championships, and then to walk away with sixth place at his first attempt is a remarkable achievement. In many ways he is the ideal sportsman – he works really hard in a grueling event, and always has a positive attitude. These qualities make him a consummate professional, as well as the perfect ambassador for our brand, displaying the kind of qualities that we hold in high esteem. We are really pleased for him, we wish him a good rest after a tiring season, and look forward to more great results from him in 2014.”