Team run from small North Lincolnshire village crowned among Europe’s best at Ironman World Championship

A team of budding Ironman enthusiasts from a group based a small North Lincolnshire village have shown their worth by being crowned among the best in Europe.

Off That Couch fitness group is run by Steve Clark, a former Ironman and triathlete, and was set up more than 20 years ago in Howsham. Although not a popular sport back then, it has grown and grown into what it is today. With more than 150 members spread far and wide across the UK, Steve is proud of what he’s accomplished and even more happy with what his team achieved at a recent contest on the other side of the world.

Held in Hawaii, the Ironman World Championship welcomed people from across the globe to compete in a 2.4-mile swim and a 112-mile bike ride, before finishing off with a marathon. This year, a number of women from Steve’s group came in among the top 20 worldwide, leading to the group being named the best in the UK.


Steve said: “I started Off That Couch 22 years ago when I was a triathlete myself. Not many people were doing it back then, but it’s just got bigger and bigger since then. We’ve now got over 150 members all over the country and, in the last decade, the sport has really boomed.”

After qualifying for the World Championships by competing in other Ironmans across the globe, Steve’s team made the trip to the Pacific islands for the “huge event”. He said: “We’ve been racing against some of the best in the world in Wales, France and all sorts of locations to make sure we were able to compete in Hawaii.

Remi Simpson finished in the top 50 percent of the world
Remi Simpson finished in the top 50 per cent of the world

Many of the team have been with Steve a while and competed before, with Steve himself having taken part in the race back in 2013.

However, this year was certainly one to remember with a number of the women coming in the top 20 in the world. Steve said: “We had Shawnie Lovatt coming 15th in the 25 to 29 category; Sophie Hedges came 38th in the 30 to 34s; Alison Schofield came in the top fifty percent worldwide for the 40 to 44s.

Sophie Hedges came 38th out of 237 competitors
Sophie Hedges came 38th out of 237 competitors

“On top of that, we had Remi Simpson racing in the 25 to 29 category who also came in the top 50 per cent.” However, arguably the most impressive runner was Jill Speight who ran in the 60 to 64 category and came 17th in the world.

As a result of these excellent finishes, Off That Couch ended the championships as the best UK team and the third best European team, of which there were 350. Looking back at the achievement, Steve can’t believe how well the team performed.

Jill Speight finished in the top 20 of the 60+ category
Jill Speight finished in the top 20 of the 60+ category

“I feel absolutely amazing about it,” he said. “Seeing what they’ve done is pretty cool to say the least and it gives us all a good feeling.” After such an impressive year, Steve’s hoping to go again in the next World Championships.

He said: “We’re hoping to achieve similar things as we have done to this year. To have done what we did as such a small club was a pretty special moment and I’m hoping we can keep doing this every year now.”

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Original artice: https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/all-about/scunthorpe

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