Marbella Ironman event marred by death of British athlete

The event got under way at 7.50am on Sunday.
The event got under way at 7.50am on Sunday. / JOSELE-LANZA
  • The woman had to be rescued during the swimming stage after suffering cardiorespiratory arrest

A British athlete, who was rescued on Sunday during the swimming stage of the Ironman 70.3 triathlon event in Marbella, died in hospital on Monday.

The woman had to be rescued from the sea and was taken to the Costa del Sol hospital after suffering cardiorespiratory arrest, according to health service sources.

Organisers of the event sent out a statement on Tuesday: “We are profoundly shocked by the news of the death of one of our athletes. Our condolences go out to the family and friends to whom we offer our support.” The statement also said that the organisers would be working with the local authorities to get as much information as possible about what had happened so that they could “provide the safest possible environment” for future events.

The triathlon, in which 2,500 people competed, started the European Tour which sees 50 places up for grabs in the World Championship which will take place in South Africa in September.

A photo finish

The first Marbella Ironman 70.3 started and finished in Puerto Banús and was made more difficult by the heat, paired with gusty winds. It consisted of 1,900 metres of swimming, 90 kilometres of cycling (taking in numerous parts of Malaga province), and a half marathon of 21 kilometres. British athlete David McNamee was the first across the line, while the first woman was the German, Laura Philipp.

McNamee crossed the line after three hours and 57 minutes, seeing off American Chris Leiferman in a sprint to the finish. The German Andreas Dreitz, one of the other favourites, completed the podium.