A HEREFORDSHIRE athlete has realised his dream by qualifying to compete at next year's Ironman World Championships.

Mark Lamonby, from Leominster, finished in a qualifying position when he competed in Ironman Mallorca recently.

Lamonby had been training for his goal of world championships qualification since 2015 and did exactly that with a fourth place finish in his age category at Mallorca.

It was not plain sailing for the Leominster athlete and father of three who ran the final six miles through pain to secure the final place in Hawaii next year.

"I'm over the moon to say the least," said Lamonby.

"I was hoping to race Ironman Wales in September but the local council thought it seemed appropriate to cancel the event.

"After hearing that news, it soon became important to me to come up with a plan B.

"I didn’t want all the money, time and sacrifices just to go to waste for another year!

"Mallorca was the obvious candidate for the plan B.

"I knew there would be other keen athletes also thinking exactly the same as me, with the World Championships in mind."

Lamonby who runs his own business along with being a father has still made time to train for the event.

Earlier this season he finished second at UK Ultimate and first in age group so approached the event in high spirits.

Starting with the swim leg which took place in the sea Lamonby finished the leg in 57 minutes and 22 seconds - under his goal of an hour.

The bike leg saw competitors take on the Col de Femenia climb over 4.5 miles with a 5.7 per cent gradient.

Lamonby started the run in seventh place but with a marathon to close the gap on his rivals the Leominster runner soon made ground with sub-90 minutes first half marathon.

Moving into third and only two minutes away from the lead the pain in his foot got worse with just six miles to go.

The pain forced him to slow finishing the marathon in three hours five minutes and 19 seconds but importantly fourth in his age group in 9-02-31.