Horsham woman Susie Ellis competed in an Ironman France competition in Nice, which she finished on Monday morning Australian standard time. She is pictured here racing in the Horsham Triathlon in February.HORSHAM woman Susie Ellis jumped into the ocean after receiving her medal for completing an Ironman France competition in Nice on Monday morning.

Ellis, 48, battled the elements, tough terrain and mental exhaustion to complete the course in 11 hours, 51 minutes and 10 seconds.

One of 2500 competitors from around the world, Ellis finished 802nd overall.

The mother of five was the 31st female competitor, one of 250, to cross the finishing line and was second in the women’s 45 to 49-year-old age group.

Ellis said it was a relief to finish the gruelling ironman competition, which she said was well organised.

“My dear husband Patrick stood by the track all day and I only saw him on the last lap of the run,” she said. “We found an Irish Pub so he was happy.”

Ellis said the race started with all 2500 entrants swimming off at once.

Ellis completed the 3.8-kilometre swim leg in 1.21.55.

“I managed to keep my cap and goggles on and not get kicked or swam over the top of,” she said. “Paul Atherton has been teaching me to draft so I had lots of opportunities to tag someone.

“I was really happy with my swim as it’s my weakest leg.

“I couldn’t believe when I got into swim transition and as I’m taking my wetsuit off I hear an Aussie voice say ‘G’day Susie’.

“I looked up and there was David Hair and Ewen Ross.

“They’ve been riding around the French Alps for two weeks and just so happened to end up in Nice.

“Unbelievable coincidence.”

Ellis said the 180-kilometre bike leg included a 1800-metre climb. She recorded a time of 6.12.47 in the second leg.

“My legs felt fantastic the whole way round,” she said. “I must thank Doug Issell and Cookie from Horsham Cyclery who helped me with my bike preparation.

“I was passing people on the ascend only for some of them to catch me on the descend.

“The village people were out cheering as we went through and I felt like I was riding in the Tour de France.

“I motored into town with a head wind but still felt great.”

Ellis took 4.06.44 to complete the 42.2-kilometre run, the final leg of the ironman competition.

“The run was tough. Mentally tough,” she said.

“The course was flat and four laps along the boulevard.

“Lots of the crowd was cheering in French and every other language. There were not many Aussies.

“The weather was hot and humid, around 27 degrees.

They had water spray showers you could run under.

“I finished the run and couldn’t believe my overall time was better than New Zealand last year, which didn’t have the mountains.”

Ellis said Nice was a superb setting for an ironman competition.

“Nice is a beautiful coastal town surrounded by picturesque mountains, dotted by traditional French villages,” she said.

“The Mediterranean Sea is salty and it’s like bobbing around like a cork.

“On my first day here I got a nasty jellyfish sting on my right arm I’m still recovering.”

Ellis will compete in the Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Las Vegas in September.

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