Rob Arkell and Kelly Stokes both took overall podium spots at a major international Ironman – just four weeks after the former had to use the latter’s bike to complete one of the most prestigious races in the world.

Arkell, 32, had targeted success at the 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga, USA, just three months after becoming a father to triplets.

But his triathlon hopes were ruined by the failure of an electrical gear changing battery on his bike just an hour before the race was due to begin, which meant he had to borrow Stokes’ ride the day after she had raced to even be able to start the event.

Arkell and Stokes both travelled to the States again to race in Ironman Maryland – a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, followed by a marathon - and produced breakthrough performances, with both setting bike course records, smashing PBs, and finishing on the podium.

The pair, from Fareham and Bishops Waltham respectively, also qualified for the biggest event in one day endurance sports, the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, a year in advance.

Arkell, who was the third man across the line in 9:03, said: “I only signed up for Ironman Maryland 2017 a couple of weeks before the race. This was after my Di2 battery failed at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship four weeks before Maryland, meaning I couldn't compete on my bike.

“The only reason I was able to race at all was because my wife phoned Kelly, who raced in the female race on Saturday, who rushed me her bike at 7am last minute for the men's race on Sunday.

“Due to the stress of the morning, and because I was essentially on a bike that's a different size and position, meant I didn't have the performance I was looking for. I was absolutely gutted as you put so much into the preparation and to have a mechanical problem on the day meant I wanted a chance to put it right.

“I travelled to Maryland mainly off the back of 70.3 training, having done some longer endurance work in the three weeks before the race. Not a traditional build, more reverse periodisation.

“The place was amazing. Cambridge, MD, really embrace the race. The whole community back it and every athlete gets a personal good luck letter from a local school kid, a really nice touch.

“Despite getting stung in the face by a jellyfish during the swim, I was delighted with third place overall and an overall podium in a major full Ironman race, a personal best of 9:03:36, the fastest overall bike split of 4:33:22, which really was redemption for the bike issues in Chattanooga, and to top it off a qualification to the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, over a year in advance.

“Overall it was a superb event with great friends and I'd highly recommend the race to anyone considering an Ironman Triathlon.”

Stokes, 36, went one better, finishing as the second woman overall in a time of 10:07.

“I'm so pleased with the result but even more so with my performance,” she said, having put together a 1:04 swim, 5:00 bike and 3:53 run.

“Every mistake I've made in previous races I finally learned from and had my perfect race.

“There's not a single thing I'd change which is such a great feeling.”