There is no swimming at the college tonight (Monday 27th August). Back to normal Wednesday.
Thanks to Neil Wickes for submitting his report on this race which took place on Saturday 18 / Sunday 19 August. An excellent third-place finish – well done Neil!
I had planned to do 3 Ironman-distance events this year and after choosing Forestman and Ironman Wales, I decided I wanted a potentially fast course to set a PB on. Midnightman, set in Dartford, was a flat course with the bike on mostly closed roads. The race was also through the night so overheating should not have been a problem – unless it is held on the hottest day of the year.
With the mercury touching 33 degrees it was with some relief that we jumped into the lake for the 4-lap swim. However, a water temperature of 23 soon saw competitors overheating in the water. This might have contributed to some slightly slower times and I exited the water in a disappointing 1:06. A quick minute in transition and it was out onto the 18 lap bike course.
Basically it was up and down a closed dual carriageway followed by a loop around the industrial estate. Although very fast on the main road, the smaller loop included a number of speed humps and chicanes which allowed athletes to stretch but slowed times. As the sun slowly set, bike lights were turned on but temperatures remained high and the feed station was hard at work throughout the night. My first full lap was a rather speedy 17 minutes and I soon began to pay for the early pace. After a couple of uncomfortable laps, I settled into an 18-minute lap rhythm. This gave me a bike split of 5:27. This was a little behind my target but my legs felt great for 12:30am.
I’ve never managed to ‘nail’ the Ironman run so far but the 6-lap course was flat with some vocal support. There were some funny looks from the late-night workers at the Sainsbury depot as a multitude of runners jogged around the industrial estate. My opening lap was again a bit quick and would have put me on an unrealistic sub-3 hour. Fortunately some common sense return and I eased back; nevertheless I still found myself pouring cups of cold water over my head. The final lap was a real battle but I knew at that point that I would go sub-10. I fell across the line with a 3:10 run and an overall time of 9:43. Throughout the night I had no idea where I was in the race but it turned out that I finished 3rd overall.
Concept Sport have been organising the Fast twitch Triathlon at Marlborough Leisure Centre since 1984 and so it is probably one of the oldest UK triathlon events still on the racing calendar. It is an interesting race because the distance of each of the three disciplines is non-standard in terms of not being a typical sprint or Olympic distance. Three Evesham based members of Worcester Triathlon Club went to take part in the event and Michelle Parsons once again claimed a superb victory having never completed this race before.
The race starts with a 400 metre pool swim where the competitors are set off in waves of 10/12. Once the swim is completed it is a quick dash out of the pool to the transition area where the athletes mount their bikes to take on a challenging 20 mile bike course around the surrounding area before retuning back to the transition area for a final 5 mile out and back run.
Michelle, as usual knew her swim would leave her having to make up a deficit on the bike and run but this time she was only chasing down a 2 minute gap to Swindon Tri’s Cathy Cook on the bike. This she did with ease recording the fastest female bike split of the day by almost 6 minutes at 57 minutes and 25 seconds. Onto the run and although the run course had been shortened slightly because the amount of rain had rendered one of the paths impassable, she still managed an incredibly impressive 29 minutes and 42 seconds. That gave her a total time of one hour 35 minutes and 16 seconds and a margin of victory of 3 minutes over the fast finishing Cook (1.38.17).
On the Men’s side it was Evesham Running Club member Iain Jennings who led the Worcester Tri Club members home recording an excellent swim time of under 6 minutes for the 400m swim. He then put in the 9th quickest bike split of the day before rounding off the race with a superb 25.26 run split to finish in a total time of 1.25.48 in 5th place overall and first in his age category.
In a very tight team Worcester Tri Club edged out the Army Tri association thanks to Michelle out-pacing the third counter in the Army team by 34 seconds. Worcester’s team was Michelle, her husband Phil and Iain Jennings, the first time a mixed team have won the team event beating the three male Army team members
Below is my race report from the Outlaw triathlon which I raced on the 1st July. I am in white in the photo.
After months of long bike rides getting frost bite on fingers & toes, long runs in the rain and constant lengths of the pool the time had come to see if all that hard work would pay off and that I could become an Outlaw (aka Ironman).
With arriving a couple days before race day it gave me plenty of time to pop down to the course on the Friday, get registered check out where everything is come race morning on the Sunday and also gave me an extra day to pack my race kit up and not rush around on the Saturday.
With a bit of training on the Saturday to get the stiffness out of my legs and bags & bike all racked up it was time to head back to the hotel for an early night and the dreaded 4am wake up.
Come 4am on race morning it was time to get up force some food down me for the long day ahead, and then head over to the race start. While also bumping into another couple more athletes in the hotel some saying “what the hell are we doing?” for my reply “I haven’t got a clue”.
Once over at race start I made some last minute checks to my kit, checked my bike out, slipped into my wetsuit snd got to the race start. This was a mass swim start with nearly 1000 people split up into different bays depending on their expected swim finish time with a straight up & down course. I positioned myself in the second bay expecting a 60-80 minute swim time. With a bit of friendly banter between each bay (4 bays altogether) mainly directed at the sub 60-minute swimmers the countdown began and it was time to start the long day ahead.
The first 500-1000 metres were manic; I ended up getting caught in the middle of a scrap. Got hit on the back of the head a few times, getting pulled back with flaying arms, swam over, fighting my way through swimmers. Once I got into some open space and could relax into my stroke I started to power my way through the swim finding feet to draft off. On the way back swimming into a headwind with the lake creating waves was a struggle at times but with a tropical 18 degree lake temperature I could see the swim finish in the distance and finished the 2.4 mile swim in 1:16:58.
Taking my time in transition making sure I got some food down me, got all my kit and a quick toilet stop before the 112 mile bike ride (the longest I have ridden a bike in one go). I started off the bike leg not going hell for leather in the first few miles but trying to pace myself. With a revised bike course due to Channel 4 filming the day it was split up into two sections with a west loop and an east loop, which you did twice. The first loop was quick and very fast with only one major hill on the course and not much of a headwind but a tailwind. With a bit of friendly banter between other riders on the course I was looking at a sub 6-hour ride the way I was going. But once on the second loop on the east side that’s when it started to become a real struggle at times. The tailwind turned into a horrible headwind all around the two loops. I took some shelter behind groups of cyclists which were going past which almost gave me a second wind on the bike and unfortunately 40km to the end the heavens opened up and only wearing a white tri-suit I got drenched all the way to the end. I ended up doing a 6:30:29 bike which given conditions I was happy with.
Having completed the bike and took my time again in transition to make sure food got down me, and a toilet break, I started the run. To my surprise my legs were feeling great and I quickly got into a comfortable pace doing the first lap of the lake and headed off to start the 3 out & back loops up to Nottingham Forest football club & around the lake. With the pace I was going I didn’t know if I was going too fast or too slow as pacing myself over long distance is not my strong point of running. The first lap seemed to fly by with great support along the whole run course and plenty of feed stations to get enough nutrition at. My plan was simple, run to each aid station, which were roughly every 2 miles apart, walk through & run again. With starting the second lap and having a camera crew follow me for a short time I ended up getting roughly half way round when cramp started to creep in. At this point I knocked off my pace massively & had to walk parts to get to the next aid station. While running I bumped into another athlete who I was chatting to on the first lap of the lake and he too was struggling with his knee and we both decided that we should pretty much fartlek run the last 10 miles, picking out points on the course to stop, run, stop making sure we got enough food & drink down us as we went along. While doing this another runner asked to join us as he too was suffering and for the last out & back loop we stuck together and pulled each other through. Even though my cramp had gone half way through the last loop I decided to stick with these guys as we were all helping each other through & at that point the finish time didn’t matter - it was just about getting to the end.
Heading back to the lake for the last few miles and collecting my 4th wristband felt amazing, knowing in the next few miles I would complete the longest distance I have ever raced. Running down the finish shoot with two other guys who were also first timers arms raised felt amazing and worth all those long hours training. I did a 5:26:01 marathon but that didn’t bother me. I finished in a time of 13:27:31 & finished 610 out of nearly 1000 people who entered and only 890 finished.
The support, volunteers, race organizers & the two other runners who managed to help me & I helped them to get to the end – everything was amazing. I would definitely recommend this race to anyone who is looking to take on an Ironman distance race. I will definitely be heading back in the future to tackle this race again
Our swim coach, Arran Stevens, will be at Sansome Walk Saturday 18th August. Usual cost and time
Arran (our swim coach) will be at Sansome Walk session this Saturday August 11th.
The Droitwich Sprint Triathlon on Sunday 29th July was a huge success, even a shower didn’t dampen competitors spirits. A big thanks to members of the club were out in force making sure everything ran smoothly
Alex Thorley (Junior) (Triks/Cardiff Uni) was the overall winner in 00.51.57
Sam Boswell (F40) was 1st Lady in 1.00.38
Worcseter Tri won the Team prize for fastest three athletes
Full results available at stuweb.co.uk