So – this is it – the end of the road. It’s been a long old road, a wet one at times too, with ups and downs, thrills and spills and some amazing support from friends, family and loved ones along the way.
This Sunday I finally managed to fulfill my ambition and complete the gruelling IRONMAN Wales on the 8th September, Tenby, Wales. Rumoured to be one of the toughest on the planet!
Here’s a little bit of the back story to how this idea all started:
This year I am hoping to tick off one of my big ‘To Do’s’ and enter the Wales IRONMAN in Tenby in September. It’s been on my list of things to do for a while, this year I turn 30 and its time to be good to my word and get on and do it!
For those of you who don’t know what IRONMAN is?
2.4mile swim (in the sea!) then a 112mile bike ride and a marathon to finish for good measure (26.2miles!) oh and all in one day! (17hours)
I also figured that while I am putting in the time and training effort why not raise some money for a great charity, SCOPE, along the way.
Training has been intense, fun, tiring, testing, rewarding, boring, LONG and at times so brutal but I think overall I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. I have been able to take part in a range of ‘sprint triathlons’, ‘aquathons’ and ‘long course triathlons’ to help me to prepare for the physical and mental aspects of completing the mammoth distances in the 17 hours allowed.
Raising money for SCOPE has been a great motivation and the support and donations that have been generated have been PHENOMENAL – it has been a great honor to be able to push my body to the limit in the knowledge that you have all been giving your hard earned money to a great cause, giving other young people the chance to access specialist equipment so they can fulfill their dreams. Not completing has not been an option!
I have been up against it though – 2 jobs, a pregnant wife, a pretty active (nearly) 2 year old son and a badly broken AC shoulder joint back in January have all left me, at times, asking the all important questions and digging deep into my mental will power to keep me going.
How much has been raised for SCOPE:
I have huge amounts of thanks and praise to give out to all of you who have donated and supported me in reaching the current total, well in excess of:
£1,400 (which makes £1,690 – when you take into account the gift aid)
PLUS – there is still about £150 of donations in cash still to come in!
£1000 was my target, £1250 buys a specialist bike for kids to use and enjoy the outdoors like I do so my total goes beyond all of those!!
In addition, I have to say a huge thanks to my friends and family for their time and patience during this process (especially Jo and Felix) and of course, the supporters and people of Tenby who made the 8th September one of the greatest days of my life so far!
So – how well did I do?
I managed to complete the whole course in: 12hours, 52mins and 05secs
This put me in 489th place overall (out of about 1600 competitors)
I completed the 2.4mile (3.8km) sea swim in: 1:13:56
I cycled the 112mile (180km) bike course in: 6:53:30 (PB) and
I ran the 4 lap 26.2mile (40km) Marathon in: 4:28:09 (another PB)
Full race details can be found here – www.ironman.com (type in results and bib No. 550)
The day itself could not have gone better for me - great swim conditions and I felt ready after my 3 days of preparing in Tenby. The swim is always ‘hectic’ 1600 people fighting in the water for the first lap, then the second lap you can get into the rhythm and think ‘I don’t have to do this again for a while!’
Legging it through town to the T1 (swim to bike transition) was epic – people cheering, high fives off supporters and seeing both Jo, my Dad and Clare and TQ on route was ace.
Through transition and onto my weakest of sections – the bike – the £400 eBay bike did me so proud, given a good looking over by Lee a week or so before and fresh off a good clean and re-marking to match my race colors we flew past the £5k bikes and their punctures and troubles. The bike course went too well for my liking and I was so pleased to ride the best I have ever done. I was glad that I had been back on the course since the dreadful Long Course Weekend, during the hot July weather, when I struggled to make 8 ½ hours on that route. Catching a glimpse of my dad on lap 1 in New Hedges and knowing it would not be long before seeing the gang on lap 2 kept me going all the way to the run.
My aim with the Marathon was to keep going slow, no big walking stretches and keep injury free. I plodded at nice and comfortable pace throughout, smiling and waving to the family (mum, dad, Jo and Felix) on each lap and reveling in the amazing support through town. On lap 3 I called to my dad to send Jo and Mum down into the finish line as I was going to make the 8pm cut off I had now set myself to make.
My last lap was TOUGH, but all the cheering and with the 4 lap bands securely on my arm, I headed down the finishing straight. Cheers and screams from Jo meant I was either really close to making the 13hour mark or she was giving birth, luckily it wasn’t labour!
Time for pizza, warm and dry clothes and a hug from the wife! Wow, what a day.
I am over the moon with my times and achievements of the day and also the amount of money I have been able to raise in this process – just leaving me with one BIG question – WHAT NEXT?? Well I guess – baby number 2 will be here very soon then after that who knows? Ironman in under 12hours??
I started this process as a regular ‘gym go-er’ and a ‘fit-ish’ person – I can now say I am an IRONMAN athlete and I am so happy.
I have had 3 aims throughout all of this so I believe it’s a tick in all 3 for me:
- To complete Ironman Wales in the allocated time so all the amazing money raised and donated could be worth that much more
- My wife would not go into labour during the process and
- If at all possible – complete in under 13 hours safely
So, I would love to say, once again a massive thanks to:
Jo (aka Kempy!), Antony Morgan, The Parsleys, Rowenna, Rhydian and Amelie, Rachel, Jane Wellock, Christine Hutchinson, Shirley Irvine, Peartree Languages, Paul Chapman, John O, Elliot, Cat & Tobias, Helen Dasic, Lucy Parkinson, Cousin Kerry, Punch Maughan, Pete Lewis, Aunty Jean, Kath Durbin & Helen O'Sullivan, Richard Partridge, Susan and Kerry, Cliff Nelson, Huw & Cath, Michelle Bradbury-Evans, Ivor Thomas, Clive Stockdale, Charles Middleton, Katie Lloyd, Alan Irvine, Victoria Jones, Ellis Fearn, Steph and Janine, Dan Rhodes, Chris Rowe, Hayley Speicher, Lily Woolrich, Hayley Thomas, Andrew Walters, Clare & TQ, Lia and Kelvin, Sarah Hurley, Vicky Arnold, Abandoned Shoe, Dai and Lauren, Vikki Wakeford, Cath Williams, Babs Williams-Board, Richard O
(Plus Lisa for the essential use of the Tenby Caravan and Lee for the Bike service/repairs!)
There are plenty of others who have chosen remain anonymous to me (and you will know who you are!) plus those who have promised to donate post event - i thank you all!
My donation page will be open until 8th October 2013 for anyone who still wants to support and please do pass this onto anyone you may know who would like to support:
all photos and videos have been put on my Facebook page:
And I have also been keeping a blog up to date with the journey: