I’m proud to say that I managed to complete the Ironman course in Bolton in 14 hours 1 minute. You can see my split times here:
The whole weekend went by so fast (except the race). I arrived in Bolton at midnight Friday into Saturday after a long day at work and a 4 hour drive up there. Saturday, true to form for the stereotypical northern weather, it poured down with rain for the entire day. I registered mid morning, had a look around the expo, racked my bike and put the transition bags in the appropriate places. After which I attended the safety briefing which included a list of rules as long as your arm. Then lots of carbs for dinner and an early bed.
Sunday, race day, I was up at 3am to have breakfast and get all my gear sorted. I failed putting on the transferable tattoos with my race number as I didn’t read the instructions properly (it was early!). So somewhat stressed headed to the start at 4.30am to prep the bike with gels and get ready for the swim start. Ironically I found at least a dozen people who made the same mistake with their tattoo’s and we were allowed to just draw on numbers with a permanent marker.
We jumped into the lake at 5.50am just after the pro’s. It was a misty morning but the cold Pennington flash lake soon woke me up! And 6am we were off.
The swim took 1.04hours which was two laps of the lake with a quick run between the two (apparently this is called an Australian exit). I was doing well for my age group at this point and so I jumped on the bike. At this point I knew it would be demoralising as I’m not a strong cyclist – to be honest 6 months ago I couldn’t even cycle 50miles on flat roads and I just completed 112miles with an elevation gain of around 1260m in 7.29hours. For me this was a good time but it meant lots of the stronger cyclists shot past me of varying ages but I knew to stick to my game plan as to finish the race. There were two particularly nasty hills which had to be completed twice in the cycle and I’m pleased to say I did not have to get off the bike to push (unlike some of the people with pointy hats!).
I must say the supporters of Bolton were fantastic, they lined the streets so we had to cycle single file and screamed our names, one lady scared my to death so I pedalled as fast as I could to get away from her which helped up the hill. Thanks to the crazy mankini wearing group at the top of one of the climbs, appreciated the music and support!
Around 3pm I turned up at T2 which was at the Macron stadium, previously called the Reebok stadium. It was in the car park right next to Bolton wanderers football stadium and same place as the expo. I slowly switched to my running gear and carried on for my small jog to the end.
I didn’t think I have a marathon ahead of me, just one foot in front of the other and repeat. As soon as I reached the feed stations I had one cup of water and cola and carried on – I had one of the energy gels that I was carrying but my stomach didn’t like it. So my regime became water, cola, run, repeat. We had to do three laps of the town, each lap went past the finish line and each lap you were given a different colour wrist band. Only when you had 3 bands could you enter the final stretch. I’ve never been so jealous of some silly colour wrist band – it was like the ring from lord of the rings almost. It also meant you knew who was ahead of you which at times was somewhat depressing until I saw people with less than me. Admittedly it felt I was running at a walking pace and nearly 5 hours later, I doubled up my fuel 500m from the end and did, what I would class as, a sprint finish up the red carpet.
It was a fantastic feeling and the announcer said, “Scott, you are an Ironman!”. At that point it didn’t matter what the time was as I knew I had achieved my goal and too be honest was so close to tears but someone stuck a camera in my face and started interviewing me. I was asked how I felt, the only thing I could say other than water, cola, run, repeat was EPIC in a very EPIC way and that was pretty much the limit of my thinking and talking abilities.
Utterly exhausted I accepted the medal, the finishers top and the 2 slices of pizza as if I’d just one the Olympics. I had the strut of a winner, if a winner waddled like a penguin and the biggest grin on my face ever. Amongst the pain which has was quite bad for around 48hours, I felt very relaxed, very happy and very emotional.
There may have been 2000 other finishers, many much better than myself, but considering I only started triathlon 9 months ago and managed to complete triathlons toughest race within one year, raising over £1000 for charity (and for those that are interested getting distinction In my post-grad courses) whilst working full time, it was pretty special and EPIC 🙂
So a very big thank you to those of you that sponsored me and especially to those who have supported me along the way. The main people know who they are and I couldn’t have done it without each and everyone of you. Thank you so much.
I have the best friends and family and am very grateful for them. In case you are wondering I’m not in a hurry to do another full distance ironman event, perhaps something shorter for now.
For those of you that are local the Nags head pub in bishops Stortford are hosting a charity pub quiz night on Wednesday 30th July starting at 8pm with all proceeds going to SCOPE. It costs £1 per person to enter And there is a raffle as well. Anyone is welcome to attend and I’ll be there with my medal for you all to see.
Also I will hopefully be in the Herts and Essex Observer again this coming Thursday 24th July so feel free to grab a copy.
I’ll let you all know my total fundraising amount after the pub quiz.
Thank you everyone.