Category Archives: Triathlon

Team Hoyt

Training and competing in an Ironman, is really tough – it goes without saying. Team Hoyt is a father and son pair who compete together, which wouldn’t be so unusual if it weren’t for the fact that the son is quadriplegic. During an Ironman triathlon the father swims the 2.4 miles while pulling his son behind him in a small boat, then cycles the 112 miles together on a specially designed bike, before a marathon, father pushing son in a wheelchair.  Check them out on youtube, and on their website Team Hoyt. Both heroes, and both inspirational.

A classic moment in the history of endurance sports

In 1982 Julie Moss was leading the women in the then, relatively new (began in 1978), Ironman triathlon, held in Hawaii: she was a student with limited training, and this was the first event of this type she had ever taken part in. Her finish, caught on camera, and shared across the US and beyond, rocketed the Ironman into the publics consciousness. Well worth a watch to see what guts and determination are all about after swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles and running 26 miles. Julie Moss

Chrissie Wellington – Super Triathlete, taking a break

Chrissie Wellington is taking a well earned break from her ongoing Ironman Triathlon successes – see the article in Triathlete Europe. But thankfully for the less talented amongst the rest of us, her new book ‘A life without limits’ comes out later in February, and should be an inspiring read. After all someone who is the triple women Ironman Champion and should have been this years BBC Sports Personality of the Year, is going to say lots that is worth reading.

Triathlons…….going long

Its at this time of year, with both the mornings and the evenings becoming darker, that much of our training is done indoors and vicariously through reading magazines and books. I like to take this time to consider the ‘big’ events for next year: what haven’t I done yet? What is my next challenge? With the exception of the enjoyable Mourne Triathlon – which I tackled with limited training – all of my events have been running focussed this year. With this in mind, a change may be in order, and whilst wishing for another long endurance challenge an iron distance triathlon event comes to mind.

The term Ironman is owned by the World Triathlon Corporation and their events involve a swim/cycle/run with distances of 2.4/112/26.2 – this has become the de facto standard for any triathlon claiming to be Iron-distance. The original insane challenge was born out of arguments over whether cyclist or swimmers were the fittest in the late 70’s.

The most local ‘Ironman’ triathlons are:
Ironman UK in Bolton, England, July 22 2012
Ironman Wales in Pembrokeshire, Wales, September 16 2012

There are some 70.3 events which are half the distance, including:
Ironman UK in Bolton, England, July 22 2012
Ireland 70.3 in Galway, Ireland, September 4th, 2012

Sadly at £375 for a full Ironman they are expensive.

There are however a number of alternatives, which usually cost much less. Many of them smaller scale, but the distances, and the challenge remains the same:

The Outlaw, in Nottingham (the name is a nod towards their famous hero, Robin Hood), July 1st 2012
Challenge Henley on Thames, Henley-on-thames, England, September 16th 2012. Challenge has races all over the world now, and also offer half distances.
The Big Woody, Wye Valley, England, No date yet but likely to be end of August, and looks great fun.

More locally is the Ireman, held in Groomsport, near Bangor, Northern Ireland. It offers full and half distance, and looks well worth a try. Date to follow.

So, if you are going to dream big, why not make it really big and consider the ultimate challenge of an Ironman.

Mourne Triathlon and Seven Sevens

Saturday was a great day for events in Northern Ireland. Two of the LocoRunners took part in the formidable Seven Sevens: 19 miles of running, and almost 9000 feet of climbing in the Mourne’s, starting at Donard Park. Both finished together, and strong, in an impressive time of just over 7 hours. Meanwhile, at Castlewellan I was progressing from swim to cycle, to run in the Mourne Triathlon. The lake proved not too cold, though maintaining a straight course proved a challenge for myself and some of the other swimmers – so apologies there for any collisions I may have caused. The 1500 metres, plus diversions, was managed in just over 30 minutes despite minimal swim training. The transition to the bike, including removal of wetsuit, and change of top proved interesting while my head felt like it was still bobbing along in the lake. Two, out and back bike legs, and some challenging, though mostly short hills was great fun, before second transition. Cycle shoes off, bike racked and and slip into running shoes, and I headed off the grass to the tarmac trail around the lake. The first loop, plus an out and back climb to make the three miles, and my legs felt like jelly. By the second lap my legs felt stronger, giving my a 6 mile run time of just under 47 minutes. Overall a really enjoyable race, with crowd and marshalls giving great support.  The winner was finishing just as I was heading out for a run, in an impressive time of 2 hours 7 minutes. The organisation was faultless, and everyone finished with a big smile.

Final preparations for race day

The last week before the event is often the most difficult. You have been through long runs, tempo runs, fartleks, hill training, and then you stop, with the clock ticking as you near your chosen event. Its at this time when doubt kicks in, aches start to surface, and you realise you need to buy kit that you will use untried on the day. Your brain is telling you, that you aren’t ready, and how could you even think about taking part. But you are ready, the work is done, like money in the bank, and the race is your pay out. On Saturday myself and two others are attempting the 52 mile run through the Mourne Mountains, known as the Mourne Way Ultra – check out the 26 Extreme site as they are hosting loads of events in Northern Ireland. I’m eating better than I have through all the training, avoiding people with colds, or who happen to sneeze, I am drinking lots of fluid and I am taking in carbohydrates by the bucket load. I’m reading everything that I have on running for some last minute tips, and checking and re-checking the weather, and laying out appropriate kits. But more than that, I’m getting my head ready. When you start any event you need to believe; you need to have an inner confidence that, come what may, you will give it your best shot. You need to have some images, hopes and dreams that you can call to mind when your legs hurt, you feel dizzy, and all energy has drained out of you. What will drive you forward, and keep you going through the pain? It will hurt, but that’s all part of it. If it was going to be easy, we as runners, cyclists and triathlete’s wouldn’t be interested. We are all constantly pushing ourselves out of the comfort zone of modern man:  the slumber that most people live in, is not for us. We want something more, something that isn’t easy. So I’ll be ready for Saturday, and though the nerves will be there, the excitement will be there too.