Double Enduroman (New Forest) - 11 & 12 June
Two members of the club John Liebers and newbie Jim Graham
have just completed the Enduroman double IronMan event in the New
Forest which took place on the 11th & 12th June at the same
time as the Deca Ironman event. Here are both their outstanding
Author 1: Jim
The Enduroman Ultra Triathlon Championships
at Avon Tyrrell in the New Forest was held for the first time. It
was an intimate friendly small event compared to Ironman UK. The
organisation was very good. The medal, finisher's shirt, food,
drink, energy gels and goody bag (including t/shirt, beanie and
buff headwear) were all first rate.
The location was good with a pleasant lake
for the swim and a challenging hilly cycle course. Cattle grids,
pot-holes and New Forest horses added to the difficulty. The run
was hilly on soft ground that turned into a bog during the heavy
rain that fell throughout the final day.
It seems that Enduroman like their events
to be a bit tough, so it was never going to be an event for PB's.
This course evidently turned out harder than anticipated as only 4
out of 20 entrants completed the deca-iron and the average
finishing time for the single-iron was 16 hours 49 mins.
John Liebers completed the double-iron
brilliantly in 34 hours 54 mins. John achieved consistently
excellent times in all disciplines to finish 8th (despite coming
off his bike to avoid a horse in the road).
Jim Graham did manage to register the
fastest bike lap, as if ignorant of the fact that another 19 laps
were required in addition. Jim finished 18th with a time of 37
hours 52 mins. A bit tired and wet by the end, with the last mile
taking over 30 mins of trudging through swampy conditions in the
dark. Only 25 of the 42 double-iron entrants completed the
The Enduroman organisers and marshals were
fantastic. Recommended but best take the morning off work next
Don't even think about doing this event
unsupported. Jim and John had a superb support team of Helen, Dave
and Ben who all deserve medals for a massive effort. Much
"30 seconds to the
start...." Steve Hayward, the race director
calls out from the jetty.
That's close enough... I set my watch alarm
on 15min repeats then change the display back to chrono ready for
I'd got up at 0430 that morning feeling
fairly relaxed but without any certainty about how the next couple
of days would unfold. However as I slipped off the jetty into the
water and waded out something like a big electrical relay switch
went 'CLUNK' in my head. I breathed in
deeply.... "I'm here, let's get this
"5...4...3...2...1..." the klaxon sounds
and we're off - Double Enduroman 2011; swim 4.8miles, bike
232 miles, run 52 miles.
I find my groove and slowly count off the
swim laps. Each lap is just less than 300m round a small
picturesque woodland lake. We come through a funnel system next to
the jetty each time for the marshals to record our laps.
"71" I call out my number each time past.
"71 confirmed". And a second marshal ticks off the lap.
The "20 laps completed" call agrees with my
own mental tally and that of my support crew... only 6 to go. I was
feeling good and a renewed energy anticipating the "last lap"
call as I approached the jetty 5 laps later.
"2 laps to go..." What?...
you're bloody kidding, I thought. I'm on my last lap you
I politely challenge the marshal. My race
crew, who were race using a tally
counter, question the marshal as well but to no avail.
Oh well... I got to swim 5
Okay, bike leg - not 232 miles but 20 laps.
I refused to let myself think in distances... '232 miles followed
by a double marathon'. I tried to banish these measurements of
distance from my mind. Stay in the present and just count laps... 1
to 20, that's not so bad. For the same reason I'd taken my garmin
off my bike... I didn't want a constant reminder about how far I'd
gone and still had to go. Heartrate?... well I'd just try to keep
the effort steady and comfortable. Besides I
didn't want to be carrying any extra gear over that distance and
the battery wasn't designed to last long enough anyway.
Late in the day, standing out of the saddle
working my way up a short but sharp incline a car of young girls
slowed to pass me, cheering and leaning out of the window.
"Corrr... you've got a fit bum!" one of them called
Well that was a better lift than any sports
gel. I had a shit-eating grin for the next couple of miles and
amused myself imagining retelling the episode to my wife..."Yeah,
they probably said you had a fat bum!"
The New Forest ponies though often standing
adjacent to and sometimes in the road seemed pretty docile and for
the most part ignored both cars and cyclists. Although initially
wary when passing them I began to get complacent as the day went
Sweeping round a downhill bend I was
suddenly faced with several horses trotting along either side of
the road. I tried to scrub off some speed but not before a couple
of horses veered across in front of me. Instinctively I jammed
harder on the brakes... my back wheel skidding out beneath me.
Shit... I was going to hit that horse in front of me. I released
the pressure on my brakes to regain control of my bike and somehow
managed to miss the horse but only by riding onto the embankment at
the side of the road. As I came off my bike I thought my race was
I took the impact on my left shoulder and
upper arm but thankfully onto soft ground. I'm okay...saddle's
twisted about 70' but my bike seems okay...wheels good. Easton
wheelsets are renowned for being bloody bombproof. In my haste I
get on my bike and carry on. Thank goodness for that - I must
The road sweeps downwards along a fast
section of the course and I make the most of it leaning into the
bends. Johnny - you arse! You've just crashed your bike and you
haven't even checked it over properly. I slow down and pull over
and give it a proper once over. Wheels true, quick releases secure,
callipers aligned, chainset and derailleurs good, bars and headset
secure. Okay... now get back on your bike and take it
I felt good during the night although the
temperature dropped quite a bit... down to 4'C according to the
race organisers and occasional drizzle. Stopping for the odd hot
drink or bite to eat the laps count down and soon the sun was
coming up. Ironically that was the first time I really wanted to
sleep and I was struggling to keep my eyes open. I found myself
cycling with my eyes shut...just a few moments would be
"C'mmon Johnny!" I
shouted out loud to myself "Stay with it."
The urge to sleep passed and soon I was
back in transition preparing for the run. My uber-efficient support
crew were like a Formula 1 pit stop team. You could almost hear the
high pitched "ZZZZiip...ZZZiip" of electrical power tools as they
undressed and re-dressed me, changed shoes, handed me food and
massaged my sore back - all at the same time. Pat on the shoulder;
thumbs up; ready to go.
The run course was a short loop on a
woodland trail passing round the lake we'd swam in yesterday. Soft
underfoot but undulating and plenty of trip
hazards. Soft underfoot eventually became ankle
deep mud in many places as the weather turned for the worse.
Relentless sheeting rain and gusting wind; a
couple of marquees and the race control tent were blown
I'd changed kit twice during the run and
had no more dry clothes left. I was running in my club bike jacket
which I can testify is definitely not waterproof.
I'm soaked through and my core temperature
is dropping. Just stopping long enough for a hot drink I get
colder...I have to keep moving. Just over a marathon to go...
(don't think of those distances Johnny) ...but I'm shivering badly;
teeth chattering. I need to sort myself out... I
go into a toilet block adjacent to the run course to get some
temporary respite from the weather and think. I remove some wet
clothing and repeatedly use the hand driers to blow some warm air
over me... that feels good.
As if fate Jim Graham, the other mid Sussex
tri club competitor, is in there too ...in the closed cubicle
diligently reducing his racing weight. I haven't seen much of
him since the bike leg but he's doing good. Jim gives me a spare
space blanket... Yea Gods! And to think I had been taking the piss
out of him on Friday for bringing so much kit! But the space
blanket alone wouldn't do the trick. Back on the course I shout out
to Ben (race crew) to bring a dustbin liner, small plastic bag and
duct tape. I was annoyed with myself for not thinking to do this
earlier. Sheltering among some trees we duct tape the space blanket
round my torso next to my skin and use the bin liner over the top
of my bike jacket. A small plastic bag taped over my head completes
the ensemble. Great - I was more waterproof and had the means to
trap some heat. After another couple of laps I was warm
The finish was sweet; not just the end of
two days racing but the culmination of eight months training. I
crossed the finish holding hands with my
children. But I will remember the race for these
other things as well:
My support crew:
Ben my eldest son, Dave brother-in-law and
Helen, Jim Graham's wife. What a solid crew-able
to anticipate our needs and keep us going. They got little sleep
and spent the whole of Sun- cold and wet but never complained. Like
Jim said don't even think about doing a race like this with-out a
support crew. Outstanding!
Running miles 50 & 51 with my
wife alongside me and Friends turning up
unexpectedly having driven 2hr and standing in the rain for
another 5 to help me finish.
Both other competitors and Enduroman
organisers. Take Rev Graham - Enduroman staffer and Buddhist
priest. Gold tooth, bone earring in a stretched earlobe - kilt,
army boots and wearing his buff pirate-style. He helped keep me
running with hot beef stock drinks - it was if he was offering me
the Holy Grail full of the elixir of youth.
Craig Spring, Royal Navy, eventual winner
of Double Enduroman. Such composure; his face a study of complete
determination and focus. Walking up an incline together we reached
the point to start running again when he barked out "Right
legs...move!" and off he went already 20miles ahead of
Fabian Pwi, Singapore Army. He was wobbling
all over the road on his bike some 20hr into his race seemingly
exhausted but still completed his triple another 44hr
Monique, the only female attempting the
deca (10x daily iron dist format). One of only 4 remaining
competitors on day9 (20 started on day1) she had to be pulled out
of the water due to cold injury. It seemed her race was over
but after 30min in the medical tent she was back at the jetty
getting back into her wetsuit and into the
water. "Whatta you lot staring at!" she
harangued the crowd of awestruck onlookers.... Hard as
Jim Graham for having the grit to finish
the run well into the second night in foul weather...cold,wet,muddy
and hungry...but getting the job done.
Everyone was hurting, but everyone still
had a ready smile and a few words of encouragement for each other.
Most didn't know the meaning of 'giving up'. I like being in the
proximity of these kind of people
It seems I have a button
somewhere inside that requires an occasional
'press-to-test'.. ...Besides you get
a great t-shirt.
42 started the Double, 25 finished
(including both MSTC competitors)... I came 8th in 34h54
(cutoff 39h) having had no sleep on a course where the
average time for Sunday's single Enduroman was 16h49.
Swim 02:44:34 (13) Cycle 17:43:44 (11) Run 14:25:54
(7) Finish Time 34:54:14 Overall :
Swim 03:16:29 (23) Cycle 18:03:07 (12) Run
16:33:14 (17) Finish Time 37:52:52 Overall