Due to the water below being 11C and an air
temp hovering around 6/7C the triathlon has been changed to a
duathlon on safety grounds - BTF rules say that below 11C, then the
swim should not go ahead and so it ended up being a 5.3km run a 56
mile bike and the full half marathon.
Instead of combining the reports into one I have left them separate as the opinions on the race vary.
Training aside, it seemed like I had done no preparation for the race itself as it was only on the Saturday afternoon that I worked out what time I'd have to leave on the Sunday that I decided it would be best to stay over somewhere. After a lot of panicked calls I managed to get a place quite close, it appears that there had been some cancellations due to the water temperature reports. The organiser had informed that the water temperature had reached a balmy 15 degrees, one of the lads at the place I stayed at said that there was a thermometer at the venue when they registered earlier on the Saturday and it indicated a very frosty 10 degrees. Brrr!
Needless to say the swim was cancelled on the day, but in typical disorganised fashion it was only at the last minute. This was changed to a 5.3Km run, much to Steve's disgust! This threw all my clothing preparations and in my panic I forgot my timing chip. A couple of minutes before my wave started I made a mad dash for the car to get it. I returned clutching the device only to find the rest of my wave disappearing into the distance. I quickly caught up with the tail enders only to find Kay running her own race. I managed to work through about half of the wave before a very pedestrian T1.
Unfortunately I got stuck behind a car that was trying to overtake some of the other cyclists at the beginning of the bike leg.. It took about half a mile of shouting to get around the car before I could start to get motoring. The bike course wasn't quite as bad as I was expecting, fairly flat with a couple of hills. It was wet and a bit blowy so I was glad I had my thermal cycle gear on. I started to get a bit saddle sore after nearly 50 miles and struggled to maintain an aero position after that. It was at this point of the bike course that we started to head back to Camber Sands and Lydd, directly into a strong headwind :-(
Getting off the bike at T2 felt strange as I had no feeling in my feet! I hobbled over to my transition area and changed quickly (too quickly as it turned out) before heading back out on the run. It was at this point that I realised that wearing a soggy thermal bike top on the run was not such a good idea, as was wearing an extra pair of cycle shorts with a super thick pad. Despite this I managed to set off at a fairly quick pace of about 7:40 mins per mile which I managed to keep going for over half the distance of the run course before starting to tire. By mile 9 I was starting to slow down a lot and walk through the aid stations, by mile 10 this started to manifest into the odd 'walk of shame'. What I did like about the run was that the organisers had printed our names on the race number which the few hardy souls that were out supporting used to cheer us on.. That felt good.
Gutted that the swim was cancelled due to water being too cold. Have to respect the officials that enforce these rules for our well-being, however, 30-mins in 11 degree lake wearing a wet-suit would have been ok by me.
Had been looking forward to a decent dress rehearsal with Roth just a couple of months away. However, this race was therefore turned into a duathlon.
Well organised event and the marshals were extremely friendly, despite the horrid weather they had to put up with.
Jamie and Ant produced excellent performances and are looking good for 10 hour finish times at Roth, if all goes well for them in July.
Steve and Jim suffered set-backs with muscle strain and puncture respectively. Nice fast cycle course that is predominantly flat and reasonably free of traffic.
Would do the event another year despite it being a little disappointing this time around. Good value, good half-ironman on a good course with good organisation.
Unfortunately with Ironman training as this was for all of us there was no taper for this race and after a hard week training the half marathon was a step too far for my legs.
I'm still not sure if I am happy about not swimming or not, the first run was all about getting warm, control and taking it easy so had a fairly lesurly jog round once in T1 I had to change into cycle kit decisions to be made and I went with the wrap up warm one instead of the get out quick. As you can tell I decided to ignore my times in transition (11 mins in total) and make sure I was properly clothed and could walk.
Out on the bike and it was not too bad if you like the cold, wind, wet and lots of drafters this all paled into insignificance when my hamstrings started to play up. The bike took us through Camber sands I had never been there before and was looking forward to seeing it, I think I smelt it first which confused me as the smell was old oil in deep fat fryers, not nice when you are putting that much effort in, I went past the source. Pontins, well made me go a little faster to get out of there, very dull uneventful bike so into T2.
Bike dismount is on a serious downhill and quite a few guys landed quite hard. This is where my troubles really began as when I got of my bike I could not move my legs and had to lean on the bike to move around transition quite strange, racked the bike and got out of my warm bike gear and into my trainers. Tried to move and could only manage a poor hobble, hamstrings, hips everything was screaming to DNF, bollox I said so I zipped up the man suit and moved slowly out to the run. Said hello to Kay, Emma Goodhead and kids and moved slowly off into my own personal hell.
The run started bad and just kept getting worse, my hamstrings/legs just kept getting tighter and tighter and after mile 7 or 8 I had to keep stopping every mile or so to stretch them
The day started bad and just kept getting worse in fact I don't think I smiled once well not until 400m from the finish line when Hannah and Sam Goodhead joined me to run to the finish line then I had a smile. Finished 25mins longer than I had planned but glad to have finished.
Would I recommend it. No not even if it was sunny.
One of the marshals told me after that he had not seen so many DNFs after a bike leg - many were just too cold and/or cramped up to continue and a few who did go on the run, canned it after a few km.
351 on the start list for Marshman - 211 finishers given that there were probably quite a few no shows/DNS then I would suggest around 100 DNFs that is quite a lot for any race.
Overall Name Position Run 1 T1 Bike T2 Run 2 Total
33 Jamie Goodhead 8 22:23 1:50 2:43:32 2:03 1:47:23 4:57:13
62 Ant Grey 13 26:41 0:00 2:49:26 2:38 1:52:27 5:11:12
96 Jim Graham 10 25:25 2:16 3:07:02 4:05 1:50:38 5:29:27
131 Steve Mac 17 26:54 4:33 3:01:46 6:13 2:10:41 5:50:09