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Monthly archive for March 2018

Ironman World Championship Kona 13th October 2018

Background

Kona Jim MedalThe inaugural Ironman Triathlon race was held in 1978 and in 1981, the race moved from the tranquil shores of Waikiki to the barren lava fields of Kona on the Big Island of Hawai'i. Along the Kona Coast, black lava rock dominates the panorama, and athletes battle the "ho'omumuku" crosswinds of 45 mph, 95-degree temperatures, 90% humidity and a scorching sun.

Just 15 people came to Waikiki to take on the first Ironman race in 1978. For this the 40th anniversary race in 2018 there were 2,400 competitors who represented the top 1-2% in their age groups, having gained qualification with fast finish times in one of 42 qualifying races throughout the world.

My Journey

It took a huge effort for me to gain qualification for this race because 10 years of Ironman racing has shown that even on a good day I do not tend to finish within the top 2%.
Beyond the usual high volume of training, I raised my game by traveling alone to Colorado in June 2018 to stay at altitude in the Rocky Mountains in an out of season ski-resort airbnb rental. This altitude adaptation was successful and allowed me to clinch 1st place (by just one minute) in the 55-59 age group at the 5,000 foot elevation of Ironman Boulder, Colorado just 10 days after arriving in USA. I got a welcome boost during that run at Boulder when resident professional, Tim Don, cheered me on from the crowd with "Go Mid Sussex!" having read the lettering on my tri-vest.

A burst appendix (with post-operative infection) 7 weeks before this Ironman World Championship in Kona abruptly halted all training for three weeks at a critical time and threatened to cause my withdrawal from the race completely. The target for race day at Kona became simply to finish within the 17 hours cut-off time. I hoped to do a fast cycle but not over-exert myself on the swim or the run.

Swim

Sea conditions were perfect and Great Britain's Lucy Charles broke the female swim course record by completing the 2.4 miles in just 48 minutes, on her way to finishing second overall.

I placed myself at the back of the mass start of swimmers to keep out of trouble and I completed in 1:39, which was almost the slowest in my age group. I was placed 124th in age group at the end of the swim.

Kona Start

Cycle

The winds were gentler than usual, which may explain why both the male and female cycle course records were broken by professionals in 4:09 and 4:26 respectively. My cycle of 4:58 (average speed 22.6 mph) was one of the fastest in my age group so I advanced to 44th place in age group.

Kona Jim Bike

Run

Kona Jim RunDespite temperatures being a little cooler than previous years, the heat and humidity was brutal. By half-way there were many athletes walking and some were in distress with nausea and exhaustion. Some of the professionals had slow runs, including Tim Don and Lionel Sanders.

I made full use of the copious amounts of water, salt, energy gels and ice provided at each of the 26 feed stations. Surprisingly, I felt fine throughout and maintained a steady pace for the the entire run, even in the dreaded natural energy lab section.

My marathon run time of 3:51 was comparatively fast so I advanced to 24th in age group. My wife Helen was volunteering at the finish line and I gratefully fell into her arms to complete a wonderful race experience.

Reflections

Kona Jim FinishMy finish time of 10:36 is one of my fastest for an Ironman race, despite it starting with a swim that was 27 minutes slower than my previous best. I think I have only ever gone faster at the famously fast Ironman Barcelona course. This result was an hour or two quicker than I had expected at the start of the day. Germany's Patrick Lange took 9 minutes off his own course record then (on one knee) proposed marriage to his girlfriend (in English) at the finish line. Switzerland's Daniela Ryf broke the previous course record and was 24 minutes faster than her 2017 winning time despite a jelly-fish sting at the beginning of the swim that slowed her progress and almost made her quit the race. That jelly-fish sting seemed to unleash astonishing powers to enable Daniela to overhaul Lucy Charles's substantial lead, whilst breaking the female cycle course record.

I am so lucky to have the support of family and friends to allow me to participate in such a terrific sporting event. The many NHS staff that got me through appendicitis gave me first rate care and literally saved my life. Ironman Kona is a very special event and it has been a privilege to participate alongside wonderful volunteers and world class athletes.

Oh, yes…… and the annual Kona race-week charity "Underpants Run" plus the "Parade of Nations" were a fun traditions not to be missed.

Kona Pants

Kona Team GB


 

Club news, 24th Sept

Over the weekend of 22nd and 23rd September, and despite the poor weather, members were competing in Swim Serpentine, the 170 mile Ragnar White Cliffs relay and the Weymouth Half Ironman (70.3).

Swim Serpentine

Six members took part in the 2 mile swim with Jeremy Paine being first club member to finish in 1.11.41, followed by Ricci Lennon (1.12.25), Jim Graham (1.15.51), Julie Williams (1.16.10), Sarah Hinton (1.17.14) and Helen Graham (1.35.57). Callum and Angela Murray took part in the 1 mile swim finishing in 43.16 and 55.50.

Serpentine Swim 2018

Ragnar White Cliffs 170 mile overnight relay run

Ten MSTC athletes took part in the Ragnar Relay, a 177 mile relay from Sittingbourne to Brighton following the coast. 7 men and 3 women, along with two mini buses, took part with each team member running 3 legs varying from about 4 to 8 miles per leg.

The team took just under 24 hours to complete the course although 4 legs had to be suspended due to severe weather conditions especially on the cliff top paths.

Torrential rain and wind made it very challenging, particularly as route finding was part of the challenge. It was a real test for everyone but was incredibly satisfying to overcome all the hurdles and win their category.

The team was comprised of Graham Bond, Steve Alden, Kevin James, Clair Hunt, Emma Alden, Mike Jaffe, Kate Eifler, Paul Richardson, Jo Fleming and Mark Jordan.

MSTC Ragnar Relay Team 2018

Weymouth Half Ironman

Colin Chambers and Charlie Langhorne braved the cold and wet conditions, with temperatures as low as 8C, to finish in 5.25.49 and 6.10.32.

Trimark Accreditation, 10m Time Trial and Iron Wales

Mid Sussex Triathlon Club is 3rd club out of 66 in SE England to achieve Trimark Club Bronze Accreditation

Last Tuesday evening Kelly Wickens from Triathlon England SE attended the club's open water swim session at Ardingly Reservoir to present the Trimark Club Bronze Accreditation Award to members.

The Bronze level is the entry point into the Triathlon England accreditation scheme. This level outlines that the club has confirmed it is a community club with a management committee, that it has a constitution, an active activity programme, and a Welfare Officer. Additionally the club coaches  must be operating within their qualification remit and the club should have an open and inclusive membership offer. The Mid Sussex Triathlon Club is the 3rd club out of 66 in the South East Region to achieve this award.

The open water swim sessions have proved to be very popular this summer with between 20 and 30 and sometimes over 40 swimmers taking part in the Tuesday evening and Saturday morning sessions. 

TrimarkAccreditation

Eastbourne Rovers Cycling 10 Mile Time Trial: East Hoathly to Boship and back on A22

The Club's 10 mile TT Best All Rounder competition took place on Saturday 8th September within the Eastbourne Rovers event on the A22. Top woman was Emma Smith in a time of 32.41 (a PB) closely followed by Clair Hunt in a time of 34.23. Top man was Lawrence Wintergold in a superb time of 22.40 followed by Phil Couch 25.19. Derek Hastings (age 70+)  rode brilliantly in 30.44.

10mTT

Ironman Wales

Meanwhile club member Doug Mac Taggart competed in the Ironman Wales event at Tenby on Sunday 9th September. Doug reported that he struggled a bit with his breathing initially in the swim, probably due to four weeks of no swimming, the last being at Maastricht in 27 degrees, and it was only 16 at Tenby. However he had a decent bike ride on the notorious hills, although not helped by pretty strong winds, and finished off with a good run to get around in 13:40:24. This event includes a marathon run which was Doug's 189th marathon. He plans to complete marathon number 190 at the Chiltern 50 next weekend and his 200th in Brighton in 2019, where he also ran his 100th marathon.

DougMacTaggartIronmanWales

River Adur 5k Swim 2018

River Adur 5k Swim 2018

On Saturday 1st September eight members competed in the 5km River Adur swim. This race starts opposite the Old Shoreham Cement works with competitors swimming with the outgoing tide and finishing at the Adur centre, next to the A259 roadbridge. A few sandbanks have to be avoided along the course.

Barry Davids finished in a very commendable first place in the fin swim in 1.06.41. Steve Mcmenamin was first club member to finish in standard swim in 1.17.30, followed by David Ricketts in 1.21.33  just ahead of Gareth Handley in 1.21.35.  Liane Davids was first female club member to finish in 1.25.28 followed closely by Merrin Forbes in 1.27.09, Kay Mcmenamin in 1.27.36 and Sharon Chaldek in 1.36.32.

MSTC TriFest 2018

In spite of very low temperatures (there was an average air temperature during the bike leg of 11C) culminating in torrential rain in the afternoon, there were 68 athletes taking part in the TriFest.

TriFest-RaceBriefing

The increasing popularity of this annual event is impressive and gratifying. It is organised by Steve Alden, together with the help of other club members, who time keep, patrol in kayaks and safety boats, put up signage, act as spotters, carry out registration and generally ensure that the day passes without a hiccough.

TriFest-Competitors

This year there were participants competing in Sprint distance, Olympic distance and Half Ironman distance groupings. The events began with a swim in Ardingly reservoir, followed by varying cycle routes through Turners Hill, Balcombe, Haywards Heath & Lindfield and finishing with the run sections around Ardingly Reservoir.

TriFest-JemThe sprint event was won by Jo Fleming in a time of 1.28.55 with Adam Bryant 2nd in 1.29.32. Jenny Blackwell was 1st woman to finish in 1.39.46 with Helens Jaconelli 2nd in 1.45.24.

The Olympic distance event was won by Ian Giles in 2.11.25 followed by Phil Couch in 2.14.56 and Andy McGregor in 2.25.30. Rachael Baker was 1st woman to finish in 2.29.20, followed by Lara Shoesmith in 2.58.11 and Sandra Westcott in 3.04.27.

The Half Ironman event was won by Matthew Chipping in 4.30.50, followed by Kate McTear in 4.34.06, Emily Iredale in 4.58.16, John McTear in 4.58.37, Anna Lawson in 5.02.36 and Steve Alden in 5.05.13.

Participants generally agreed that it was a great day; it was friendly and professional, with supportive and cheery volunteers. Thanks to everyone who took part.

The entry fees of 20 pounds each are collected and donated to the club's chosen charity Kangaroos, who organise year round clubs and trips out for children and adolescents with learning disabilities and complex medical needs. This year a very pleasing 1100 pounds was collected, which added to the 400 pounds collected in the earlier duathlon, makes a total of 1500 pounds raised so far this year.

TriFest-Helen