I entered this event as I wanted a change from doing Wimbleball
again, so this was going to be a whole new experience. I drove down
to the New Forest in Hampshire on Saturday and had no problems
until I got within a few miles of the race headquarters when my sat
nav took me down a very narrow track and I mean narrow!!!
Eventually I found my way back onto the correct road through the
National Park avoiding the ponies and horses and into the
grounds of Avon Tyrrell House Activity Centre, which was where the
event was taking place.
Luckily the weather was fine as I had to park my van in the
middle of the field between the lake and the house. Many
vehicles and tents were already there as the different
events had started on the Friday with a Triple Enduroman [Iron
distance] and 200 mile run.
Saturday's events were a Double and a 100 mile run. Sunday's
programme was a Single, the Half and a 50 mile run!!
A real festival of endurance which was making me feel quite
inferior as I was only doing the Half!!! As I am too
old now to camp I had booked a room in the "House", so I
booked in and then had a walk around to soak up the atmosphere.
Not to bore you too much I'll try and explain the layout of the
area. The "House" sits at the top of a hill surrounded by woodland
and slopes on one side down through the parking field
to the lake approximately 500m away. The other side of the
"House" is the "roundabout" which is the start and finish of all
the events. Also it is the lap counting point and it
is where the support crews congregate, so it is a hub of
activity as there is always someone coming through completing
either a lap or finishing and of course starting, just amazing
support for everyone taking part.
There were some world class endurance athletes taking part
so the place was buzzing! Later that evening I registered, I was
going to be in Wave 1 starting at 08.30hrs and my race number was
148. It was then time for dinner, which was pretty good and plenty
of it! No sooner had I finished dinner and it was time for the race
briefing which was very informative.
I racked my bike in the allotted tennis court adjacent to
the "roundabout" . Next it was time to get my kit
sorted ready for the morning. Bedtime at last but could I sleep!!!
Within two hours I was wide awake thinking about tomorrows
event!! The rest of the night went the same way a couple of hours
sleep then awake!!! After a fitful night I got up at 05.00hrs as I
had to go for the bike/helmet check and I passed that with flying
colours!!!! Filled up my water bottles next and laid out my
kit in the change tent which was optional or you could put
it by your bike. I chose the tent option as there was more
room to change etc. and as I knew I wasn't going to win there would
be no rush at T1 !!!!
I stood at the roundabout for awhile and just watched and soaked
up the vibes. I got chatting to some guy and he told me I could
leave my running shoes by his support crew tent which he said would
save me a little time at T2. as we had been told at the briefing
that as you completed your bike leg someone would take your bike
from you and rack it so if you wanted you could leave your run
shoes somewhere near the "roundabout". Great I thought every second
counts!! But I was to regret this move later!!!
Next was breakfast, bloody hell no porridge!!! Oh well
cornflakes would do and by now the nerves were kicking in so I
wasn't that hungry!! Soon it was time to put on the penguin suit
and waddle down to the lake!!! We had been told to take an old pair
of trainers and leave by the swim exit as there were some stoney
sections to overcome enroute to T1. The water temperature was not
bad so I got in and had a little paddle around to ease the
It was 08.30 hrs and we were off! The swim was
7 laps anticlockwise round the small lake and after
each lap you sort of pulled into a layby and called out your
number! Like playing bingo!!! I have never swam laps before in a
race so that seemed a little weird but at least I didn't get giddy
going round!!! The next thing I know it was my last lap and I was
approaching the exit ramp and I wasn't the last either as there
were two others still in the water!! No they weren't ducks they
were competitors!!!! Makes a change not to be last out the water I
thought!!![ there was only 24 in my wave!!] and there was only a
total of 48 competing in the Half.
Now it was a 500m run up the hill through the middle of the
car park field to T1 pulling my wet suit down to my waist as
I ran, well jogged!!! As the weather was looking good I had already
decided to just wear my tri suit for the bike and run. So it was
off with the wet suit, on with the bike shoes, a few metres jog to
the bike rack and another little walk up a few steps and it was
onto the "roundabout" for the start of the 5 bike laps. The
course was undulating and at times went through the New Forest
National Park, that was strange taking part in a triathlon and
having to avoid horses, ponies and cows in the road!!! They look at
you like they own the place!!!! At least I didn't hit one!!
There was a bit of a drag up Braggers Lane towards the end of
each lap before re-entering the grounds of Avon Tyrrell House, then
it levelled out before a very short fast descent to the
"roundabout". Call out your number as you went over the timing mat
and it was back out on the next lap. No mishaps on the bike and
soon it was the end of the last lap and back onto the "roundabout"
As I dismounted I was told I had to rack my own bike back on the
tennis court!!! So much for my hidden shoes for a fast getaway!! Of
course I had already taken my feet out of my bike shoes before
dismounting so I had to jog to the bike rack across tarmac and
stoney ground and then back again to get my running shoes on!!! The
plans of mice and men eh!!! At least I remembered to rub the grit
off the bottom of my socks before setting off on the first of 12
The first two laps I felt pretty good and was running fairly
strong for me! The course was all off road, very technical
with tree roots [which had been marked with orange paint] and
there were two spots where it was quite muddy and wet. It was a
tough run route and each lap got harder, the sun got
hotter and I got slower. As you entered the "roundabout" at
the end of each lap you called out your race number as you went
over the timing mat and the crowds were cheering and clapping which
was a great feeling and certainly helped me push through the
After six laps I had that feeling, you know what it's like, this
is bloody hard and am I going to finish!! But you just dig in deep
and carry on. At the end of the ninth lap I knew I had got it
cracked as there were only two normal laps to do then the last
lap you do a U turn over the timing mat and run the last
lap in reverse so that everyone watching and racing knows you are
about to finish your challenge. Oh my god what a fantastic feeling
as you run round and the crowds cheer and clap and those
runners going in the opposite direction high five you and
clap!! I had a few lumps in my throat! Then it was up the last hill
and down onto the by now infamous "roundabout" to the cheering
crowds and the FINISH!!
Bloody hell that was TOUGH!! Will I do it again? Maybe, might
even try the SINGLE!! What am I saying!!!!
swim 1.3 miles 51mins 9 secs a PB for
me! 22nd out of 24
5 mins no PB
miles 3hrs 31mins 31 secs
another PB 15th out of 24
miles 2hrs 34 mins 31
secs 16th out 24
overall time : 7hrs 5 mins 11 secs a fabulous
PB for me!!
overall position in Wave1 14th out of 24
overall position out Wave1 and Wave 2
33rd out of 47
the next youngest was 52yrs old 16 yrs younger than me!!!
I know it's been a long race report and probably boring but I
just wanted to give everyone a feeling for the atmosphere and the
race setup. Also I was so pleased with my overall time that I just
wanted to share it with you all. Thank you all for your