Ironman (Wimbleball) 70.3
15th June

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Official Results

  1.9K Swim 90k Bike 21.1K Run Total  
Gill Fullen 34.25 3.04.26 1.37.40 5.22.53 6th lady, 1st in Age Category
Geoff Cooper 32.50 3.07.32 2.00.27 5.47.56  
Alastair Fadden 35.18 3.24.28 1.48.59 5.56.50  
Tony Parello 35.14 3.18.18 1.54.08 5.57.34  
Ian Joyce 42.10 3.16.10 2.02.58 6.13.22  
Richard Piron 39.53 3.26.41 2.01.13 6.17.59 3rd in Age Category
Nora Haggart 41.29 3.35.49 1.55.05 6.21.21 2nd in Age Category
Simon Fisher 37.23 3.41.14 1.56.15 6.25.52  
Jason Lee 36.38 3.35.28 2.05.26 6.26.26  
Alison Cooper 44.40 3.39.40 2.05.23 6.39.03 2nd in Age Category
Keith Gray 38.58 3.42.36 2.28.45 7.01.38  
Sean McGilligan 39.50 3.50.19 2.19.23 7.05.13  
Juliet Smith 43.08 4.01.29 2.17.39 7.13.51  
Steve Crane 49.03 3.51.43 2.22.25 7.22.10  
Eva Kovacs 44.53 4.04.47 2.31.15 7.32.19  
Steve Gaunt 43.46 4.07.36 2.38.46 7.47.09  
Ironkids Race          
Billy Fadden - - - - Winner
Team Award          
Bedford Harriers Simon North Justin Burrell Marianne Williamson    
  29.19 2.51.03 1.39.42 5.04.10 1st Team

What a great weekend of beautiful sunny skies and fantastic racing. 

19 intrepid Harriers plus family/support crew ventured down to Wimbleball Lake on Exmoor for the Ironman UK 70.3 triathlon. A decent contingent of us took advantage of the incredible summer heat and camped on-site in the beautiul grounds of the lake.

Talk beforehand focused on the type of bike to ride over this extremely hilly course, the type of trainers to use for the varied terrain of the run course, but for once the temperature of the lake was not a cause for complaint at a balmy 17 to 18 degrees.

The 1.9k swim was a one loop triangle, which on the day was calm and without too much drag in any particular direction and most found relatively straightforward. There was even plenty of room at the start to spread out and avoid the traditional swim-scrum, as the race started in two waves with 15 minutes between them. 

Unusually for me I managed to mess up big time in transition. Grabbing my bike bag from the racks, I ran to the change area and wrestled my mega clingy wetsuit to the ground, tipping the contents of the bike bag onto the floor, only to see an unfamiliar helmet and kit that was obviously not mine. Panic! I stuffed everything back in, spent some frustrating seconds finding the right place to re-rack the wrong bag, then more seconds locating my correct bag and checking its contents, before I could finally don my helmet, stuff my wetsuit into the bag and run out to find my bike. My bike shoes were on my bike, which I usually find really speedy, but today the gods of transition were out to make my life difficult and as I went to mount the elastic bands broke, sending my shoe, attached to the pedal crashing into the floor and bringing me to a dead halt. Several attempts later to get on uphill with upside down shoes didn't improve my mood much but I did eventually get on and get going. Phew.

The 2-lap, 54 mile bike course starts with a seriously long climb shortly after transition, guaranteed to tempt you to push too hard right at the start and to get the heart rate well up. After this there's a shorter, slightly steeper climb up on to a more major road, which rolls through the countryside and was a fast section of the course, with only minimal winds where there can often be fairly severe headwinds to battle against. Another more rolling section took us to the 'no overtaking' technical descent, a rule which is pretty universally ignored, but definitely led to some extreme burning rubber and my lack of properly working front brakes did cause me a couple of hairy moments here. Then we get to the proper hills, with riders zig-zagging, falling off, getting off to push and general hilarity. As I was in the first wave and generally with decent cyclists, I have to say I missed most of the entertainment, but I'm certain the others will have witnessed plenty, (and my even have contributed to it). Following several more long climbs you arrive at the only pont on the bike course with any real spectator support, at the top of a hill and next to a water station. This is a welcome relief as it signifies the end of big climbs (on that lap) and a faster, but still hilly section towards the end of the lap. Two laps of this the, before the final thrilling descent to the lake and last sharp climb up to transition.

I had a great ride on the bike, as when we all settled down I found myself playing cat and mouse with about 6 other cyclists, all intent on pushing the course hard and getting the most out of it. One lady near me was also very strong and kept me motivated to push on, especially up the hills, where she was a little weaker, but she was always mega speedy on the more time-trial sections. Even in a non-drafting race it does help to have people cycling around you, so you stay in front of some, but still have rabbits to chase down. Anyway, I found myself stupidly sprinting up the final hill to beat a couple of the guys to transition, not really thinking about the effect that might have on my run legs. I fuelled the bike ride on my home made energy bars and think I may finally have found something that works for me whilst racing!

Transition this time was mercifully easy, with someone locating my bike rack for me, help with getting out run kit and putting bike equipment back in the bag. And we're off. Or possibly not. At this point I began to realise what I had done to my legs on the bike and they didn't like it. Shuffling was more the name of the game as I started my first lap knowing that it had been some months since I'd run anything like this distance at any pace. The hills didn't help and by now the sun had really come out to make the feed stations every 1.5miles an absolute necessity. Red Bull were sponsoring the event, so there was even Red Bull and water on the course, which I chose to avoid, under the rule of never doing anything new in a race, despite being tempted by the caffeine.

It was great to see other Harriers on the out and back sections of the run course. I was worried that Marianne seemed to be about a minute behind a really fast looking relay chap, but did seem to be catching him. In fact it turned out she was a whole lap ahead of him! Simon Fisher was running well, but had been held up by a tricky flat tyre on the bike course. Tony P was working hard and I was pleased to spot Nora looking strong too. I was under strict instructions not to finish my run before Steve Crane was off his bike; tick! 

The last half lap I picked up the pace a bit, since I was afraid that a very fit looking lady was slowly closing in on me. I finished strongly and coming over the finish line to hear the commentator telling me I had finished as 6th lady was amazing, especially since the lady I had stayed ahead of was a serious pro. It was great to see Eimar Mullen at the finish, having come in half an hour ahead to win the ladies race yet again. My day was made when the relay team told me the great news of their win. Further Harriers placings were discovered later as the results came out throughout the afternoon.

At the awards ceremony in the afternoon, the relay team squashed triumphantly onto the top step of the podium to receive their winning trophy for Bedford Harriers and start a stream of Harriers going up to the podium, so much so that the commentator announced to much appreciation, that "Bedford Harriers seems to be a running club with a triathlon problem". How true and a successful one at that! 

A huge well done to all the Harriers who made the long trip down to Exmoor and conquered the mega tough course, but thank you also to all the long-suffering family/ supporters who were as always unfailingly positive and hugely supportive throughout the weekend.