Ironman UK 2014 Race report – by John Bellamy

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Ironman UK 2014 was to be my 4th Ironman distance triathlon. In 2013 I hadn’t raced much as I had a knee injury resulting in surgery. My recovery was slow and although I could cycle with little problems my running did suffer. I used my spare time to concentrate on my swimming technique and during my open water training I was aiming for a target time of around an hour, my cycling had always been my strongest discipline it was the running that had me worried. I wasn’t sure if I would even be able to run that distance.

The day of the race….Those who know me will be aware that I’d rather be 5 hours early than 5 minutes late, so there I was arriving at Pennington flash before transition had even opened! The weather was perfect, hardly any wind and warm enough for the 6am start.

The swim…I decided to get into the water early and make my way over to the right hand buoy where I believed to be less carnage albeit a short distance further overall.

The start wasn’t as bad as had experienced before, this was due to the first turn being along way down the lake and the swimmers had chance to spread out giving me clear water. The turn was a little scrappy but soon cleared again. The swim is a 2 lapper with an Australian exit ie. where you exit the lake and then back in again, my time for the first lap was about 29mins, so I was bang on target. In for the second lap which went without drama. Upon my exit I saw my wife Victoria and my support crew, Vic informed me that I had done 1hr 3min, so I was pleased with that as it put me 13th in age group (45-49).

The bike…My bike leg was to be gauged on power, my target was to be approximately 225watts, albeit I was aware that it would increase when climbing. In the past I haven’t been as disciplined as I should have been so this time I was determined not to go too hard. I had discussed my nutrition plan with my coach Chris Standidge and it was decided to have a Torq gel alternating with an energy bar every 30 mins plus a bottle of Torq energy drink per hour.

The bike course was again 2 laps of a hilly circuit. The road surface is very poor with potholes and rough roads a common sight. I’m not exactly built for climbing on the bike but make up for it on the flat. My estimated time was to be around 6hrs – 6hrs 15mins, I finished in 5hrs 55min so I had time in the bag. Average power 235watts. (16th in age group overall top 10 for bike alone)

The run…As in my biking I had previously got my run nutrition all wrong. I hadn’t been having enough, so with the advice from Chris it was decided that I had a gel approximately every 20mins with a good drink at every feed station. I was concerned that I may suffer with stomach issues. My initial aim was to finish the run in under the 4hr mark, however I wasn’t aware that the course wasn’t as flat as I first thought.  I plodded on and before I knew I was halfway, the support was amazing along the whole route, all of the family were there which made it even better. I started to struggle on the last lap with about 5miles remaining, this is where the run/walk phase came in.

I eventually finished the marathon in 4hrs 16mins, a little over my estimated time but to honest after my knee operation I was more than happy. My overall time was 11hrs 23mins, (18th in my age group).  This was my best result in an Ironman event to date and I can only thank my wife Victoria for putting up with me and Chris for all the help and support.

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