A total of five club members competed in the Staffordshire 70.3 Ironman on Sunday 12 June – Debbie Morris, Claire Hubner, John Titmus, Carol and Stuart Matthews. Here’s Debbie’s thoughts on the day, followed by a few reflections from Claire …
“The event was held in Staffordshire and is a triathlon that covers a total of 70.3 miles consisting of a 1.2 mile swim in Chasewater reservoir, a 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile run through Shugborough Estate. The event rules required that we arrived the day before for registration and the complicated logistics of leaving our bike and run gear in the two transition zones 10 miles apart.
It was an early start to the day to travel in a fleet of double decker buses to Chasewater and watch the first of 2,500 swimmers set off in waves from 7am. I bumped into fellow club mates Claire H and John T in their wetsuits and swim hats waiting nervously for the wave start. I felt completely out of my comfort zone as I waited on the jetty before entering the water, the first buoy looked a long way off. No turning back now and we’re off, the water was a surprisingly warm 20 degrees and clear, I soon relaxed and settled into a comfortable swim pace. I enjoyed the swim far more than I was expecting, I felt confident in the water and wasn’t put off by the jostling of other swimmers, as I had been in previous races. Swim time 43 minutes.
Next it’s a run into T1 and a quick change out of the wetsuit and on with the bike gear. The cycle route is on closed roads through the Staffordshire countryside. The first section was on narrow twisty roads, and the rain had made them slippery, the sight of the ambulance passing made me a little cautious. The roads become wider and flatter and I was able to get down on the aerobars and enjoy the speed without the worry of traffic. The rain continued for the entire ride but the many marshals around the course gave fantastic support. By mile 40, my feet and hands were feeling cold, so cold that I struggled to change gear for the final hill in the beautiful Cannock Chase. Bike time 3:30
T2 was a welcome sight, I racked the bike and changed from bike shoes to trainers and set off on the 3 laps that made up the half marathon. Having run many half marathons, this was the one part of the event that hadn’t worried me, how wrong, I’d underestimated how much the hard cycle would take out of my legs. The first lap went well and I overtook many other runners who looked to be struggling, I then realised from the coloured lap bands on their arms that they were on laps 2 and 3. By lap 2 I too was struggling, my pace slowed and I gave in and walked up hills. I was given a huge boost each time I ran through the village of Little Haywood, the locals were out in force having barbecues in their front gardens, and partying on the roadside outside the pub. One memorable moment was a family blasting out the Chariots of Fire music from their car and dancing on their driveway. It was a great feeling to finally be given my final lap band and knowing I was on the home straight towards the red carpet!
Finishing an Ironman event race is something special, as you approach the finishing chute, the announcer calls out your name and gives you a high five, and it’s then your moment to soak up the atmosphere, start the celebrations and cross the line smiling. Run time 1:58
Transition times: T1 swim to bike 7:21, T2 bike to run 7:43 (had to wait for the portaloo!)
Total time: 6:27. 21st in age group, 1275 overall.
Despite the rain, it was an amazing event and I would love to do another. A full ironman is double the distance of a 70.3 and there is no way that I will ever do one of those, please remind me of this if you ever hear me in the future mention that I’m considering entering one!”