Motivation supporter, Rupert Garton, tells us about his experience of the gruelling Ironman UK challenge – a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle and a 26.2 mile run!
3am. Help! Vaseline, lycra, more vaseline, more lycra, more vaseline, wetsuit. You get the picture. Breakfast (I’m the only one wearing my wetsuit = newboy). 12 bowls of porridge, 11 pieces of toast, 10 croissants, 9 rashers of bacon, …… 2 fried eggs and yoghurt with a cherry on the top. I think I’m going to sink. 4am: dark, windy, drizzling. Board double decker bus to swim venue with annoyingly chirpy athletes very obviously more prepared than me. Take 4x nurofen and 4x ibuprofen-ultra to numb the wrist (long story but had my wrist in a brace having sprained/fractured it 5 days before). 4.30am, arrive at lake. Dark, raining and rather wishing I had not put my wetsuit on as I really need a pee. Oh to still be tucked up in bed.
The Swim (2.5 miles, 1 hr 20 mins)
5.45am, enter water. Wet, weedy, windy and wavy. 6.00am, horn goes with a boiling mix of thrashing limbs, fists and feet as 1800 over-carbo-hydrated neoprene clad creatures head for the start line. Half swim, half drown for about an hour, clawing, kicking, coughing and spluttering my way round. Finally get some open water for the last 20 mins and find some sort of rhythm, as the sun rises and I realise I might just complete this part of the course, despite the cramp and queasiness brought on by 12 bowls of porridge. I think I about #900/1800 as I clamber out of the water.
The Cycle (112 miles, 6 hrs 10 mins)
Very glad to be on dry land. Set off at a leisurely, sensible pace. Soon ignore the fact that there are another 10 hrs to go, and start overtaking lots of people with funny shaped helmets, very expensive bikes, shaved legs and mostly called Martin. Keep this up for 6 fairly uneventful hours and arrive at the run changeover a little out of puff. I think I am #400/1800. Quite chuffed. Until it dawns on me that I have just overtaken 499 Martin’s who were rather sensibly pacing themselves…
The Run (26.2 miles, 4hrs 39 mins)
My race number is 666. So I had thought it only right to tackle my superstitions head on and dress as the Devil. Having taken several valuable minutes of my transition, to blow up my trident, don my horns, strap on my wings and attach my tail, I start to realise that Martin & Co. take this event rather more seriously than me, and that I am the only competitor out of nearly 2000 in the whole event in fancy dress.
My legs feel like they are filled with concrete, so I half hobble, half wobble on my way and fully expect things will loosen up in a few minutes. They don’t and my effing trident already starts to feel like a rather unwieldy and unnecessary iritant. With only another 24 miles to go, running for even a few hundred metres at a time is proving to be a serious endeavour and I am passed by several Martin’s, who clearly think I look ridiculous and obviously feel a bit sorry for me. I pray that with my new disguise they don’t remember me whizzing past them on the bike. This could take a very long time.
It would be almost as tedious for you as the next four hours were for me, if I were to explain in any more detail how things unfolded. It absolutely poured with rain all afternoon, and the miles dragged rather slowly by. There were some high points. The crowd were incredible, and the ‘Cheeky Devil’ got huge support and masses of encouragement – I was never allowed to break into a walk for long before being cheered along back into an awkward trot.
The Finish (12 hrs 39 mins)
Eventually, the finish appeared through the rain and drizzle and I was very glad to have finally done it, slightly ahead of schedule. A very bedraggled and sorry looking devil lurched over the lineI in 12 hrs and 39 mins about #590/1800. I finished about a third of the way through the field, despite a rather embarrassing lack of race/nutrition planning, structure and strategy, about which I am now that little bit wiser. Not that it really matters as I won’t be doing it again (!)… but if you would like some tips for next year, entries are now open….
A very big thank you (I’m 90% of the way there)
I have been overwhelmed by the incredibly generous sponsorship and I am very nearly at my target of £4,000. This is a huge amount of money that will make a very real difference.
£140 actually manufactures and delivers a specialist wheelchair (and training) to a person in the developing world, who would otherwise be immobile and unable to participate meaningfully in society. With the money raised nearly 30 people will have their quality of life fundamentally and permanently changed.
What a difference a few hours in the water, on the road and pounding the streets can make.