IM UK 2016 race report
This is more of a journey than a race report really, from deciding to commit to the race until the finish line. It’s a bit long so grab a coffee, a beer or whatever, you may need it to stay awake. I do apologise……….
Watching my younger brother Kev in the inaugural Brigg Sprint Tri ……. An Irish/Welsh karateka from Norfolk on a Thursday evening swim at Ancholme Leisure Centre …. and here we are on the start line in Bolton, Thunderstruck by AC/DC blasting out as we enter the water.
Ciaran holds me responsible for his entry to IMUK as I hold him responsible for mine.
A few sprints and standards, a couple of middle distances, ‘let’s have a go at a full’ (as Ciaran said to me or I said to him depending on your point of view). ‘Oh yes, let’s do it’. After some consideration we decided that it should be an IRONMAN (just in case it was the only one). I’d read Ric Longcake’s, Mike Catley’s and Andy Croft’s excellent race reports on Bolton 2014. I’d chatted with Andy at Monday track sessions about his experiences at Bolton and I’d seen Mike at a few Thursday swim sessions, he’d loved it, that’ll do for me. I knew the course was a tough one but eager to save a bit of cash on travel, CP and I decided that we’d enter IM UK. All I needed now was authorisation from the boss, in the end I entered on the day entries opened and I picked an appropriate moment to drop the whole idea into a conversation with Rachel a few days later, whilst not being received with a great deal of enthusiasm I got the OK.
Ciaran and I had entered the Sundowner Middle distance which we raced a few weeks after we’d entered IM UK. Sundowner was Ciaran’s first half and I worried that it could demoralise him if he had a bad race, I should’ve known better, Ciaran’s not the kind of man to let it affect him, good race or bad and he performed very well in the end with an excellent swim, a solid bike and he toughed it out on the run. I knew he’d enjoyed his swim, as I came in to T1 he was stood next to his bike, grinning like a neoprene clad Cheshire cat. As I left transition I reminded him we were in a race, he was still stood next to his bike – turns out he was having a super long pee in his wetsuit. My previous middle distance had been the Outlaw Half, the run portion of which had been awful and after which, I’d said ‘that’s that for that distance’ but the Sundowner had been a really great race and boosted my confidence.
I did the BST in 2015 and whilst waiting for the swim start, I chatted to Ric Longcake about IM UK, it was the best day of his life (excepting family events – he didn’t actually say that but I’m sure he meant to)…. During the 5k run out to Cadney that day, I noticed a pain in my heel. It cleared soon enough, but Monday running sessions revealed there was still a problem, not bad enough to stop anything, but a bit of a worry. The heel got worse in the following weeks, eventually I went to the quacks and had plantar fasciitis diagnosed. I tried all the usual remedies the best of which was the frozen golf ball. The doctor offered a steroidal injection into the heel but I wasn’t keen on this idea, I just carried on running.
In November I went with Ric, Mike, Andy and fellow IM virgins Paddy, Lou and Dean to reccy the bike course at Bolton. I knew Andy had had a tough time on the bike course in 2014 and he attacked it like a man with something to prove, disappearing up Sheep House lane. I managed to stay with Mike for a bit but I finished feeling leggy and distinctly worried. We’d done 1 loop of 2 and I wouldn’t have fancied a second. It was a great day out though, the banter between Mike, Ric and Andy was hilarious.
Through the winter runs the heel became worse and in January I decided to stop running. I took advice from as many people as possible on the problem and didn’t run for 2 months. I started again in March and it felt much better…. but something was still not quite right, sure enough the pain came back eventually. I didn’t have enough time to continue resting so it became a management thing which wasn’t so bad.
Training rides with Ciaran had continued over the winter and into the spring, Saturdays and Sundays with the usual sprinkling of PRBs (post ride rollockings ;-)), Ciarans favourite of which involves the front door opening as my front wheel hit the drive way …. ‘what ******* time do you call this?’. Ciaran was going to get a water refill before the last 15 miles back home however when I looked over my shoulder all I saw was his back wheel disappearing around the corner – can’t blame him, a woman scorned and all that.
I’d done some good long distance rides including a couple of flat 150’s and as IM got nearer I ran the North Lincs Half in 1:37 which I was pleased with, more importantly the heel wasn’t too bad. Forays into the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales helped my climbing confidence and I was able to maintain my 12st fighting weight despite the massive amounts of food I seemed to be eating, including the Humber Bridge dirty burger stop we had after we’d had a shoeing from Jonno and Leigh Rusling one Sunday morning. If the hot dog I had was dirty, the burger Ciaran took down in about 30 seconds was filthy.
It’s a shame swimming makes up such a relatively small part of the IM distance, not being able to run I’d increased my swim training and was now much quicker in the water. Time swimming helped but the biggest gains came from listening to and really trying to act on the corrective actions and drills suggested by the coaches during the Sunday swim sessions at the Pods and Tuesday sessions at ALC. Whilst not individually coached sessions – there are simply too many people for that – ask the coaches and they are more than happy to offer advice. Pete and Jeff Chappill, Ollie and Jacquie Saxon and Steve Clark really helped me. Dan Ellis had let me piggy back on some of his sessions at ALC and these had helped my aerobic swimming fitness, Dan’s an awesome swimmer and I tried to take on board any advice he gave me.
Ciaran and I had vowed to make the most of the open water swimming season and we went to Barton as soon as the Lincsquad sessions opened. Nothing breeds confidence like practice in open water, that said, the first few weeks at Barton, when the water was 9 degrees, were purgatory. Instant brain freeze and numb hands and feet were par for the course. It was during those early sessions I realised just what a wonderful experience peeing in your wetsuit can be. Ciaran, being a lean machine, had me worried on a couple of occasions. he’d shivered for 2 hours after the swim. ‘not enough body fat’ I’d remind him, how can you be that lean when you eat like he does ? It was following the second of these shiverfests Ciaran bought as many neoprene things as he could find
As the water temperature increased the sessions become a joy, regularly swimming 2 miles in less than an hour, the swim part of the IM really didn’t hold much fear. In June Rachel, Ciaran and I swam the Great North Swim at Windermere, it was a brilliant weekend, one I’d thoroughly recommend, distances range from 1/2 mile to 10k. The day before our swim, whilst sat having a coffee in Ambleside, Rob, Mrs and Labrador Marshall passed and stopped for a chat, back in the day Rach used to swim with Rob and Malc Marshall. It was great to see Rob, as most of you know, Rob is an amazing swimmer and he completed the 10K in an incredible 2:41 .
Later that month we travelled up to Bolton where we met up with Ciaran’s friend Bruce (he’s doing IM Gothenburg / done IM Gothenburg depending on how long it takes me to write this), to ride the bike course. We did 2 loops from the Macron (100 miles) and I felt much better about the course. I rode it on my TT and the 39 – 26 smallest gear wasn’t a problem. We’d had a good day and had chatted to lots of people on the course, you can imagine how many cyclists were out on the course 4 weeks out from the race. We’d spent a lot of the ride with a local lad who’d joined us, Ian Hodson was a really nice guy who was obviously really strong on the bike but was happy to ride at our pace. He was really funny, I particularly enjoyed the moment he sprinted up the last bit of Sheep House lane to catch a BMW who’d passed unnecessarily closely whilst gesticulating out the window, Ian had a very reasonable chat with the driver, explaining to him the error of his ways, before telling him, in a wonderful Lancashire accent, he was a ‘knob ‘ed’.
Post reccy with Bruce and CP at the Macron
Swim sorted, bike sorted, shame about that run at the end, I’d done the bare minimum run training, never mind nothing I could do about it now.
Having bored you for so long with the preamble and, if you’re still reading, I really ought to actually get on to the race weekend……….
I picked Ciaran up from his school at 3.30 on Friday, it was nice to see all his colleagues wish him well. As we set off down the Kingsway, a quick glance and nervous smile from CP and I had the feeling that we were starting this thing for real. I hate these moments as you leave town for a race, what have I forgotten?, I had a comprehensive checklist I’d followed so I knew I was covered. I hadn’t forgotten anything, but you can’t help worrying.
Ciaran has friends in Bolton, which is handy, and they were going to put us up for the weekend. No dramas on the way over, the bikes stayed on the roof, unlike my brother in laws colleagues son who’d pulled in to a McDonalds on the way up to Bolton from Norwich and hadn’t seen the yellow height restriction frame, totalling his tt bike (also known as ‘doing a Julie’ – sorry Julie !!).
We arrived at Hill Cot road (or Odd Cock road as the sat nav called it) at around 7:30 and were greeted with large amounts of food, things were looking good !!. Karen and Rob were the consummate hosts, we were told to treat the place like our own, they gave us a key and without accepting any money for the expense they’d incurred, gave us a huge choice of excellent food. To add to this, they were engaging and genuinely interested in our race on Sunday. IM is a massive thing in Bolton and you can’t help but be involved to some extent if you live there. Such was the conversation that our plans for early nights never materialised and I can’t remember the last time I didn’t see a TV on for 3 days.
On Saturday we went to the Macron to register which was very straight forward, the volunteers were very helpful and could answer all our questions.
Once we had our packs, we sorted our bikes and helmets with stickers and prepped our T2 bags which we hung on pegs in the transition tent. We checked our bike positions in T2 … 4th row from the end 10 bikes in ….and went to spend a wad on IM gear in the expo (the M dot M stands for money, or mug, both ceramic and human).
Driving down to Pennington Flash gave CP a chance to see the 1st bit of the bike course, I’d ridden it in November but he hadn’t. We got to the Flash at around 10 and it wasn’t too busy but was very muddy. We parked up, got our bikes ready and went to transition to rack them. Having hung our bags in T1 we wandered down to the swim start to check out the course, it looked good, well buoyed, yellow buoys going out and orange coming back.
As we left the Flash, the traffic coming in was horrendous, we’d obviously timed things right, bonus. We stopped at Sainsbury’s near the Flash for a bite to eat and to get thank you gifts for our hosts. As we left, a familiar face walked past, ‘I’m sure that’s Fraser Cartmell’ I said to CP, ‘let’s get a photo!’. We agreed that if we approached him carrying wine, chocolates and flowers he might be a bit worried so we dumped our gifts in the car and legged it back to the entrance just as he was leaving. Unsure of which door he was going to use Ciaran yelled ‘Horns of the Buffalo’ and we moved into a pincer to trap our unsuspecting prey. ‘I’ll shout ‘Fraser’’, if he looks round it’s got to be him, it’s a fairly unusual name’. I did and he did, ‘Can we a get a photo Fraser?’ ‘Of course’ he said. What a lovely bloke, he genuinely seemed interested in our first IM distance race and offered some good advice about the course. We asked him about his race and wished him the all the best. If you haven’t heard of Fraser, he’s a pro and former winner of IM UK, he was second last year. Unfortunately 2016 wasn’t to be his year, he’d be disappointed he only finished 9th , I’d consider 2009th a bit disappointing, but I’d take a finish.
The last stop of the day was the race briefing back at the Macron, as we walked into the stadium we bumped in to Lou and Paddy and joined them at a table for the briefing, it was great to see them (and Dean on the way out). I knew Paddy and Lou had done an incredible amount of training and I knew they’d have a great race. Dean doesn’t Strava so I didn’t know exactly how much he’d done but I know he’s a double hard you know what and I fully expected him to have an incredible race. Paul Kaye (the voice of Ironman Europe) was the MC for the briefing which was informative and amusing.
Back to base for more food and an early (late) night. The morning of most races I usually find myself turning the alarm off before it sounds, but on this occasion the alarm shocked me in to the land of the living at 3.15. Porridge, a bagel and coffee and we were on our way to the Macron. The shuttle bus took us from the Macron to the Flash (there’s a free bus back from the finish to the stadium), we arrived at 4.40. Bottles and food on the bike and we joined the queue for the kharzi. CP said ‘Is that Ian?’ and sure enough in front of us in the queue was Ian Hodson from the reccy a few weeks earlier. A quick chat and he was in a trap, you can’t miss your slot. As Ian went for his ablutions, I felt a tap on my shoulder and looked around, ‘are you from Lincolnshire?’ (I had my Lincsquad hoody on) ‘Yes’ I said, ‘Fleet Moss?’ he said …’, well who’d have thunk. During my last ride in the Dales I’d stopped to help an NYP tri guy look for his Garmin in the undergrowth after it had pinged off on the descent of Fleet Moss and here we were next to each other in the IM UK toilet queue.
As we dropped off our Street wear and special needs bags (I stuffed a load of food and a spare tube in that bag just in case – didn’t stop for it in the end) we bumped into the Lincsquad chair. We chatted with Nicky and she seemed really confident, after her experience at the Outlaw I hoped things would go for well for her. Strava showed she’d done the training and when Steve Clark is your coach you know you’re on a winner. We went to find a place in the self seeding pens as Nicky moved a little further back.
CP and I positioned ourselves near the 1:10 section of the rolling start then bottled it and moved back a bit where we saw Dean, Lou and Paddy, I felt much better, we’re all of a similar standard. The pro’s started, then as AC/DC blared out on the PA, the masses entered the water. It was awesome, I’m not a metal head but the music seemed to fit perfectly. The rolling swim start worked brilliantly, no biff and minimal contact, I settled into a rhythm, nice and easy it was going to be a long day. A bit of contact at the turn buoys but it was minimal. I had held a pee in before the start but I’ve never been able to go whilst swimming and, since there was no time in the water before we were racing, I couldn’t go – I was desperate by the end of the first lap. As I exited the water I heard Paul Kaye announce that the first pro Harry Wiltshire was just exiting the water having finished the swim, I’d just managed to avoid being lapped on the swim, cool. The crowds were fantastic at the swim, I got goose pimples during the Australian exit and not because it was cold. The second lap went just as well as the first, picking up feet here and there for a draft and I finally managed a ‘swiss’, 2 in fact, the key seems to be not kicking . With one more buoy before the finish, my right calf cramped, holy cow, it stopped me in my tracks. A few moments later I was able to continue, not a good sign but I forgot it straight away, probably the cold water…. swim 1:12
As I ran to the T1 tent I could feel the mud between my toes, the sort of thing my wife would pay good money for, the tent was a bit of a steam room, another thing Rachel would pay good money for. I took my time sorting myself out, too long really but I didn’t feel like rushing, it was all part of the experience. Some people were going mental, thrashing around falling over in the mud, sod that. 11 mins in T1, dry my hair, have a cup of tea and a sandwich…… pick the bike up and carry it through the mud, swim done and onto the bike.
I knew the bike course pretty well and it knew not to go out too fast too early. It’s a bit a drag all the way up to the New Chorley Road, about 11 miles, and whilst the legs didn’t feel great, they weren’t bad. 3 miles later you get you first experience of Babylon Lane or COLT (City of Lancaster Tri) alley as it’s known. Wow, I’d read about it but it was incredible, enough room for one rider to pass through, deafening crowd noise and music.
From here it’s over the reservoir and left on to Horrobin Lane, where the support is also fantastic. The first time up Sheep House Lane was fine, the wind was up a bit but the temp was around 16, perfect, the weather was being kind to us. I thought of the terrible conditions Garry Horner had to deal with last year.
I tapped it out staying in the saddle on the steep top section. A fast descent with a couple of technical sections, drops you down to Belmont to be greeted by more crowds cheering you on. After a short, sharpish climb out of Belmont and a drag past the Belmont reservoir there’s a great, fast, long descent to Abbey. It was here I first heard the ‘ting,ting,ting’ sound of my gas canisters tapping together, one had worked loose, I stopped and retightened it. 15 miles and 2 more stops later I unscrewed the damn thing and put it in my pocket.
The next section of the bike course is rolling with some flattish quick sections but these seemed to be into the wind. The course heads back south and eventually east again. You know what’s coming and Hunters Hill is on your mind from about 10 miles out. When I reached it I was again bowled over by the crowds, gazebos and music blasting out, it was wall of noise. ‘Go on Martin, you’re killing it’, ‘Nice cadence Martin’.
I heard ‘Go on Lincsquad, Go on Martin’ up ahead, everyone else calls your name after you’ve passed, your race belt and bib are at the back for the bike. I wasn’t sure who it was and I made a mental note to keep my eye on the crowd at that point the next time round on Hunters Hill. A short flat section before the final climb to the very top where Invictus Tri were massed and it was on to a nice downhill section. I’d been to-ing and fro-ing with the same riders for most of the lap, including a dude in denim shorts!, we’d all adhered to the drafting rules pretty well but on a couple of occasions what looked like a team time trial came steaming past 5 or 6 strong.
I drank 1.5 litres of water with isostar on the first loop and refilled at the second feed station on the course. I’d been eating flapjack, salted boiled potatoes and small squares of soreen throughout the first lap as well as taking gels. Pete Chappill had been helping me with nutrition (as part of his Sports Science degree) and I felt great energy wise.
At Addlington, this time from the opposite direction, you turn on to COLT alley again. It was even more incredible the second time round, I had a huge smile on my face and felt energised, unfortunately as I left the throng , the realisation I had Sheep House lane to climb again hit home. As I began the climb I got out of the saddle and immediately felt the first signs of cramp in my right quad. I’d only cramped on the bike once before and that was in 35 degree heat on L’Alpe d’Huez at the end of L’Etape in 2011, it had stopped my dead then. That day I hadn’t drunk nearly enough, here it was 18 degrees tops and I’d drunk a reasonable amount of ISO. I was officially worried. I made it up the climb trying to favour my left leg but I could feel similar sensations in that leg. As I dropped into Belmont I heard my name and looked up to see Sue Couch and Jane Taylor screaming at me, what a boost. Sue was at school with me and had messaged me before the race to wish me well and remind me that Ridz Kidz can cope with anything. Sue and Jane are amazing athletes, they’re regular age groups winners, I’m in awe of them, I’ll never be able to emulate them.
As I turned back to look up the road and begin the climb I realised Dave Hinch was running alongside me, he really is the man…. He briefed me on CP and Nicky and asked how I was, I think I told him I was ok, ‘Keep tapping it out mate, you’re going great’, I love Dave’s positivity.
I had to reel things in to protect against the cramps and so my pace dropped off a little. I picked up a different set of riders including a friendly Italian called Giacomo, with whom I shared a few words. The second lap passed, with the exception of the cramps, largely uneventfully. One memory I have that I unfortunately can’t un-see, was the bloke evacuating near just South of Mawdesley. As I rounded a corner I saw lovely Cervelo P5 up against the hedge, I briefly thought about swapping it for my bike, I glanced over my shoulder and saw (presumably) the owner, skin suit round his ankles, aero helmet pointing to the skies and you know what coming from you know where. There was a disqualification for urinating in public but not defecating so this guy got away with it, unless they got him on a technicality. When you gotta go, you gotta go.
The second time up Hunters Hill I realised it was Double Iron Mike Catley and Iron Ric Longcake I’d heard on the first lap. I told them I was cooked (using more colourful language), I was pleased to get the last major obstacle on the bike course out of the way. After the 3rd trip up COLT alley it felt like a long way to the Macron Stadium. I rolled in to T2 and saw Steve Clark shouting encouragement, I wasn’t feeling great at this point and seeing Steve helped me re-focus. There had been a reassuringly large number of bikes in T1, now there were a worrying large number of bikes in T2, I hadn’t had a great ride but I still felt strong. T2 was longer than it should have been, I’d asked St John’s Ambulance for help with the cramps and I had to complete a form before they could give me the electrolytes. Bike 6:38 (and interestingly over 7800ft of climbing on the garmin), T2 11 mins
As I Ieft T2 I saw Dean leaving, ‘Nice ride Dean’, I ran up the first hill out of T2 and on to the New Chorley Road, Dean passed me, ‘See you at the finish Dean’, I didn’t catch his response but he looked good. I settled into a rhythm of about 9 min miles. I was hoping I could stave off the cramps at this speed. I could feel them coming but I was able to keep the pace along the canal bank. I walked up the steep hill at Lockstock back on to the Chorley Road, I had started to run it but I wasn’t going much faster than everyone else who was walking. As you approach the Chorley road you can hear the crowds and as you make the left turn you experience the huge noise. The first feed station came and I drank coke and water, as I left and started running I cramped in my left calf, it nearly took me down, I was at about 7 miles and had a long way to go. I wondered if there was something I could take but I knew there was no pill for the whirlwind coming, just gotta laugh at it, smash at it – well 10 minute mile at it. I got moving again but as soon as started running I cramped in both calves, this was going to be a long ralk (or wun). By the time I got to the turn off Chorley Road I was running again, albeit very gingerly. I saw Sue and Jane and Sharon Ledgard screaming encouragement, instant pace increase albeit brief, until they were out of sight. The town centre support was awesome, as I passed the finishing chute someone turned into the chute, they were heading for a sub 10 hour race, how do you do that? I ran back up the hill on to the Chorley Road, only because I knew Sue, Jane and Sharon were there. Eventually I got my first lap band.
I was now cramping more regularly in the calves, quads and most worryingly my feet, they felt so weird, my big toes were moving on their own !. I thought the second lap wasn’t going to be much fun,I felt really odd though, I felt like I should be angry, but for the cramps I could be running well, I felt quite strong. The only thoughts I had however were positive, I was loving the whole thing. I chatted to loads of runners as we helped each other along. People in crowd really made an effort to spur you on, it seemed as though they had remembered you from previous laps. My second time into the town centre I heard my name and looked up to see Gav Mann cheering me on, shortly after I saw Steve filming me as I passed.
As I approached the finish chute for the second time I saw Mike and Ric, it’s so great to see familiar faces cheering you on. I crossed with Paddy and Lou on the second lap they were both looking really good.
Dave walked alongside me for a while and offered bit of help with the cramp ‘try eating a bit of banana – but only a mouthful if you haven’t been eating them all day, it may give some magnesium that might help, it’s a long shot but give it a try’. I did and it seemed to help, probably more psychological than physiological. He told me Ciaran was going well and Nicky had made the bike cut off by 7 minutes, sweet.
I got my second lap band and as I started back up the drag towards the town centre, I saw Ciaran on his first lap, he was looking good, too far away to high 5 I shouted encouragement to him. Dean passed me on this lap, I’m not sure when I had passed him, I hadn’t seen him. He looked strong and was running well, ‘Looking super strong mate, see you at the finish Dean’, this time I definitely knew I wouldn’t see him again on the race.
I battled on, switching between walking, running and cramping at the side of the road. I decided I wanted to run at all the points where people I knew were and I managed this. I got my third lap band and saw Nicky just after this, I was so pleased, she was going to finish easily within her target time. I saw CP again, he had definitely gained on me, we high fived with some force ‘Go get it done Ciaran buddy – I’ll see you on the other side’, it was an emotional moment. I made my way back into town enjoying the support again. As I made the last corner before the finishing chute DI Mike and Ric were shouting, ‘Martin, you are an IRONMAN’, I welled up a bit. I quickly regained my composure, entered the chute, hi fived the announcer and had my finish line moment – run 4:58
13:12 was a bit slower than I wanted but I really didn’t care, I was so happy, it was a great day. 4 slices of delicious pizza, loads of water and an excellent massage from Preston Uni’s Josh helped me recover. Ciaran came in to the finisher’s tent during my massage and I knew he’d smashed his expected time.
Did I enjoy it? Absolutely. Would I do another? Definitely, for a brief moment on the run – at about 18 miles – I questioned whether I’d join Mike Catley and do a double ironman …. my first and my last, but that was a fleeting moment. I wouldn’t do Bolton again but only because there are so many races to choose from (and it’s a tough course), I would thoroughly recommend it though, it’s expensive but it’s a slick operation and well organised despite the split transitions.
Would I do anything differently? On race day no. I swam at just below tempo, rode what felt like the correct pace, my heart rate was 137 ave. The run was nothing like I’d experienced before and I can’t see how, given the cramps, I could have approached it differently. 22 mins in the 2 transitions – bit of scope there then.
I should probably have trained differently, the swim training was excellent, the run training was not. I used the plantar fasciitis as a reason to not do as much as I should have, it was poor on my part as I really like running. The cycle training wasn’t bad but I think it lacked intensity at the right times. I remember when Steve Cannings signed his Facebook – IM Barcelona contract he mentioned long slow winter rides, Dave Hinch told him to ‘keep em lit’, he was right and I hadn’t. The cramps … hmm, after I’d had them in France I did loads of research only to find no one really knows what causes them. I started using high 5 zero tabs and hadn’t suffered from cramps again, including 3 more L’Etape du Tours. Early in the training for IM I switched to ISOStar to get carbs as well as electrolytes, this decision combined with the lack of intensity in bike training may have been my downfall. At least it took my mind of my off my heel, which hurt like hell after I’d finished
Despite saying that this time I would organise my training, it remained as ad hoc as ever. For most of us the reality is, if you want to fulfil your potential and can justify the expense, get a coach.
I’d like thank to team McLoughlin – Rachel and Zac – for allowing me / putting up with, all the training time. A big thank you to all the supporters out on the course, Sue, Jane, Sharon, Mike, Ric, Gav, Steve and of course the Hinch. It sounds trite to say, but the on course support makes the world of difference to your race, I for one will go and support next year. Thanks to Karen and Rob for making our stay so amazing, I really can’t thank them enough. I also want to say a big thanks and respect to Nicky, Dean, Paddy and Lou they all had phenomenal races.
Finally a massive thanks to Ciaran who absolutely smashed his race. He’s been a great training partner, he’s committed, focused and a great laugh. LL Cool C it’s been a blast, IRONMAN Cairns / Busselton / Port Macquarie 2019 ?