Ironman Copenhagen race report from Alex Pre-race: the weeks building up to copenhagen had been far from ideal; exams at the end of June and starting full time work meant had meant limited training. My last race was the English middle distance championships, which, although I won my age group, included a dehydration induced collapse, half way round the run and I'd been struggling with a trapped nerve in my back, so, as you can imagine, I was apprehensive about this latest challenge. I traveled to Copenhagen on the Tuesday of the race with my mum and girlfriend, Rebecca; travelling on the ferry meant none of the stress of building the bike and also meant I could bring as much stuff as I wanted. After blindly choosing a Copenhagen hotel, I was pretty pleased when it turned out to be about 1000m from the swim start, another load off my mind on race day. An 8.05 race start meant I got a decent nights sleep before the race. The hotel was serving breakfast from 4am especially for the race and the nervous energy in the room was incredible; I could only stomach some porridge, but forced an energy bar down as well. The next couple of hours are a blur- everything was ready the day before so I found myself wandering around transition checking out all the bikes!! I was confident about the swim - I'd been swimming every morning before work with some guys from the Grimsby tri club who had really pushed me hard - and got myself near the front for the start. After the klaxon, there was the usual washing machine of arms and legs, but I soon found a good rhythm on the back of the front back in my age group. Even in the water, you could feel a great atmosphere, as you passed under 3 bridges, each of which was packed with people. Out of the water in 56 mins and into a packed transition tent, but I was careful to remain calm and ensure I took on some water and a gel. The bike was flat but windy. Starting in the last wave meant I had a lot of people to pick off which helped to keep me alert and also gave me a little draft effect as I passed them. I had worked hard with the aero gurus at university on my position, so I focused on holding it, as well as keeping my power constant and sticking to my nutrition plan. Off the bike with a 4.52 split, I knew I was on to smash my 10 hour target, so long as I didn't blow up. T2 was an odd experience- I'm used to marshals being incredibly strict when it comes to exposing ones body, so I was pretty surprised when the Marshall pointed me to the unisex changing tent when I asked her where I could take my trisuit fully off... A change into shorts and t-shirt (which I'm much more comfortable running in) and I was off. I planned on holding 8 min miles for as long as I could, which would give me a 3.30 marathon split; the adrenalin caused by the crowds naturally caused me to go out a little too hard, but I was careful to reign myself in. I felt good on laps one and two (of four) around the spectacular course, which took in most of the famous sights of Copenhagen and even had time for a joke with Rebecca. By lap three, I began to struggle - I couldn't face any more gels and switched to coke and red bull - now there was no joking. I'd never run anywhere near the marathon distance so I was just waiting to blow up, but it just never came; I somehow found myself able to carry on putting in 25 minute 5kms and, as the end got closer, began to enjoy myself - I knew the next guy in my age group was 10 mins ahead and that I wasn't going to get caught so I relaxed and allowed myself to take it all in in the final couple of kilometers. After taking a detour into the spectator area, only to be wrestled back on course by a Marshall, it was down the finishing chute to be told that 'I was an IRONMAN!'. I saw my name, with 9.25 next to it- I couldn't quite believe I had done that time. The next bit is a blur, but I just remember walking around with that semi-drunk euphoric finishing feeling still inside me. It wasn't until I'd showered and eaten that I found my mum and Rebecca, who told me I'd finished 3rd in my age group. I hadn't even considered qualifying for Kona at Copenhagen, but suddenly it was a possibility - I knew pre-race that there were 3 slots in my AG, but this was subject to change based on number of finishers- this is exactly what happened; three slots became two and I was left at the first to miss out. It was, however, a bittersweet end to my first IM, as I picked up one of those famous M dot trophies!! and joined Robbie Whitaker and Steve Clark to become only the 3rd Lincsquad member to ever go Sub 9 hours 30 mins.