The Sundowner Half Ironman, the event name at least sounds…….sunny? The Chuck-it-Downer would be a more accurate description of last weekend’s racing.
Nevertheless a little bit of rain wasn’t going to dampen the spirits of the travelling Lincsquadders.
As usual the Sprint race serves as an aperitif before the main event later that day. Aiden Grocock was Lincsquad’s sole representative in the sprint race. A strong bike leg saw him move up a dozen or so places to come out of T2 with the race leader. A 17:29 5K run wasn’t quite enough to wrest the 9 second lead from the winner. Still second spot on the podium was a good morning’s work for the youngster.
As the dust settled on the sprint course, the long-distanced triathletes arose from their tents flooding the transition area desperately trying to stay dry… Short-lived of course as the athletes soon took to the water to start their 4 laps, 1900 metres of Allerthorpe lake.
From the 457 competitors on the start list, 100 of these athletes failed to either start or finish the race. Wet, Wet, Wet.
Bringing it home for Lincsquad was Britcon/OTCF RT member Steve Grocock in a time of 4 hr 31. Steve found himself a whole minute quicker than the previous year but one place further back coming 6th place overall.
Family commitments have their advantages as Jonathan Bower can testify. In a big hurry and in a bid to make a family anniversary the Caistor man found himself 52nd & second Squadder back in 5 hrs 2 minutes. Gareth Crabb (66th) was strangely enjoying the rain. Previous events have seen Gareth battling with the heat so the cooler temperature was a welcome relief. A Half Marathon PB (in a tri) helping Gareth to a 5hr 6 min effort.
Club Coach Oliver Saxon (97th) seems comfortable with the longer distances. Another respectable Half Ironman time (to go with his previous ‘Steelman’ result) saw Olly nestled in the top 100 finishers with a time of 5:17.
Another time of 5:17 and in 103rd place went to newcomer Pete Tindall. This was Pete’s first foray into going long and it bodes extremely well for future events. There’s talk of 3 Ironman races next year? Watch this space.
Up next, Dave Hinch (112th). One of our most decorated Ironman distance racers found the shorter distance much to his liking. Dave’s trademark strong bike leg was the second fastest time from a Squadder and contributed heavily to his 5:21 finishing time.
Close on Dave’s heels was Mark Gollings 117th and John Challen 126th with times of 5:23 & 5:25. Team building around the course saw the guys swapping stories to help each other through the run leg. Mark improved on his previous best time and John laid down a respectable benchmark to beat for his next?….
Richard Anness just can’t get enough of this long stuff. As a recently crowned Ironman this ‘sprint’ race gave Richard the perfect opportunity to cash in on his IM fitness. A huge PB helped Rich to 159th place in a time of 5:35 and within the top 50% of the field.
There’s nothing like running scared as Neil Hall 163rd (5:36) will testify. Neil had to produce the race of his life to fend off his wife and first timer Nicola 170th (5:38). Just 3 places and one and a half minutes separated the couple!! Nicola’s fantastic swim time of 28:58 was the second fastest (by a Squadder) of the day. Neil’s bike leg just about rescuing the proud husband. Well done you two and long may this rivalry continue.
Unlike Nicola, Rachel Jackson (188th in a time of 5:41) couldn’t persuade husband Chris to join her in now what has become her 3rd successful half Ironman distance event . Rachel was looking particularly comfortable on the run and her beaming smile said it all. I’m sure her fellow Tri4Girlz team mates and Coaches were equally proud as she destroyed her previous best time by over half an hour.
Darren Hepworth 193rd (5:43) was relieved he didn’t bin it off when first looking at the weather forecast. Injuries have prevented Darren getting fully race fit so big kudos for gritting it out and whopping off almost 15 minutes from his previous Half Ironman time.
Ian ‘Bez’ Berridge took everything the weather could throw at him in his second Half Ironman distance event. 267th and a time of 6 hrs 10 minutes in those conditions would surely mean a sub 6hr Half IM is well within his grasp if only for more favourable British weather. Again, another huge improvement from his effort at the Steelman earlier in the year.
Ok, so here’s the big ‘hats off to you’ section to this report. The following quartet of Squadders deserve a little more back patting than most as their race was probably extended somewhat due to various challenges.
Determined not to be in that DNF/DNS list of 100 athletes these guys had to endure the lousy conditions for that little bit longer.
Lesley Hattersley 286th (6:20) another Lincsquad Tri4Girlz athlete couldn’t have been happier with her first step-up to the Half Ironman distance. Les was 9th female out of the water and also 9th female off the bike. An incredibly consistent run proving no signs of fatigue? Les’ last lap being only 2 seconds adrift of her previous. Roll on the GNR.
Pete Gossop, wow! Pete 279th (6:22) had every competitor’s sympathy as it was clear he would have to hobble in pain the whole way around the run course. Planter Fasciitis is the bain of many a runner/triathlete and Pete was obviously experiencing the full impact of this dreaded heel pain! Again, massive respect for battling on Pete, you did yourself and club proud.
Mark Connolly 299th (6:26) returning for his second year was agonizingly close to his previous best time. An improved swim and an almost identical bike split set Mark up nicely for the run. After a tough 13.1 mile run the course, weather and clock wasn’t proving to be Mark’s friend as he narrowly dipped out by less than 2 minutes!
Talk about a character building race; Andy Lawson had it all, 348th (7:10). A last minute entry into his first Half Ironman tested Andy in more ways than one. One puncture is bad enough and you’d be considered unlucky but the rain soaked roads struck twice. Andy then had to resort to gluing on patches once he’d used his first spare inner-tube. Not easy with freezing hands in the wet. Stopping multiple times to keep pumping up his deflating tyre made for a long day in the saddle. Andy would have been forgiven for holding his hands up and accepting it just wasn’t his day, but no! Andy still went out for the 13.1 mile run despite never having run more than 10K before. Top effort Andy.
Post race it was a quick wash in the shower, then out to the beer tent. Some live entertainment and a Hog roast Included in the entry fee.
Big thanks to all family & supporters for having to endure such lousy conditions all day. Shouts of encouragement really help when you’re tiring, or just cold!