Well we all knew she would have to do one eventually and I was desparate to use the pun…….. In a way reminiscent of Sneaky John Skilton at UK 70.3 […]

Well we all knew she would have to do one eventually and I was desparate to use the pun……..

In a way reminiscent of Sneaky John Skilton at UK 70.3 Wimbleball earlier in the year Fran decided to ‘go long’ at the end of the season, in her words – to see if she could do it. Chris Weeks decided to join in as they are both basically as mental as each other and follow in the footsteps of double ironman ‘Madman Fraser’ himself who last year, as an iron distance rookie, took on the self-styled toughest ironman outside of Kona which happens to be in Wales (not Kona that’s in Hawaii). So we found ourselves leaving the luxury of Pembroke Dock Travelodge to head for Tenby at 4 o’clock in the morning. Pre-race basically consisted of a bunch of nutters with head torches trying to check if they had crammed enough gels into their bar bags before queuing for the portaloos for the 6th time. The beach at IM Wales is 1km from transition so the athletes walk in procession down to the swim start together – quite cool amongst the thousands of spectators who were already lining the streets. The Welsh national anthem, sung live by an opera singer accompanied by a brass band, was really cool as it travelled across the bay to where we were standing (see picture above!). And the they were off. 3.8km and only 44mins later, Harry Wiltshire exited the swim in the lead. Cheryl went bonkers as Chris came in on 57mins and then went bonkers again when Fran came out in 1hr3min – both smashing pbs. We saw them through transition onto their bikes and then thought what the hell are we going to do for the next 6 hours??? Well Max was the first kid on the skate park at 8am and Cheryl and I took to ‘watching’ the race on the ironman tracker. Unfortunately it soon became clear from the times that were coming through that Chris was having problems and he was forced to retire from the race with stomach issues after 80miles on the bike with no food.

And so it was down to the Franster to carry the tripurbeck logo through the race and given that she has never swum 3.8km, biked 112mile or run a marathon it was a bit of an unknown. With that in mind and still carrying an injury she never intended to go hard on the bike so a 6hr38min split was not too shabby given that she never got down on her bars and decided to stop at all the feed stations to refill her nice Alpe D’Huez bottles rather than swap them for full ones as she likes the fact that they match her bike…..ummm. We thought that she was cramping badly when she came in off the bike but it turned out that she was just walking gingerly as she accidentally took her bike shoes off going into transition which was covered in sharp stones. In total, not that I’m making a point here related to the fact that she often accuses me of being a pfaffer, Fran spent nearly 16minutes in transition! Eventually she reappeared looking fairly happy despite the marathon ahead and set a great pace for the first 3 laps. The thousands of spectators lining the street, to which I referred earlier, were by this time mostly drunk – or at least the ones out the front of the pub near where we were standing were, but the atmosphere was great. 11hrs and 42min after she jumped in the sea Fran ran down the finish shute to proper crowd noise with a first time marathon split of 3hr44min despite slowing considerably on the last lap. 26th overall, 7th in her age group – it would be interesting to see what she could do if she raced one of these……… maybe later. Friend of TriPurbeck Lizzie Hutson won herself a qualification slot for Kona – partly by employing a special self-propulsion system – make sure you ask her about it if you see her.

In other news there were a whole load of great runs in the Purbeck Marathon with Justin and Neil both inside the top 12 finishers in what looks a tough but amazing event. Carl, Gail, Charlie, Olivia and Johnathan were also amongst the finishers posting great times.

About Ade

What ever your goals in life may be, there is always time to achieve them. You might want to lose weight, run your first 5k, or improve your personal best, whatever your specific goals are you can achieve them with structure, time management and determination!