Thanks to Neil Wickes for submitting his report on this race which took place on Saturday 18 / Sunday 19 August. An excellent third-place finish – well done Neil!
I had planned to do 3 Ironman-distance events this year and after choosing Forestman and Ironman Wales, I decided I wanted a potentially fast course to set a PB on. Midnightman, set in Dartford, was a flat course with the bike on mostly closed roads. The race was also through the night so overheating should not have been a problem – unless it is held on the hottest day of the year.
With the mercury touching 33 degrees it was with some relief that we jumped into the lake for the 4-lap swim. However, a water temperature of 23 soon saw competitors overheating in the water. This might have contributed to some slightly slower times and I exited the water in a disappointing 1:06. A quick minute in transition and it was out onto the 18 lap bike course.
Basically it was up and down a closed dual carriageway followed by a loop around the industrial estate. Although very fast on the main road, the smaller loop included a number of speed humps and chicanes which allowed athletes to stretch but slowed times. As the sun slowly set, bike lights were turned on but temperatures remained high and the feed station was hard at work throughout the night. My first full lap was a rather speedy 17 minutes and I soon began to pay for the early pace. After a couple of uncomfortable laps, I settled into an 18-minute lap rhythm. This gave me a bike split of 5:27. This was a little behind my target but my legs felt great for 12:30am.
I’ve never managed to ‘nail’ the Ironman run so far but the 6-lap course was flat with some vocal support. There were some funny looks from the late-night workers at the Sainsbury depot as a multitude of runners jogged around the industrial estate. My opening lap was again a bit quick and would have put me on an unrealistic sub-3 hour. Fortunately some common sense return and I eased back; nevertheless I still found myself pouring cups of cold water over my head. The final lap was a real battle but I knew at that point that I would go sub-10. I fell across the line with a 3:10 run and an overall time of 9:43. Throughout the night I had no idea where I was in the race but it turned out that I finished 3rd overall.