Congratulations to club member Kaine Pritchett who completed Ironman Staffs 70.3 at the weekend. His race report is below.
Respect the distance. Something we all hear from time served triathletes and after this weekends Ironman Staffs 70.3 I fully understand. Having done the full distance Ironman last year, I entered Ironman Staffs 70.3 due to it being all new, its location and finally it will allow me to gauge how my Winter season training had panned out. Well this was the plan. Unfortunately due to injury woes, I ended up going into it with only 4 weeks training in total so decided I would go out at 80% and see how I get on. The weekend started with a bit of a faff around the logistics of registration and T1 racking between Shugborough Hall and Chasewater some 30 minutes apart from each other. Although this was an Ironman branded event, the event showed signs of disorganisation, which was in danger of souring the weekend if it wasn’t for the energy and enthusiasm of the volunteers – I hope Ironman listen to all the feedback received and sort these issues for 2016. The weather on Saturday was very wet and colder than I like however I trusted in the weather reports for Sunday. Early start as I travelled from home but found myself in T1 checking my tyre pressures at 5:40 Sunday morning, some 2 hours before wave start, watching the sunrise and enjoying the buzz building up. To my surprise, Gordon Ramsay was racked almost right behind me so had to wish him luck as seemed rude not too, before I got my wetsuit on and made my way down to the swim start ready to watch the pro’s kick off at 7am. My race started at 7:40 and the shift began with a slow, cramped filled 47 minute swim – I was disappointed with the cramp as only a week prior I had done a 37 min 1.25 mile at Upton Warren. Out of the water it was a short jog on a concrete path to T1 where a quick (for me) five minute change and I was out on the bike. When I originally entered IM Staffs it was marketed as a flat and fast course, however as many may have read since the day this is not the case at all with a few short steep sections and then a tough climb at 70k up into Cannock Chase. Having got on the bike I continued to suffer with cramp however just kept on pushing through. Had a quick stop at around mile 35 to see my family and give my little boy a kiss which got a massive cheer from the crowd assembled and also made me well up for a few minutes once I got moving again. Eventually made it back to Shugborough in 3 hours 22 minutes where I almost suffered yet another problem in T2. I went to change and found my running gear bag was missing – aaagghhh!!! Support crew to the rescue and just as I got to breaking point they found it at the end of a different rack where it had possibly been replaced after a incorrect pick up. So after a 12 minute transition I was away for a very slow hilly run. But like all Ironman events it was the crowds and volunteers that made it easier – you can’t help to keep moving with all the encouragement and kind words from so many people – this is without doubt the best part of any distance Triathlon – I love it. Three wristbands later I found myself entering the finish chute and running down the red carpet in a final time of 7 hours and 2 minutes (run: 2:29). Finishers pic pose, medal and food later I found myself in the rest area where it started to rain but more importantly the sense of achievement kicked in. All things considered even finishing on Sunday was an achievement and as this was my first 70.3 I set a new PB – surely I can only get faster.