So it’s a couple of days after the first instalment of the Jurassicman Extreme Triathlon from Brutal events which covered the Iron distance of a 2.4mile swim, 112mile bike & 26.2 mile run. This wasn’t your standard Iron distance race as it was a point-to-point race along the Jurassic coastline. This concept alone is what drew me to the event and being my only 2nd Iron distance race (outlaw was the first last year) this was a big step up but I trusted my training & felt ready to take it on with an aim to finish before it got dark.
The HQ for the race was roughly in the middle of the start & finish in Charmouth where camping was an option. I took this option and stayed over for the weekend. Trying to get an early night with other campers up till the early hours wasn’t ideal but managed to get some kip before the dreaded 3am wake up. Transport left to the start at 4am with roughly an hour travel to the start line where all our kit was waiting for us. The race started in Budleigh Stalton in Devon with a sea swim. With the entry limit of the race to be 100 only 28 insane men & women took this challenge on which is a shame on the low numbers. With a quick race briefing before the start we took to the sea at around 6am. The swim consisted of 3 laps out to sea back inland then across the bay. The first lap wasn’t to bad as the water was still quite charm, as you started to go onto the 2nd & 3rd laps it was a struggle with the current and the waves as sighting was hard with the waves and feeling your getting dragged back out to sea at times. At times you just had to hope you saw a hand in the distance and aimed for that, According to the final race results I managed to finish the swim in 1hr 40mins (Outlaw I did a 1:15 so conditions were tough).
After a Transition came the gruelling 112 mile bike ride from Budleigh Stalton in Devon to Studland in Dorset. I knew the profile was going to be hilly but I don’t think anyone expected what lied ahead. If anyone managed to get round the course with out having to walk up a hill at some point are super human I must say. The name Brutal events defiantly lived up to there name designing this course. As soon as you got out of transition you were presented with your first climb of the day which looking back was tame compared to some of it. With a local cycle sportive going on as well over part of the course it broke up the start of the ride as you powered past people on the tough first few climbs. At around 28kms in was the first real massive climb with trying to climb it on a TT bike was not going to happen and had to walk up it, As I was walking up I turned around and saw a line of people walking up. This was pretty much the theme for the rest of the bike ride with an average of around 17-20% climbs maybe more. The course it self was very technical and with lots of right turns fast narrow lane descents, lots & lots of climbing you had to be confident bike handler if you were to get round and keep consternating the whole way round as I found out on a blind corner when I came round a corner and nearly within inches became the new badge on the grill of a black land rover, This is the toughest bike course I have ever ridden But some of the views out there when your climbing up over the coastline defiantly made up for it and made it even more a sense of achievement when you got to the end. I managed to finish the ride in just under 8 hours with my original aim to be roughly around 6:30-7hrs. Though the final results say over 10 hours I think there timing on this part might be a bit wrong.
Getting into transition after what can only be described a relief that I can final get off this bike I have been on all day. As I got in a couple people called it a day after the ride alone. I had a support crew of my parents who came and watched me all day and helped me get set up for the run. I forgot my watch in the tent that morning so wasn’t aware the time it was in the day but knew I would be running in the dark at some point and my £3.99 head torch will come in handy. The run started at a farm just outside Studland where you ran up to then followed the costal path down to Swanage then all the way to lulworth cove to the finish. The start of the run was sign posted but soon after you had to rely on you map reading skills to navigate along the paths. As I started the run I had an aim of going my own pace what ever it would be to run on the flats but walk up the inclines as I had done in training over the Malvern hills but this was nothing like the Malvern hills. Within the first few miles I took a wrong turn somehow and ended up back at transition with a quick check on the map I got back on track and lucky enough saw another runner so knew I was on the right course. With a quick pits stop with my support crew in Swanage with a can of coke I was all sugared up to carry on. The views in the light over the coastal path were awesome to look at and made the challenge even better. But as I got to the first check point which was roughly just under half way I had already been going for nearly 3 hrs navigating, walking, climbing, plodding along the paths. With a bit of food and the only 2nd female doing the event caught me up we headed off with not much light left in the day. My pace couldn’t keep up with her and I soon got distanced and was getting darker now. Her support partner who was out as well supporting her said she wasn’t far ahead so I tried to catch up or get close enough to see her glow stick or head torch so I could have some company but after taking another wrong turn in the dark and still having nearly 12 miles of costal paths to navigate on my own I had to make the tough decision for my own safety to call it a day. I was gutted as I cam so close but knew given the conditions and being on my own it was the right call to make. I managed to finally get a signal to my parents who were at the finish line at around 10:15pm to tell them the bad news who let the organisers know I’ve had to pull out. By which they replied to saying at that point the 3rd person was just about to finish. Only 2 people finished it in the light. After being picked up and driven back to the finish line where soup & food were waiting for me I was proud of how far I got and if I had company on the run I knew I would of made it to the end. But my safety had to be number one. After missing the mini bus back to the campsite by a matter of minutes I had to wait till the last person to come in which was the 2nd female in the field who I met at the first check point of the run before I could get back to the campsite. She took nearly 19hrs to complete and came in with the support guide. It was great to see others come in the dark and made me even more determined to come back and make sure I will not be beaten as I came so close to the finish and scrape the first ever DNF off my record.
The support from other crews family & friends was amazing and each athlete helped each other when they can and gave loads of encouragement along the way especially on the bike course. There are a few tweaks this event needs on the safety aspect I believe as even they said there timing for people finishing was way off but in all this is probably one of the toughest Iron distance races in the world. Even people who have done the brutal have said this is worse. With a start list of 28 on the day 20 people finished with me being the last DNF. If this is run again I will be back and will be more prepared for what lies ahead.