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Ironman Weymouth 70.3 (17th Sept 2017) – By Richard Johnson


Report By Richard Johnson

Several CWTC competitors traveled to Weymouth for the weekend of the Ironman 70.3, which was being held for the 2nd time in Weymouth, albeit only the shorter half distance being run this year.

Myself, Neil Bradfield and Darren Nice all were bidding for some personal bests with Neil taking on his first ever long distance triathlon, stepping up from the usual sprint triathlons he’s used to (in fact – he was calling this a sprint ironman!)  Darren was on his 3rd Ironman 70.3 event of the year after completing Barcelona 70.3 and Staffordshire 70.3 earlier during the year.

The Ironman brand was fully in town and the Pavilion on Weymouth seafront had been completely taken over, acting as the registration, briefing and finish line… not to mention the expo, where you were tempted to part with money for anything with Ironman written on it.

After being dragged out of the expo by our wives, Neil and I finally got to registration to sign in, grab your free bag and set off into the briefing, which was held in the theatre within the Pavilion.

If we weren’t excited/nervous enough, the briefing helped to add to this with some inspirational videos and a run down of how the day would (hopefully) unfold on the Sunday.

The race has a split transition event with the swim start / T1 starting from Lodmoor Park which is about 3km away from the finish line, along the seafront.

On getting to the transition area, bikes were racked and bags with Bike and Run gear were placed in the appropriate numbered place in the tent.

All that could be done now was to go and relax for the rest of the day, sort out other race gear (mainly wetsuit/goggles and food) and get an early night. We’d managed to acquire an AirBnb house about 500m from the finish line to stay in, which was very helpful!


Sunday – Race morning.

A dark start with a walk along Weymouth seafront at 5am took us to transition. Interestingly enough, the nightlife of Weymouth was just finishing at this time as we past a couple of nightclubs/bars that were just kicking out!

Into transition, to do a final bike check and pray that you haven’t got an overnight mechanical and then join the huge queue for the toilets.

The nerves were starting to kick in now as Neil and I suited up and walked to the start line.  It was a beautiful morning, but the sea looked a lot choppier than it had the day before when it was like a glass!  The sun was rising as we got into the relevant pen.  Neil (and my little brother) stood in the sub 30 minute area as I stood a couple of rows back.  With hindsight I should have started up higher as I managed to pass nearly 20 people on the swim in the first 10 minutes!


Picture: Swim Start


The elites were sent off at 0650 with the main age group waves starting at 0700.  It was a staggered start, with 4 competitors going off every 5 seconds.  The build up was very exciting, but at this stage I think I was the most nervous I’ve ever been before a triathlon.

I eventually found myself standing at the front and was counted down (by the buzzer) and ran into the 17 degrees sea.   This is when I decided that a warm up would have been a good idea, as my heart nearly exploded after the first 500 metres!

The swim route was a clockwise 1900m swim, and with the sun rising made sighting very difficult.  Luckily because of the nature of the swim I managed to follow the 50 or so athletes in front of me.  My aversion to sea swim training this year showed, as I did my slowest 1900 swim of the year. But I was happy when I got to transition to see Neil on his way out, who agreed (along with many others) it was a tough swim!


Picture: Swim Finish


Unfortunately then, I completely managed to get lost, trying to find my bike.  I had studiously. the day before, made sure I was aware of where the bike was (it was racked near a car park machine) but for some reason I just couldn’t find it! It got to the stage where I was convinced it had been stolen.  After a couple of minutes (it felt like ages!) I managed to find the bike exactly where I had left it the night before!!

So, on to the bike stage and I was determined to make up the time I had lost in transition and pushed it hard out of Weymouth, up the first hill… I managed to see Neil at the 5km mark and cycled on with the vain attempt at trying to get anywhere near my brother.

The bike leg was 90km long and with 900 metres of climbing.  With fully closed roads and support on every corner it was a really nice, but tough bike course.  I managed to push it hard enough (but not hard to blow up on the run) to clock a respectable 2hrs 46.

On to the run next, (my weakest area) and my aim was to try and stay at a consistent 4:45 – 5:00 minute per km pace to try and clock my fastest half ironman run.  I knew I was in with a chance as the route was flat and I was feeling good for the first 6km. In fact I managed to run sub 4:30 for the first 6km.  The run was a 3.5km, looped lap and after the first lap I started to slow down and was hitting 5:00min/ km pace and from then on, endeavored to keep it there.  I also used the feed stations after 11km and ensured I had a drink of water and an energy gel at each one (every 3km).

It was great to have some personal support at various points around the course from my parents, sister in law and Sarah (my wife) with the other Sarah (Neil’s wife).   With any Ironman event there is always a lot of support with all spectators shouting out your name (as its printed on your number.)

With any triathlon, the final turn into the finish straight is the best part and with Ironman events you can really milk the crowd.  I made sure when I came round the corner I did this and enjoyed running down and having the commentator shout out my name!

In the end I managed to complete the event in 5 hours 14 minutes, which was a personal best over this distance.  Neil came in next in a very respectable 5 hours 36 minutes and Darren in 5 hours 34 minutes.

Picture: Rich run to the Finish

Picture: Neils finish

Picture: Darren run to the finish

Results breakdown



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