Ironman UK 2016:
6am… July 17th… 2016 saw fourteen Peak XV athletes jump into the foreboding waters of Pennington Flash to hopefully conclude their Ironman journey and fulfil their various dreams. For some the dream was to secure a podium place and slot at the World Championships in Hawaii. For others, it was to beat a previous best and for the rest it was to experience the emotion of the finish line for the first time.
First to complete 2.4 mile swim was Cath “the fish” Labrianidis in a time of 1.01. This amazing time saw Cath lead her age group out onto the bike. Next to exit the water just over a minute behind was Ironman rookie Matt Dewhurst.
Over the course of the next 30 minutes all of the remaining Peak XV guys and girls had made their way through the muddy transition and were onto the challenging 112 mile bike course. Particular praise must go to Terry Gawthorne and Mike Horton, both members of the Monday Swim Squad. Mike completed the swim in 1.25 with Terry not far behind. Amazing considering neither were swimmers prior to entering IM last year. Demonstrating the hard work that they have both put in over the past 6 months.
Out on the bike Mark Mather was on his way to setting a new personal bike best and looked strong on the climbs through Adlington and Sheep House lane. Also riding strongly was Anna Thornton who managed to knock 20 minutes of 2015 IM time. Not having such a good day was Duncan Williams despite feeling confident in the lead up to the race a cold and chest infection ended his IM dream for 2016. Never a quitter Duncan has already entered the 2017 race! Among the Ironman newbies Danny Stanton was having a great race. Danny entered Ironman without having completed a triathlon after watching other family members competing the event in previous years. Danny completed the swim in 1.21 and was riding strongly on the bike. Prize for the smiliest person on the bike goes to Vicky Wood. Vicky was competing in only her second triathlon and her first Ironman. The dedication and commitment shown since taking the decision to enter Ironman has been impressive to watch!
Onto the run and as everyone knows an Ironman doesn’t really get started until mile 18 of the run. Or in the case of Ironman UK when competitors hit the second lap. The initial euphoria of getting of the bike and the excitement of the amazing crowd support has dwindled and competitors are left doing a kind of Zombie shuffle for the middle section of the run. This proved to be the case for many of the Peak XV athletes, as the temperature was rising so were the pain levels. First to feel the effects was Cath who had started the race as one of the favourites to podium. However a knee injury put pay to that and her traditionally strong run eluded her, however she still finished in a brilliant time of 12.03 placing her 5th in her age group.
As the day hotted up many of the spectators head towards Bolton town centre to watch the various celebrations as competitors cross the finish line.
Among our athletes first over the finish line looking slightly bewildered was Matt Dewhurst in a fantastic time of 11.30 placing him 21st place in his age group. Six minutes later Mark Mather crossed the line. Despite a slower than usual run owing to knee problems, Marko still knocked nearly 20 minutes off his 2016 time. The crowd had to wait just over a hour before the next Peak XV athlete finished. Coming home in a time of 13.00 hours was Darren Clare. Darren only entered the race the week before having to blag his way to a late entry. Even more impressive was the fact that both Darren and his brother Marc Ramsden completed the “worlds toughest triathlon” Triathlon X only three weeks before. Triathlon X takes place in the Lake district and includes over 12,000 feet of ascent on the bike with a route which includes all the major climbs in Cumbria. If thats not hard enough, then the run includes a climb up the highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike.
Next onto the red carpet was Stephen Mundie. Stephen is not only our most recent signing but also gets the long distant award having travelled down from Aberdeen to compete. Next home in a time of 13.48 was Anna Thornton knocking 30 minutes off her 2016 time and also finishing with a massive smile on her face. By now competitors were finishing thick and fast. Next to cross the line was Danny Stanton in a time of 13.56 happy to end what appeared to be a tortuous run! Ten minutes separated the next three athletes with Mark Dickinson managing not to get lost on the bike crossing the line in 14.24 followed by Marc Ramsden in 14.33 and Terry Gawthorne 5 minutes later. As the clock ticked towards the 15 hour mark another of our Ironman Rookies Steve Butterworth completed his day in a great time of 14.58. Next to hear the words “you are an ironman” with possibly the best finishing dance was Vicky Wood who came over the line in 15.03. Living up to his reputation as never one to rush things Mike Horton was the next to finish in a time of 15.20, this included a stopping for a nice chat at the top of Adlington.
Overall Bolton once again provided the backdrop for a fantastic Ironman. Congratulations to the class of 2016 and heres to the class of 2017.
Pictures from the day can be found here