On 19 August, UEA triathlon club took part in the Ely half ironman, tackling a 1.9km swim, 90km bike race and a 21km run. It’s the biggest distanced they’ve taken on this year.
The team started preparing for the race in January, competing in half marathons, 100 mile bike rides and performing altitude training in the Alps. Due to over-training and injuries, two members of the team had to pull out of the event.
For most of the team, the race began the night before when setting up the two transition areas, pitching the tents, enjoying a pasta party and visualizing the outcomes of the race. Everyone felt as ready as possible.
Race day, also the hottest day of the year, began at 5am, when the rest of the team arrived. Final preparations were made and the crowds starting moving down to the swim start where the race briefings were given.
The water was warm but murky and full of weeds. It was the most uneventful part of the ordeal. Tom Cook was the first from UEA to get out of the water in an elite time of 27:32, followed by Rebecca Layland with 31:08.
The bike leg was a fantastic ride on open farmland. The time flew by, as did the UEA team. Temperatures were reaching 30°c with the only relief coming from a gentle breeze. 90 km and numerous energy gels later the first UEA triathletes entered the second transition zone and immediately prepared for the run.
Experienced ironmen described the day’s half marathon as the “hardest they had done”. The UEA team pushed on, offering encouragement to those they overtook, never complaining.
The record temperatures were taking their toll, with two participants taken ill with heat exhaustion.
First to cross the line from UEA was Charlie Parr with a time of 05:30:45, followed by Chris Potter, Tom Cook, Rebecca Layland, Rob Graham and Jennifer Graham. Although exhausted, the team said they were overjoyed to have completed such a challenging race.
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