Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Ironman UK 2008 Race Report

First things first, this is a report about the race, I wasn't racing myself. However, since Sherborne is just down the road from me I did volunteer to help out at the race. My wife was not impressed when I told her this meant a 04:30 start, it's not like she was getting up in the middle of the night though, only me, so why she was bothered I don't know.

Anyway I got to the transition area nice and early to help before the swim started. Lots of people were milling around in the dark, dressed in rubber suits, looking very nervous. Lots of them were coming up to the transition tent asking to check one thing or another was in their transition bags, checking what was happening and generally worrying as they waited for the start. The start was delayed somewhat due to bad light, basically it was still too dark out on the lake. Eventually, a gap was opened in the fence and they were led off down to the waters edge to swim out to the start.

My next job for the day was wetsuit stripping. This involved waiting near the waters edge, just past the people helping athletes out of the water, and assist people with zips, cramps and anything else they might need. Funnily enough the first people out of the water didn't need much help and it looked like I might not have much to do. However, as more people started to finish the swim more assistance was required. There were plenty of people with cramp and plenty just cold and confused. The worst part was waiting for the final swimmers to see if they made the cut off time. The crowd was great cheering in the last three swimmers, but sadly one missed the cut off time and got a DNF. The guy completed Ironman UK last year (and I think he has done several years before that as well) but this year I think age finally got the better off him. He is 71 years old though so getting to the start line in the first place is inspiring.

Then, after the mad rush of the swimmers exiting the water, there was a long wait while we waited for the first athletes to return from the bike. For the first part of this I was helping with bike catching, taking bikes of athletes as they enter transition and racking them. Bike catching is certainly a good description when the Pros come in. Time is everything and their wonderful bikes, dream bikes for most of us, just don't matter.

Later I ended up marshaling on the run course. I had a really good spot though, I was located near a section of road where the run section heading towards the town passed the section coming back in and also the final section of the bike course coming into transition. So it was very busy with plenty to see.

All in all it was a really good day. It was very interesting to see an event from the other side and to see what goes into organising parts of an event this size. It was also very inspiring, so watch this space.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Good for you helping out Mikey - people like you make races happen!