The Lakesman Triathlon is an Iron distance race in the Lake District near where my family grew up. My The Lakesman Triathlon is an Iron distance race in the Lake District near where my family grew up. My dad went to school in Keswick and knew the roads like the back of his hand. It was a race close to his heart and he was motivated to get fit for this race. Unfortunately for him, he snapped his patellar tendon in the lead up to the race. I stepped in.
I had no expectations going into this race. The goal was to see where I was at, gain experience and make mistakes that I then wouldn’t repeat in the future. To cut it short, it was a “training race” for Ironman Barcelona in October where I hope to be the youngest person to break 8hours.
The Lakesman validated my work and consistency over the last 8months and most of all gave me more confidence than I’ve ever had before. Breaking 8hours will be no mean feat but after going 8h20 on a course like that with little specific preparation, I truly believe it is possible.
The race itself didn’t quite unfold as I thought it would . The goal was to swim 45mins/bike 4h30 (avg 275W) and run under 3hours for the marathon. The swim turned out to be just over 4km so 45mins was a big ask. I didn’t let it bother me and just stayed focused on the task at hand.
My ride started out perfectly and I was averaging 280W for the first 2 hours , but I started to fade towards the end : having lost my main nutrition bottle and the wet roads forced me to stay cautious on the technical course. If I’m perfectly honest, with 30km to go, I actually thought I had “bonked” and I was just expecting the other athletes to come flying past before I even reached T2. I kept focused on myself and just made sure I gave 100% until the very end. I finished the bike having averaged 20 watts lower than my goal. Therefore, it was time to catch that back.
I came out of T2 and all I could hear were crowds cheering, I didn’t even have a chance to feel the pain. I soon realised I was running sub 4min km pace and felt pretty fresh. I didn’t want to deliberately slow down to the pace we had planned with my father. I know my body well and knew I could sustain this pace for at least 35km. I have rarely been so focused on the present moment : I took every stride as it came and made sure my nutrition was going in. I started fading with 10kms to go. But this is when the day really begins in Ironman racing. The last hour will always be dreadful whether you do it in 8 or 15 hours.
The final 10kms are simply a mental battle where you dig deep into your profound motivations and push forward. I was racing for my dad this time, the man who has always believed in me and who sometimes gets up before anyone else at 4am to do my training program. I knew winning here in Keswick would mean the world to him.
Running a 2h42 (I made it 40km not 42km) was a real breakthrough for me. Ever since I’ve been a little boy I’ve never been a natural runner. That was just the way the cookie crumbled ! I could swim, I could bike but I could never compete with the best runners. I never gave up and neither did my family. We proved to everyone that being focused, dedicated and stubborn can sometimes get you somewhere.
The result itself is still far from being the worlds best, even though it is the fastest full ironman on Birtish soil. However, if I can tell you one thing it’s that I now have no doubt that I can make it to the top. And I will carry on pursuing my dream until the very end.
Next stop -> Barcelona See you there!