“Back in 2019, I decided to enter the Wales Ironman as a present to myself for my 50th, unaware that a major pandemic would hit and the event being postponed for three years! For those of you not familiar with the event it involves a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle finished off with a marathon. The Ironman events also have a cut-off for each discipline so you are not just battling against the distances but also time. I did Ironman UK in 2017 as well as Staffordshire 70.3 in 2018.
Ironman Wales is renowned as being one of the toughest races with a sea swim, 2450m of cycle climbing and a hilly run and I thought I’d love to try to ‘slay the dragon’ as it is known.
As per usual the sea was calm every other day apart from on race day. Some competitors didn’t attempt to enter the sea, others were pulled out and nearly 100 didn’t complete the second lap. My GPS shows how much current there was! I can say honestly that I was petrified on the way out but loved the swim finding it exhausting yet exhilarating. From the beach we then had a 1km run to get to our bikes.
The cycle was a two-loop course. The first loop was fantastic, apart from having to stop to be ill twice (sea water, glucose drinks, motion sickness then sky-high heart rates proves to not be a great combination!). The second loop is when the rain came, and it was relentless. I made the first two cut offs but was pulled off the course at 95 miles.
It was one of the best experiences of my life and I smiled the whole way around. It is so important in life to challenge yourself and personally I do this through sport. Ironman triathlons are a very male dominated sport and out of 2005 competitors who registered only 314 were female, of which only 169 finished. The support I received as a female on the course and afterwards was fantastic and I try to encourage everyone to push themselves in whatever way they can and to break down barriers especially in a male dominated field!”
Teacher of PE