Needing the loo when I’ve never been able to ‘go’ in my wetsuit just before the start of a 3800m swim in stunning Derwentwater isn’t how in anticipated the beginning of my first full distance tri going. 10, 9, 8…ok so there’s the countdown and we’re swimming; I definitely can’t go now!
It has to be one of the most stunning settings for a swim but that first turn buoy looked awfully far away by the second island in the lake. The water was a little choppy but other than the full bladder I had a really comfortable swim heading back into transition in 1:17 including 3min pee break (at last) somewhere in the middle of the lake.
T1 was straight forward until I got out of the tent to my bike, unrack and realise I’ve forgotten to put chamois cream on…do I risk it? Not a chance for 112 miles! Re-rack the bike, walk back to the tent, around the horseshoe of bags and bodies as my number was on the far side and in 10mins I’m on the bike and now we can go.
The bike course avoids any serious Cumbrian hills but with around 50miles of pan flat coastal road the 1500m of climbing it does have are noticeable. In the race briefing the day before they said “you’ll feel like a rock star blasting up the coast with a tail wind” and they weren’t joking. Riding 30 miles of rolling hills back into the same wind to T2 wasn’t quite as much fun though but it’s still a stunning course and a friend rode 4:55 last year so if you have the legs it’s fast too! I was bang on target for my bike until that last section but conscious I still had to complete my first ever marathon I backed off and came off the bike in 7:07.
Happy to see the back of the bike I got through T2 in a couple of minutes and I was out on the run course looking forward to seeing my family.
The run is a 5 lap affair around the centre of Keswick plus some quieter sections over to Portinscale. Collecting a band at the start of each lap I quickly became envious of those with fewer laps left to complete. It was always going to be a jog/walk for me as I’d had some niggling injuries leading up to the event and my 2 longest runs were half marathons.
I struggled during the middle of the marathon and in hindsight it was mental rather than physical but the support and banter out on the course was amazing from everyone in the town and the noise as you passed by transition each lap was deafening. I got my head back in the game during lap 4 and my last lap was actually my second fastest of the five.
I crossed the line in the rain exhausted and elated after 14hrs 13mins with my children by my side in the town where my dad’s ashes were laid. What a way to spend father’s day!
Would I do it again? I’ve already entered for next year and if anyone else is looking for a full, half or relay at either distance I’m certain you’d love the event as much as everyone does. The camaraderie on the Facebook group alone is like no other event I’ve seen.
I can’t rate the race, the organisation, the volunteers or the location highly enough – the entire weekend was incredible: gigantic cow pie in The George Hotel being a highlight!
Everything was about the athletes and the town really got behind the event. Even the BTF referee was walking the run course giving out high fives and accepting sweaty hugs from athletes.