Ironman can be a cruel sport. In Europe, Lanzarote is the cruellest.
Yesterday grown men and women sat by the wayside howling in grief. World Champion athlete Emma Pallant pulled out injured during the bike leg. Others crashed into lava fields or stood holding their messed-up bikes in despair.
Earlier, many were pulled out of the swim, defeated by the swell, currents and aggressive competitors (I was punched and kicked several times).
It was similar on the run. After eight or more hours on the bike labouring up 2660m (8700 feet) of Lanzarote’s merciless volcanoes, battered by vicious, blustering gales and roasted by the fierce heat, dozens crumbled. Hobbling, hamstrung, doubled over in pain, they littered Puerto del Carmen’s smoothly paved promenades.
Frankly, it was a harrowing, daunting, terrifying experience, though I’m pleased and proud to have done it. Very grateful for the selfless, loving support of wife Clare Nicholson and the dedication of coach Rafal Medak of Triangle Sports, whose excellent preparation meant I still had enough gas to finish the bike and run at a good pace.
My splits were 1.24 for the 3.8km swim, 7.34 for the 180km bike and 5.12 for the marathon. Total time 14.32 (quite a contrast to my best time of 11.49, in Mexico).
Congratulations to everyone who took part.