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Ironman Ultimate Challenge Update by Kate Driskell
Long-distance racing is in an extremely healthy state this year and there are tons of races and options on the calendar. The WTC have also recognised the UK and Ireland’s hunger for going long by expanding their portfolio from one 70.3 and one Ironman to two 70.3 races and two Ironman races! This includes the well established Ironman 70.3 UK and Ironman UK races and has seen the rise of Ironman 70.3 Ireland and Ironman Wales.
At the start of the year 12 athletes were signed up to compete at all four races – including pro’s Bethan Fowler and Paul Hawkins. Through bad luck, mechanicals and just plain ol’ bad day at the office syndrome – eight remain and Ironman 70.3 Ireland is the next one up. Kate Driskell sent me an update as to how the team are going.
So we’re at the 3rd of the 4 races and the last two are in quick succession. The name of the game is conservativeness and safety.
Having lost Russell Cox to a very unfortunate mechanical problem at Wimbleball, Charlie Stannett to a really bad day at Bolton (Matt Pritchard and Stuart Barr didn’t make it to the start line at Wimbleball) we’ve still got Bethan and Paul in the pro line up, Kate Stannett (repeat offender and one of the instigators of the challenge), myself and Norman Driskell (first timers at Ironman this year), John Mongan, Tony McPherson and Joe Doyle raring to go for the 3rd race.
Galway is a temptingly flat and fast course, but with Ironman Wales only 2 weeks later everyone is going to have to think twice about the wear and tear on the body of going too hard this weekend. I’ve already diced with danger 4 days out from Galway with a minor bike crash resulting in some nasty bruises and road rash – nothing too bad and should be fine for the race on Sunday, but that and Russell’s mechanical at Wimbleball shows how easy it could be to crash out of the challenge through no fault of your own!
I’m looking forward to a good day out in Ireland this Sunday and an easing down into the final race in Tenby on 16th September for the conclusion of the challenge.