Wales Triathlon Middle distance 70.3 (1.9k swim, 90k bike, 21k leg zapping hilly run), Jonathan Harwood 12/06/2021
Finish time – 05:05:27
Crymych GoTri: 2017, Chrissy Davies
Carten100 , 2017, Craig Johnson
As I got politely asked by Mr Peter Munn! Seeing as pinched his spot!
My alarm went off at a not so early 6am to get some porridge in for breakfast before the set off and that was the hardest part of the day! Eating first thing in the morning is nowhere near my forte!
After the breakfast experience a final check over and off I set from Keeleys house which is only 0.7mile from the county hall! Arrived there at a mega early time of 06:55am with people starting to turn up quickly I headed up towards the start line and met up with 2 mates that I was cycling with through the day.
Started off in the 3rd or 4th wave off around 7:30 nice and early and from there until the 8mile mark it was stop start at traffic lights what a nightmare! The first stage involved a small climb out of cardiff then only the flat and some quick descents one especially quick near Bridgend got up to 49mph according to the garmin!! After a few more miles it was at the first stop in port talbot a well needed toilet stop then straight back onto the road for the next sections through Swansea after some confusion at a roundabout still don’t know how I managed it but I lost the 2 boys I was cycling with after a quick debate on whether to stop or keep going I decided to keep going and got in with some other riders who seemed as clueless as to where they were going as I was! Ha! Then to the 60mile stop in burry port another much needed toilet stop and fuelled up with some energy bars and food Keeley had prepped in her car for me perfect! The boys caught up some 10minutes after as they turned around to try catch me as they realised they went the wrong way! The next few miles to Kidwelly went pretty easy then the climb out of Kidwelly to Carmarthen seemed to take forever and got a lot hotter so a quick stop to get the under skin off was well needed! We soon cracked on with the miles and got through Carmarthen to the deadly climb just after johnstown which nearly finished me off! The road surface on the next 25mile until the final stop 95mile in tavernspite was pretty awful and with a near wrong turn and chain coming off didn’t help matters! 93mile down 14 to go I didn’t think I was going to make it I’d hit the brick wall a quick gel and powered on into the feed station a much needed 5minute stop for some extra food a fuel and then smashed out the next 13mile to the welcoming crowds in Tenby with a much deserved bottle of peroni at the finish with a ride time of 6hours 12mins! Sorry for the long report got carried away! An amazing day throughout with perfect weather and even topped up my ginger tan! Much recommended event with anyone looking for a 100mile sportive! Thanks for reading!
The Virgin Money London Marathon, Sunday 23rd April 2017, Dave Astins
I have done the London Marathon 3 times before, each time performing not having a good race (but enjoying the experience). In 1991 (yes I am that old) I finished in a painful 4:18 (final year of Uni, minimal training), 1999 3:45ish (slightly better prep, still nowhere near enough, hit the wall at 20 miles), 2001 3:31 (better prepared, walked into a turnstile at Waterloo the day before the race, dead leg, didn’t help).
Given that I did Dale Half Marathon (hilly) in 1:22 in 2003, a sub-3 marathon was clearly possible for me but I didn’t do a marathon that year, in fact in any of the 11 years that followed, until in 2016 I entered the Llanelli Half Marathon as a sort of build up to Ironman Wales and vastly improved my PB with a 3:05:48 (older, wiser?). That time achieved the qualifying mark as “good-for-age” (I do like that phrase) for London for my age-group (40-49, 3:15). How could I resist?
So, after a decent effort at Ironman Wales in September, I had my ‘A’ race for 2017 planned – London in April, which meant a winter of mainly running (with the odd swim & bike for variety). I am not a big mileage runner due to a) having had a knee operation in 2010 and b) hating long runs.
However, I mainly got my head on it, trying to get 4 runs per week in from November, gradually building the long runs, peaking at 36k (just over 22 miles in old money) 3 weeks before London, and squeezing in 3 Half Marathons in February & March (Tregaron – hilly, Ras Dewi Sant – hilly and windy), Llanelli – neither). A 1:23:03 at Llanelli was outside my 2003 PB but gave me confidence I had a sub-3 marathon in me.
A few woes in the lead up to the race which I won’t dwell on, but race weekend came and it couldn’t have gone smoother. Perhaps cycling 23 miles in a round trip from Highgate to Excel to register wasn’t the best idea, especially on an unfamiliar bike with no crash helmet, but it was a nice way to see some hidden corners of London….
Race day came with a 6am alarm (a lie in), 2 breakfasts (cereal, then scrambled egg on toast if you are interested), followed by a walk, a tube, another walk, a train, and a final walk to the Green Start just outside Greenwich Park. Great weather – mainly overcast, not warm, not windy, not wet. Mahoosive queues for the loos, so opted for the shorter queue for the urinals, convincing myself that I didn’t need another ‘proper job’ (I was right). Forgot Vaseline for the nipples so managed to scab some from a very nice man, and after pacing around for a while I got into race kit and dropped my bag at the designated lorry. An old t-shirt to keep warm in would have been a good idea at this point!
So with 25 minutes before the start I was in my designated pen (no.1 out of 10, still several hundred in front of me) and just a water bottle and my nerves to keep me company. Seeing a guy strap a tumble drier to his back, and 2 guys in a Jamaican Bobsleigh (Cool Runnings, loved it) helped calm the nerves. And then we were off…
It took me just 29 seconds to cross the start line, but the volume of runners for the first 3 miles when all 3 starts had converged was staggering. The 1st kilometre was my fastest which surprised me as it was so congested. I had a race plan – heart rate at 150 (2-3 beats either side, no more) and halfway at 1:27-1:28. It worked. Halfway was reached at 1:27:48 and the splits had been pretty consistent (official 1st 4 5k splits of 20:43, 20:54, 20:55 & 20:51). After halfway I had a few dark moments, the key was to stay focussed, and having a target KM split kept me in the zone. As I passed 16, 17, 18 & 19 miles I was coming inside 7 minute miles, which I knew with my 1:27 first half would keep me on track for sub-3. Miles 20-22 were a bit dark, but I kept the water coming, finished my last gel, topped up with the Lucozade Sport on offer and before I knew it was at Tower Bridge around 24 miles and just had to keep it up.
Passing Mile 25 with a little in hand felt good, yet still no smile or feeling of happiness, but as I rounded Buck House into the Mall, I knew I had it, smiled (of sorts) the last 300m and crossed the line in 2:58:40, shaving 7:08 off my PB set last year. Then the emotion kicked in!
The organisation was faultless, all the way through to collecting my bag after the finish, and the sun continued to shine (mainly). Seeing Chrissie Wellington after the finish made me smile too. I’d recommend this to anyone for the experience, although if you are going for a PB the 2 are more or less mutually exclusive…it would be nice to do this one in the comfort zone and take it all in.
Thanks to everyone for the positive thoughts, messages and wishes, so appreciated…very proud to wear the PTC vest (making me more unique on the day than nuns, vicars & lobsters, and on a par with tumble drier man & Cool Runnings!).
Great Welsh Marathon, Llanelli 17/4/16, Dave Astins
This time I was better prepared. Shedding a few pounds in autumn 2015 set me on my way, and prior to Christmas I had found some semblance of form, with some local wins (Colby Parkrun x3, & the Broad Haven Pudding Run 10k). Sometime in the autumn (glass of wine in hand) Ellie & I decided to enter Ironman Wales, something I had skilfully avoided since doing my first triathlon in 1994. Thanks peer pressure (Scott Patrick in the main!!). And as Ellie had a good-for-age place in the London Marathon secured for 24th April, it seemed like a sensible idea for me to have a go at a spring marathon so that we could train together, and the entry for the Great Welsh Marathon 2016 went in….time to see if I could put a good marathon together, because it isn’t going to happen in Tenby in September!
The training went pretty well – I wasn’t doing big miles (due to having had a knee op’ 6 years ago), but I was managing a regular tempo run each week, and gradually building the long run. I managed 20k & 25k runs before Christmas, some cracking off-road runs with Ellie over Christmas, and then the Tregaron Half Marathon in February and the Rhyader Round-the-Lakes 20 miler in March. A slight concern that I faded in the last 2 miles of both of those, but generally going well. A 28k training run followed, but the final & biggest run of 35k 3 weeks before Llanelli was not successful – felt rubbish from the start, it was in gale force winds, and over half way in I developed a pain in my lower front left leg that I should have got sorted sooner: some physio 9 and 2 days before the event (thanks Clair) had it feeling good and ready to race…
Race day went to plan. Parking is easy and right next to the start. Plenty of portaloos too! Ellie was there to make sure I was sorted and take the obligatory pre-race photo. I felt that I had the potential to run at or close to 3 hours if all went well, so I paced the first half to be just under 1:30, and it was nice to see Oliver Simon & Mike Evans whilst running and have time to chat to them! As I passed the half marathon point, smack on 1:29:00, I was feeling good (despite the recent injury starting to show itself after 8 miles).
As the kilometres ticked by I started to feel the legs tighten a bit, and the pacing slowly drift, but I couldn’t fault my nutrition (a gel every 45-50 minutes) or drinking strategy (3 sips at every water station)! The wind gradually picked up from the north, which meant that from 23.5 to 26.2 miles it was in my face – they were the hardest ones for sure! But my trusty Garmin was telling me I would be in around 3:04/3:05, well within the qualifying time for London for my age-group (3:15) so as hard as the last mile was I enjoyed it knowing I had achieved a massive PB and a place in London next year. It was great to see Ellie as I approached the finish, as well as a shout of “well done Dave” from (I think) some Milford Tritons. As I crossed the line the clock stopped at 3:05:48. 16th overall, 7th veteran male, and over 9 minutes under the qualifying time for London in my age group. Knackered, but happy! Within 5 minutes I had a coffee and some chips in my hand, and 10 minutes later we were on our way home.
This is a REALLY well organised event, I cannot recommend it highly enough. The course (2 figure-of-8 loops) may not suit some, as you really need to retain your mental focus, especially running past the finish line at halfway and again at 21 miles, but the setting is great and it is a very flat course overall. Time for some chips!
Results can be found here: http://greatwelshmarathon.org/great-welsh-marathon-…/results
Team Pursuit 2017, Crymych, Brenda Wheeler
Late Saturday night, got race bag ready – yep got everything. Race day dawned, drinking tea in bed we could hear the traffic passing the house in the Dale Road and it didn’t sound wet! On picking up the race bag for final check the realisation that the lovely new Tri Club T shirt and the calf supports are not actually in the bag but still on the sofa in the front room. Oops Got to the Council car park in good time where we were joined by Karen Munn and Dave Astins.
A reasonable journey with plenty of jokes about not being able to see the hills to run up due to the mist. On arrival in Crymych, the weather didn’t disappoint – we were not able to see the hills for the mist. It was the usual awful conditions that came with he venue.
Once in the gym, it was great to see everyone, The anticipation was starting to build and with the club fielding 6 teams each team captain was busy trying to round up their runners.
After the team photo, which I am sure is missing a couple of people, it was down to business. The team captains set about the most important job – handing out the post race goody bag, although within minutes almost everyone I saw was eating their caramel wafer before the run .
Conditions didn’t improve, and as the runners started to return I heard a few grumbles that KW had a lot to answer for by telling people that there were just a couple of little hills on the route. although everyone seemed to enjoy it. As for me I had on 6 layers to keep me warm. My feet were freezing and not for the first time I find myself wondering why I always come along, but I love it really.
Pembrokeshire Tri Club hanger-on.