Bolton Ironman 2011 Alternative Race report

I had a very different Ironman journey to Garrad so I thought I would also write a race report.

I would never call myself a triathlete, I’m a runner by trade – and not even a good one. I dabbled in triathlon back in 2008 when I worked my way up to the London Olympic Triathlon which at the time was a huge event for me. Since then, and despite thoroughly enjoying it, I let my multi-sport fitness go and I solely concentrated on running.

I entered a few endurance running events in 2011, in January a 2 day 90 mile race and at the end of March 3 coastal trail marathons in 3 days. Having not done anything like that before all my time was spent running. It was only in April that I finally began to swim and bike again, giving me 4 Months to train for the Ironman.

To actually get to Ironman fitness I really have to thank Garrad, already a very strong cyclist we started training together. Comparing training diaries, sharing tips and him often dragging me out for 3 laps of Burrington Coombe and for dips in the Huntspill.

Luckily in April the open water swimming starts so having only a few pool sessions under my belt I started swimming in the Huntspill. The first time I barely made 2k and my fiancée very thoughtful commented on how utterly knackered I looked. But, after a few sessions I began to get more comfortable and we eventually upped our distance to slogging out 4k’s

Bolton Ironman 2011 - Marc Bostock

Race day.

Like Garrad I wasn’t nervous, I don’t know if it’s because it feels oddly surreal or if I was because I was just so ready for it. The whole Ironman journey consumes your life and I was ready to have it back, I knew my training, although not perfect, would certainly get me round within the cut off. When I entered the Ironman my only aim was to finish, I later revised that to a 12hrs to 12:30hrs target based on my training, but as long as I was under 14hrs I’d be happy.

Bolton Ironman 2011 - Marc Bostock

The swim. Not really the ‘aqua ruck’ I’ve experienced in other races. It was a bit shovey, I had a few people swimming over me and at the buoys for the turn around it was congested but on the whole it really wasn’t that bad.

The water was lovely, good temperature and clear enough to see people around you. I got pulled along by the field and exited in 1:09, 10mins faster than I had hoped – I had just discovered drafting!

The bike. Having done 100+ mile rides I was feeling pretty good jumping on my (clearly cheap, old and decrepit) bike – I had some serious bike envy at the Ironman! I just kept telling myself it’s the engine not the bike

I liked the course, I was told it’s a pretty tough route on the Ironman circuit but having knocked out Cheddar Gorge and Burrington Coombe so many times I felt really comfortable. I seemed to overtake loads of people on the bike which definitely lifts the spirits and gives you motivation. I lost a bit of power about 70miles in but I kept eating, taking on gels and drinking and I soon felt better again. I finished the bike in 6:30

The run. Despite my background this was the hardest part by far for me. Over the past 4 Months I had concentrated so much on my weaknesses that I had almost neglected my running. In hindsight I wished I had knocked out a couple of 20milers in training. However, my legs weren’t really lacking energy, it was more my breathing that wasn’t right and I had to walk in the first mile to get it regulated. The marathon course is 3 laps and takes you into the centre – the crowds there were absolutely amazing. Aid stations were every 5k and I found myself walking for sometime at each one to take on plenty of drink as I felt like I was dehydrating. I eventually finished the run in 3:50, somewhat disappointed, but it still 10mins faster than I had ‘budgeted’

Bolton Ironman 2011 - Marc Bostock

The finish was amazing, the carpeted shute, the commenters, the big screen with my ugly mug on it and the crowds – amazing! But it happened so so quick – it just seemed to come and go in an instant. I finished in 11:37:52 – very happy indeed! I never expected to be that far under 12hrs

I finished strong and feeling good. I met Garrad in the finish area and sat and ate my well earned fish and chips. Jeannie came in not long after me. I was so happy that all 3 of us had finished strong, healthy and with big smiles on our faces

I used to think the Ironman was reserved for the super elite but I realise now that anyone, as long as you’re willing to put in the time, effort and expense can do one.

If I have any advice it’s just to enter one – you’ll never have time to train for an Ironman until you have to. Just bite the bullet and enter and work out later how to fit it all in – it’s definitely worth it.

Marc Bostock

Bolton Ironman 2011 - Marc Bostock

Bolton Ironman 2011 - Marc Bostock