Chadders Play POP at Ironman UK!!

OK OK, so you need to be of a certain generation to get the title, but I couldn’t resist!.

This is a great story of someone tackling what many believe to be the toughest one day endurance event – The Ironman, from the point of signing up to the elation of crossing the finishing line, so over to you Mark Chadwick:

Well I finally signed up for IMUK after years of saying “I’ll do that one year”. It was November 2015 and I had no bike, couldn’t swim very well [Ed, I can certainly vouch for that] and had no idea what the training entailed. The IMUK journey started here. I bought a bike from ebay, the first nervy outing on the bike failed miserably (2 punctures in 5 miles, no inner tubes left, wife not answering phone, taxi home.) Swim sessions weren’t going much better, my technique was rubbish and my legs were all over the place…. panic started to kick in. I visited the Endurance Store and they signposted me to the Hub website. I got involved with the coached swim sessions, Saturday trail runs and Sunday bike rides from the Stag. Surrounding myself with triathletes with experience of IM was really helpful, I asked question after question to help my training (sorry about all the mithering, Marc Laithwaite) [Ed – not really sure why you bothered asking Marc tho…]. Before long I was losing weight (eating much more too), getting faster and enjoying my training. I set myself an IM target of sub 12 hours.

At the start of 2016, I signed up for a few races and my times were getting quicker and quicker. The hard winter training was paying off. At this point, I was training for around 12-15 hours per week trying to balance training with full time work and child care (it can be done). I focused on what I thought was high quality training rather than pounding treadmills and pedals for miles and miles. By May, I felt strong and ready for race day. The outdoor swim sessions at the 3 sisters provided my open water swim experience and my times were getting quicker in the water too. My new IM target dropped to sub 11 hours (not sure whether this was unrealistic as it was my first IM but sod it, I’m going for it).

Race day:

The sauvignon blanc helped my sleep, got 5 hours in but I still felt like crap and couldn’t shake off the migraine which was creeping in. I was also having niggling doubts about the huge knot in my calf which I couldn’t sort out the previous week. I arrived at T1 in good time and prepped my bike (tire pressure had dropped to 70psi over night, glad I checked). Despite the chaos, I managed to tuck myself in the line of athletes expecting 1.05- 1.10hrs for the swim. National anthem over, and we’re off. Huge (crap) dive into the water and my goggles came off straight away, nightmare start. I exited my first lap in 33mins which I was satisfied with despite the goggle trauma. As I re-entered the water I decided to do a long jump this time – biggest mistake of the day! I landed on a rock and my feet were throbbing like mad. I exited the water at 1.10hrs, I wanted 1.05mins. After a quick transition, I high fived my mate whilst running to the mount line and lost control of the bike and the cable ties snapped on my aero bottle (goodbye water). This wasn’t a good start. [Ed – come on, own up, who sabotaged his bike…..anyone?]


The bike leg went perfect despite the water bottle loss. I felt strong and was pushing hard to make up time from the slower than expected swim. The crowds were amazing and made the hills feel easy, I stuck rigidly to my nutrition plan. I arrived in T2 with a bike time of 5.47hrs, on cue for a steady run of 3.40 to comfortably achieve my sub 11 goal. After another quick transition, I quickly gathered momentum on the run keeping it steady and relaxed despite feeling the bruising/swelling on my feet from the long jump earlier. I couldn’t wait to hit the town centre and be amongst the noisy supporters to give me the extra push.  This was the best part of the day, the sun was out, migraine had gone, the crowds were brilliant and it was good to see my training buddies on the course with big smiles (especially Rachael Moore) [Ed – erm, whats so goddam special about Moore eh?!] and the high fives helped from Dave Berry [Ed – oh yeh yeh yeh, its easy to be all happy and high fiving when you having a good race isn’t it boys]


Hitting the red carpet towards the finishing line was the best feeling, I crossed the line in 10.50mins, I had achieved my goal. The whole experience has opened up a new chapter in my life and I’ve met some great people over the last 9 months. I’m not sure about another IM at this stage, but I will certainly continue my training with the club and can’t wait to get back on the bike.”

Well done Mark, a brilliant performance for your first Ironman, and to say you only really concentrated on training in the last 12months to tackle this I think your last comments about not sure about any more is probably more accurate if you just admitted your only doing it if the wife says you can again……

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