The 3 stooges tackle Ironman UK…

A somewhat delayed report from this years Ironman Bolton, following what was one of the biggest challenges of their lives completing Ironman UK, they accepted the next life changing challenge of pulling together a race report each. Below we have accounts from Neil Taylor, Paul Buckley and Paul Fisher, put the kettle on and check these stories out – they will make you cry……laughing, in pure sympathy or in sheer disbelief

First up is Paul Buckley’s Tinman.

One night whilst lying in bed my wife agreed to let me do something I’d never done before [Ed – erm…dare we read on….] Before she changed her mind I had got my phone and bank card and entered Ironman UK 2017!!!!!! Fast forward and after a lot of training (and a new frame for my bike £800) the day arrived to get my two wristbands and my rucksack. Friday was my first venture in the infamous penny flash along with my new wetsuit purchased a few days earlier. More money – I didn’t think it was that bad, I am from Oldham originally though. A decent nights sleep Friday and then to rack my bike Saturday and my run bag at T2. I don’t know who said it to me but I had bouncing around my head that if anything goes wrong on the day just deal with it and move on. (came in handy that!) So with everything laid out I put myself off to bed at 9pm with the alarm set for 3.30… Less than one hour into my dreams I was waken by a 21st birthday right next door!!! (fancy ironman picking the same weekend!!!) Tossing and turning until I turned my alarm off and got up for my breakfast. Food done I put my new speedsuit on. (is it here yet David??????) BANG….. the zip burst at the bottom!! (deal with it and move on…) As we get into the car BANG (my head against the car door) Off we went to the start with the dread of the third BANG. A few people asked what time I was expecting to complete it in and I had a dream of sub 14 hours. With a kiss from my long suffering wife I went for a quick poo (didn’t want to be shit!) and shuffled to my swim pen. Bumping into lots of fellow WiganTri members and other friendly faces I stood there looking forward to the day ahead. I went and had a few minutes alone with my thoughts and then off we went. The swim went well and I managed a 1.19. (happy ish) Off on the bike waiting for slower swimmers to pass me. Some took longer than expected. Going up Hunters the first time was amazing. Soooo much abuse!!!! Around for another go and even more “encouragement” Truly amazing going up there to be honest. 7.02 on the bike and onto my most feared discipline. Waiting still for the third BANG. My plan of walking up the hills soon went west as the first hill into Bolton town centre was lined with Wigan Pheonix members. (I couldn’t walk past them!!) Around into Bolton and words from Nick Bennett “It’s all in the head now Paul” Off for my fist band and then more “encouragement” from our beloved chairman. Obviously he was stood too close to the pub!. With plenty of “there’s a pie at the end fella” and other words of wisdom I trotted around to start my final loop. A quick glance at the clock I felt I would be out of my sub14 target. Ah well move on etc…. Collecting my final band like a demented superman pose I ran under the arch with those immortal words “PAUL BUCKLEY YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!” After collecting my medal and t-shirt I made my way to my proud family. First words from my son “Have you seen your time?” “No” was the reply. 13.51!!!!! Job done.


Next up we have Neil Taylors “who needs to train” ironman challenge.

So my first attempt at triathlon happened to be Ironman Uk. After signing up nearly 12 months before the event I’d planned on various events leading up to IM however none of this went how I imagined and before I knew it the evening of IM had crept up on me. The doubt was there but I planned on just trying to enjoy the day. Everything was sorted for the morning alarm was set, time for bed.
It felt like I had blinked my eyes and then heard the sound of the alarm to get up. I was awake and ready to go.  Driving to Pennington flash with the Mrs and 3 kids the excitement started to kick in and I’m  now thinking “sh*t this is real”.
The sight of a few faces (Scott Bennett, Paul fisher) settled my nerves a little and we stayed together waiting around the 1hr 15min mark to enter the water. I knew I wasn’t going to be near that time but was sticking around with them anyway.
We’re off and loop one seemed to go so quickly, as I run to get back in for the second loop I’m hearing my name shouted from the crowd but can’t see where from. Just as I’m starting to think “I’ve had enough of this now I need to get on the bike” I can see the exit platform in sight.
Out and a run to T1 where I’m in and out quicker than expected. Unhooked the bike and think I got carried away as ran what seemed about 20 yards past the mount line. If it wasn’t for the scream “go on Neil ” from Ste Hilton and Dave Berry I may have ran to the fire station ha.
Straight away my power meter was not working so riding to power went out the window. Soon into the bike and I spot a Wigan tri  kit and a few words with  Paul Buckley. Shortly after sheep house another Wigan tri member  Paul Fisher pulls up along side of me giving me some much needed advise.  We ended up riding 80 mile within sight of each other which was a blessing for me as on loop 2 at the feed station before sheep house I looked down and realised I’d not put my timing chip back on in T1.
My head fell off straight away thinking I can’t carry on now but  Paul said it will be reet just crack on.

T2 I asked for another timing chip but was told to carry on by the marshals so off I went on the run. I knew I was not going to enjoy the run as this is my weakest discipline. The support and the crowds got me through the run as I honestly found this horrendous. The final descent of the loop back into Bolton couldn’t come quick enough and having family and friends at the finish line was all worth it in the end.

Last but not least we have Paul Fishers how to smoke your first ironman season

I started out with triathlon a couple of years ago, I had started to run to lose a bit of beef but got injured and somehow ended up at 3 sisters on Saturday morning learning how to swim, this is where I met the one of the other stooges Buckley.
At the time we both had the finesse of a concrete block, but somehow (mainly due to Nick Bennetts unlimited patience) we learned how to swim, I had always cycled so decided to have a go at a triathlon.
Windermere was my first and I really enjoyed it so entered a couple more. After the season was over I was itching to do more and with a bit of earache off Buckley I decided to go big and enter ironman [Ed – he actually meant do you want to come and watch Ironman at the movies…pfft]. The one thing I needed to really work on was my swim so decided to join Wigan tri, I was a bit apprehensive at first but have to say it was one of my better ideas (not that I have many e.g doing an epicman recce early Jan in snow and ice with Andy Gaskell and it was March before the feeling in our toes returned) but everyone was really helpful and have met some great people. After a good winter of training I was looking forward to the start of the season, weight was dropping off and I was getting quicker.

July 16th was on us before we knew it, from going to register on the thurs I really enjoyed the whole experience. Race morning came and I must admit I was bricking it, would I panic in swim, would I get a flat etc
I got in the water and couldn’t believe how relaxed it was compared to the hysteria of other starts I’ve done, swim out the way on to the bike saw Scott and Neil in t1 usual thumbs up etc on off on the bike ( great shout out from Ste and Andy )
Couldn’t wait to get to hunters as I knew that’s where my Mrs and kids were waiting so that first bit went pretty quick, on the way down the hill to the M65 I somehow managed to lose a contact lens so spent the next 20 odd miles with 6 can vision, I somehow managed to put one back in with a Marshall holding my helmet so I could use the visor as a mirror, sounds simple it definitely wasnt. By this time I had come across Neil and from here we virtually rode the rest of the course together [Ed – of course well within the drafting limits eh], couldn’t wait for hunters and it didn’t disappoint, it was electric. Had some odd shout outs, Wayne Booth in particular
“If you were still a pie I would have give you a push”. Next lap done on to t2, me and Neil rode in together, had a surprise visit of the kids and Mrs here so was absolutely buzzing when I ran out to see them. The feeling getting off the bike was great, I knew now it was only me that could fail, as my biggest worry all day was a mechanical, and there were plenty dotted about the course. I really wasn’t looking forward to the run as I had been struggling running after being knocked of my bike with 6 weeks to go, but as I got into it I thoroughly enjoyed it, the support was fantastic. There was friendly faces all along the route which really kept me going.
I never realised how hilly coming out of Bolton is, it was a real drag up to the turning point, the run back to town wasn’t bad at all. The run out of town on the last lap was hard, the little hill just out of town nearly finished me off (on the way up it and back down it). One of the best feelings I had all day was getting that last band, once I had that I relaxed a little, me and Ian Rigby were together by this point we got to the turning point and set off back to the finish it was this point when I realised I had a good chance of getting sub 13 those last couple of miles where my quickest. I had walked every aid station up to now and had acknowledged all the supporters I knew, now I just wanted to finish, with around a mile and half to go Ian pulled away and went out of sight, but I was still on for sub 13 so tried to keep up the pace, I don’t remember much from the last couple of minutes it’s all abit of a blur, I crossed the finish line with a time of 12.58.56 and the feeling of elation soon turned to disappointment as I had been thinking about the pizza for the last 140.6 miles only to be told they weren’t doing it this year and had chilli and baked potato instead. It’s been a great year doing this and can’t wait to return to try and improve in 2018

Ed – Well done lads and all others who completed it this year. Some great tales of the build up and event, teamwork and unashamed drafting. You did the WTC colours proud and so you will be considered for approval to wear them again…..

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