18 Striders, family & friends travelled to Germany to take part & support @ Ironman Hamburg. This was a record number of entrants into a full distance triathlon for the club for which they were awarded the title of 3rd largest club at the event. With the weather hot a non-wetsuit swim was feared but luckily just avoided for the competitors setting off on the 3.8k swim in the city’s lake Alster.
Out of the swim and transition 1 complete they set off on the 183km fast, flat bike route, not as easy as it sounds with cobbles to negotiate and fierce cross winds to battle against.
The bike and transition 2 complete they just had the 42k run to tackle! The hot afternoon sun was unwelcome but supporting friends and family did all they could to try to keep their tired bodies moving forward to complete the 4 lap course, which took them alongside the lake they had swum in early that morning.
Michal Nowak lead the way from the start and was 1st Strider to cross the line in a time of 10:35:14 which placed him 72nd in his age category and 308th out of a field of 2005 competitors overall.
Neil Hacon was 2nd Strider home in a time of 10:39:38 placing him 26th in his age group and 342nd overall.
Andy Baptie was 3rd Strider to cross the line in a time of 12:18:14 placing him 168th in his age group, 1125th overall. This was Andy’s 1st Ironman.
Lynne Hacon was 1st female Strider home with a new PB of 12:43:14 placing her 10th in her age group and 1328th overall; this was Lynne’s 3rd Ironman.
Unfortunately it wasn’t to be this time for 2 of the Striders who did not manage to complete the course but they are returning to try again next year in true Strider spirit!
Amazing team comradeship and support for each other was shown at every step of the way during the long months of training right up to race day, 7 of whom were taking part in their 1st full distance triathlon. A fantastic achievement for the club.
GO TRI – Leybourne Lakes – 14th July – 200m Lake Swim; 10k Bike; 2.5k Run
Dionne Grant dipped her toe into the world of triathlons completing her first GO TRI event held at Leybourne Lakes Country Park. Quickest out the lake she jumped on the bike for the 10k ride and off onto the 2.5km run which she completed in 1hr 29m. Dionne loved it and is already looking forward to entering her next triathlon.
Ironman Vitoria-Gasteiz – Spain – 14th July – 3.8km Swim; 180km Bike; 42.2km Run
Steve Fisher travelled to northern Spain to compete in an Ironman Vitoria-Gasteiz. Steve set off on the 3.8km swim in lake Ullíbarri-Gamboa, the biggest water reservoir in Euskadi. Onto to the 180km fast and scenic bike course which follows the lake shores and the beautiful countryside and towns of the Álava region. Onto the 4 lapped 42.2km run through the old town in the heart of the city Steve finished in 12hr 3mins 35s placing him 101st out of 198 in his age category and 1042nd overall out of a field of 1730 competitors. Well done Steve.
New club member Michal Nowak took on Ironman Bolton, setting off on the swim in Pennington Flash which was tough from the start with a detour adding an extra 400m, he had a quick transition 1 then off out onto what was a very difficult and technical bike course, which had been slightly altered due to the recent moors fires. Off the bike for Transition 2 and onto the final discipline, a hilly marathon in 27 degrees. Michal crossed the line in an amazing time of 10 hrs 18 mins 6 secs, this time placed him 24th out of 315 in his age group category and 161st overall out of 1891 competitors.
4.45 on a very cold quiet and overcast morning, deep in the Welsh hills, the 3 Sittingbourne Striders; Joseph Lovelock (Captain) David Valenti and Jacob Beaney gathered with trepidation and cautious excitement at the challenge that faced them. They were about to take on the mighty Dragon of Ironman Cymru. An arduous course of a 2.4 mile swim in the Irish Sea, a 112 mile Cycle over the Pembrokeshire hills and a Marathon run to finish the day. The Tenby Trio eagerly set off to the start line with 2000 other competitors. As a ray of sun broke through the clouds the rolling start of the swim began and they were off. Little did they know that was the last time they would see the sunshine. 2 laps of a 1.2 mile swim in the sea saw a good start for the 3 Striders with their first lap all being completed in just over 35 minutes. The winds picked up and the sea got rough but could only slow the three down marginally, all three of them leaving the water within a minute of each other at the 1 hour 15 mark. What followed was a 1 km run into the transition areas to get ready for the next leg of the journey.
112 miles through 8000ft of ascent on the hills was always going to be tough but the weather made it punishing. The athletes were battered with 45 mph winds gusting higher with horizontal rain coming in from all angles. The ascents were steep and lengthy and the descents were littered with slow signs due to the rain. Valenti made good progress storming up the hills and maintaining a high average speed, pulling away from the other two. The weather was relentless even wreaking havoc with the Ironman Trackers, reportedly the worst conditions that Ironman Tenby had seen. Lovelock was with Beaney from the word go until another competitor caused a crash that took out his gears. With 35 miles to go and only 1 gear to choose from the rest of the ride just got harder for Joseph Lovelock. The Captain had to dig deep in his fight against the Ironman, but his will would not be broken.
The medieval town walls and picturesque beachfront provided an impressive back drop for the final push of the day, the Marathon. With nearly 3000ft of ascent the run was a spectacle by its own right. 4 laps of the town, running through the cobbled streets to the applause of people cheering the competitors on from every road side, street corner and pub doorway. The fans were wild with excitement creating an incredible atmosphere that spurred on the entire Ironman community. Even when darkness fell the noise and the cheer and the Ironman party continued, willing the participants to the finish. The marathon proved to be Valentis best event, completing a 4 hour 12 run; with Beaney and Lovelock coming in at 4.50 and 4.52 respectively. Ironman Cymru is considered one of the toughest Ironman race sin the series made harder by the fierce weather. The challenge that the 3 Striders faced was demanding emotionally, mentally and physically and will be one to remember for years to come. Walls were run through and barriers brushed aside, the three let nothing stand in their way on the road to glory. They even had the energy to smile for the finisher’s photo.
Ironman 70.3 World Championships : 9th & 10th September 2017
The World Championship is the culmination of over 100 qualifying events involving 185,000 Athletes. Sittingbourne Striders Lynne and Neil Hacon qualified for entry into the event at Weymouth in 2016 and had been training for it for several months.
More than 4500 people from over 90 countries participated in the event that included a 1.2 mile swim in the Tennessee River, a 56 bike ride (including climbing local landmark Lookout Mountain) and a 13.1 mile run through the streets of Chattanooga.
Lynne finished in a time of 6 hours and 24 minutes placing her 98th out of 144 in her age group.
Neil finished in a time of 5 hours 23 minutes, placing him 219th out of 340 in his age group.
James Brincat, Nick Bayntun, David Forman, Geoff Tyler, Neil Hacon, Lynne Hacon and Luis Diaz from Sittingbourne Striders Triathlon travelled to Holland to compete in Ironman Maastricht. The single day endurance event consists of a 3.8km swim, 180km bike race and then finishes with running a marathon. At 07:15 the cannons sounded and the 1600 competitors dived into the River Meuse to begin the race. Neil Hacon was the first Strider out of the water in a time of 1hr 7mins, followed by James Brincat 2 minutes later. All 7 Striders completed the swim comfortably within the 2hr 20min cut off.
Safely out of the water the triathletes swapped their goggles for bike helmets and started the 180km bike leg. The challenging bike course took the athletes out of Maastricht to the scenic surrounding Limburg landscape and through the iconic hills and mountains of Bemelerberg, Geulhemmerberg, and Hallembaye.
Despite James Brincat crashing on the bike course, by 4pm all 7 Striders had successfully made it to the third and final discipline, the marathon! The athletes were cheered through the historic city streets by friends, family and the superb support of the locals. Neil Hacon was first Strider home in 10hrs 35mins, followed by James Brincat 11hrs 14mins, David Forman 12hrs 31mins, Geoff Tyler 12hrs 46mins, Lynne Hacon 12hrs 53mins (4th in age group), Nick Bayntun 13hrs 05mins and Luis Diaz 13hrs 21mins. Full Results
Event: Ironman Vichy
Date: 28th August 2016
Location: Vichy, France
Distance: Swim 2.4mi, Bike 112mi, Run 26.2mi
5 members of the Sittingbourne Striders made the 600mile journey to the historic French spa town of Vichy in France. Glenn Davies, Bradley Clayton, Ross Pilcher, Joseph Lovelock and Lucy Hewett were to compete in the iconic Ironman, the first full triathlon for them all involving a 2.4m swim, an 112m bike and a full 26.2m marathon.
Let’s go Swimming
With the water temperature a balmy 25degrees their fears of a non-wetsuit swim were confirmed. Undeterred, the self named Vichy5, lined up for the new rolling start method which has been trialled with good feedback at other Ironman races as a less stressful start for swimmers involving 3 athletes entering the water every 4 seconds. After 40 minutes all 1837 athletes had entered Lake Allier to tackle the 2.4miles, 2 laps that had to be completed in 2hrs and 20mins.
Get your wheels on
All 5 Striders were out of the lake for 2 laps of a fast flat bike course taking in exceptional views of the pretty French villages and rolling fields of sunflowers. Bradley Clayton had a job to catch up Glenn Davies who had made good ground from his quick swim finally finding him at mile 70. Joseph Lovelock thought his race was over when he was crashed into at one of the feed stations this cost him 25mins but luckily not the race as he continued trying to make up lost time.
The bike and swim have to be completed within 10 hours.
Off the bike and onto the run for 4 laps along the shores of the lake and through the centre of Vichy to shouts of ‘Allez Allez’ from the spectators whose support was gratefully received as the Striders ran in the hot French afternoon sun. Red band for the first lap, yellow for the second and finally the prized blue band meant they knew they were on their final lap and on their way to becoming Ironmen!
All 5 Striders were delighted to finish the race within the 16hour time cut off with Bradley Clayton claiming the title of first Strider home in an amazing time of 11h 45m 33s placing him 155 in his division (M35-39) and 799 overall.
Event: Outlaw Full Triathlon
Date: 24th July 2016
Location: National Watersports Centre
Distance: Full Ironman
Paul Bowditch took on his first full Ironman distance triathlon to try to become an Outlaw. The 6am start had him blinded by the rising sun as he tackled the 2.4m swim in a time of 1:22:21 then onto the 112m bike ride which he did in 6:04:59 and despite being unable to take on any fluids managed the 26m marathon run in 6:05:01 putting in a total time of 13:44:33.
Event: Ironman 70.3
Date: 12th June
Paul Bowditch took part in the iconic half ironman in grim conditions in Staffordshire. He completed the 1.2mile swim, 56mile bike ride and 13.1mile run in a time of 6hr 21m 58s placing him 187th in his division and 1190 overall in a field of 2331 athletes. Full results.