Ironman Report for We Love Mountians written by our very own Ryan Hepworth.
I entered Ironman Antwerp 70.3 earlier in the year as it is a qualifying event for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas in September, however I already qualified for this event through the UK 70.3 last month. This, as well as having a big race next weekend, and a persistent knee injury over recent weeks, meant a race that was originally a second chance to qualify now took a more laid back approach.
The set up and organisation of the event by Ironman was as always excellent. My race plan was to have a solid swim, and then bike and run conservatively, and hope my knee handled the stress of the race. The hot weather also meant I could practice different nutrition strategies for upcoming events in warmer climates. The day started with a swim of 1,900m in the Galgenweel Lake. I exited the swim in a time of 25:58, around a minute faster than at the UK race which I was happy with.
Unlike the UK 70.3 event, the 56 mile bike course is largely flat. I had to consciously draw back my efforts with next weekend in mind. I was happy with my split of 2:22:45, although it felt like hard work maintaining my average speed towards the end (the flat tyre I returned to after the race would explain that!).
The 3 lap run course around the town centre is ideal for a fast time, and as the run is where I usually make up a lot of places, being sensible and taking a cautious approach was very frustrating. A run time of 1:27:06 meant a finished in a total time of 4:19:59, still top 10 in my age group.
A positive performance, as my knee held up well, and I felt comfortable throughout, although I think on another day I could knock 15 minutes off my time. Maybe next year…
This next week is now all about recovery ahead of the ITU Long Distance World Championships in Spain next weekend.