After recently competing at the Ironman 70.3 Antwerp, only a day after returning I was back on the road heading to Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain, to represent Great Britain at the ITU Long Distance Age Group World Championships. This was the most major event of the year so far, and after slightly disrupted run on training, I felt back on form and ready to race.
The distances of the event were a 4k open water swim, 120k bike, finished with a 30k run.
The swim gave me my first experience of a beach start, and after a bit of confusion the day got under way. Although coming out the water with the main bunch, I was at first slightly disappointed with my swim time of 1 hr 57 secs, however after speaking to many athletes post race whose GPS devices showed the swim to be closer to 4.7k, I was happy to know I was swimming at my goal pace.
The 2 lap 120k bike course around the Ullibarri-Gamboa lake was probably the most scenic place I have ever raced. The route was undulating, and after consciously having to stop myself looking around at the scenery, I was more than happy with my split of 3 hrs 6 mins and 2 seconds, averaging around 23.5 mph.
The 30k run consisted of 4 x 7.5k laps around the city centre. I was hoping this would make pacing easy, and aimed to maintain each 7.5k lap as close to 30 minutes as I could. After being told I was in 4th position in my age group coming off the bike, I was keen to try and chase down the leading athletes. My first 2 laps were within 30 seconds of my 30 minute target time, however as hard as I pushed, I struggled to maintain this for the final 2 laps. My eventual run split of 2 hrs 6 mins, gave me a finish time of 6 hrs 17 mins 13 seconds.
ITU rules state that you compete in the age group according to your age on the 31st December of that year, meaning that although on race day I was 24, I would compete in the highly competitive 25-29 age group. At the start of the season one of my main aims was to finish top 10 in my age group in this race, so I was overwhelmed to hear that my time placed me 4th in the world in the 25-29′s.
My next big race is the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas in just under 6 weeks time.