Zell Am See Ironman 70.3 Austria 2014

 Report submitted by Graham Robinson

Ironman

The photo above, taken at this year’s event, is being used to advertise Next year’s World Championships

The Race

Zell Am See Ironman 70.3 Austria

Overall Score

30

PB Potential

5

Atmosphere

5

Organisation

5

Scenery

5

Value for Money

5

Beginner Friendliness

5

Club Support & Social

0

In Short

Fantastic Experience, pouring with rain, brilliant organisation.

In Full

After my exploits in Wimbleball in June, I was off on my travels again, this time to the scenic town of Zell Am See in Austria, for another Ironman 70.3. I drove across with my family on the Monday before the event, (it would have been a lot easier to fly and hire a car). We had arranged to stop in an apartment 2 mile from the start

Ironman 3The event was taking the 1.2 mile swim in Zell Lake, it started in waves of 600 athlete’s elites – under 30s, under 40s, the rest of the males, then females. I positioned myself to the back and side – I did not want to get involved with 2500 swimmers. My swimming has improved since Wimbelball in terms of speed, however my sense of direction is a lot worse now I don’t keep my head out of the water. I swam as fast as anyone else, however I swam twice as far as anyone else in a sort of a zig zag direction, instead of a straight line like everyone else. The other great discomfort was being swam over punched, gouged, kicked and nearly drowned by 500 female athletes, who started swimming 5 minutes after I started. I exited the water feeling like a drunken man after 50 minutes, staggering from side to side collecting my cycle equipment, and then falling over in the changing tent. Two minutes to pull myself together, get my cycle kit on and I was off on the next leg.

The cycle leg was a 56 mile ride on closed roads in one lap over a Ironman 4nearby mountain. The first part was slightly downhill on a major road where all junctions and driveways were taped off, and all the people from the houses in the villages lined the streets. After about 12 miles we left the main road and headed up the mountain, it was a climb of 700 meters over the next 8 miles, with no rest, only up. Just as I reached the top, the clouds opened and we had a torrential rain storm, so great care had to be taken on the downhill stretch. The road was wet and greasy, so it was brakes on all the way down. From the bottom of the mountain it was a fast and pretty flat, rolling ride, all the way to the finish, again with people lining the route and giving encouragement. An uneventful transition led me out onto the run stage.

Ironman 5The run section was a pretty flat two loop course, more of an out and back, twice, with a slight uphill at the end of the out section. It was from the transition, into the town and around the cobbled streets, which were full of supporters, then around the lake and back twice, to the cheers of the crowds in the town. Before I entered the town for the first time, I heard the announcement the first female athlete was finishing, and I still had one and a half hours or more to do. Each time I came through the town my family were there to cheer me on, as were supporters from Gateshead harriers who just happened to be there on holiday and spotted my Bounders vest.

The organisation was excellent and the volunteers did a grand job. There were three refreshment stops on the bike stage, with the usual iso-drinks, water, bananas, protein bars handed out as you passed by. On the run stage there were feeder stations every 2.5 km with water, sponges, gels, bananas, bars, Coke and Red Bull. A free massage and pasta dinner when you finished, and even a pint of beer.

All in all an excellent event.  A big *thank you* to Christine, my wife, and Richard and Laura, my children, for putting up with my obsession over the last year. Thanks to Run England, for starting me running again last June, Michael the swim instructor at Bell Vue baths. Bob Hogg, for swim coaching at Stanley baths, and all my run and bike partners over the last year.

An extra *thank you* to the Bounders for putting me forward for the achievement award which I won last week, although I think there are others who deserve it more.

And just for the record…

Swim – 50:35 for 1.2 mile

Bike – 3:12:28  for 56 mile

Run – 1:50:30sec for half marathon

Total time  – 6 :07 :40

What’s next?

September – Haltwhistle Half Marathon

March – Northumberland Half Marathon

June  – UK Ironman 70.3 in Stafford

July – UK Full Ironman in Bolton

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