Ironman UK Bolton - 20 July 2014

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Mike Orton
Posts: 177
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 3:28 pm
Location: Watford

Ironman UK Bolton - 20 July 2014

Postby Mike Orton » Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:34 pm

Hi everyone,

I headed up to Bolton last Friday for Ironman UK. My 5th Ironman and the first in the 55+ age category.

Preparation hadn't been great in that February and March were disrupted by a difficult redundancy exercise at work (as the HR Director that put me in the eye of the storm!) so training was put on hold. I was getting back into it and then got a nasty virus in May which took 3 weeks out and meant I missed a couple of warm up events that I had entered. However I managed a good 6 week block going into it and had two reasonable performances at Olympic and Sprint in the English Champs where I placed 4th in both events.

They are all hard but I have to say the Bolton course is probably the hardest I have done. A really tough bike ride with some nasty climbs and some technical descents where you could easily come a cropper. Fortunately I took the Nirvana bus tour of the course the day before which really helped as I knew where the bad bits were and at least had seen the hills and could mentally prepare for them.

The run is pretty nasty too; a steep hill out of transition just to get you going, then a winding bit with another two hills before 3 longish laps into the town centre, around to a turn point and back. On each of the laps out of the town centre you have a back-breaking climb, not very long but incredibly steep and energy sapping.

Anyway I started well in the swim and was leading my age group - did a 58:56 - not my quickest but was quite happy and felt good. Out onto the bike and I managed that quite well. It was very windy and there was a bit of rain. Not cold but visibility was difficult up on the highest bits so I took my Oakleys off an put them in my tri-suit; descents were too dangerous with them on. I got around the two laps in pretty good shape and headed into transition at the Macron (formerly Reebok) stadium with my lead still in tact - I think I was about 10 mins up on the next guy by that stage. Ride was 5:56:49 - again about 45 mins down on my quickest for the bike leg but everyone was saying their times were at least 20-30 mins slower.

The run started reasonably well but this is where the lack of training finally told. I simply hadn't done enough long runs and in particular long brick sessions. I could see the second 55+ guy gaining on me and at about half way he came past running strongly. There was no point trying to match him so I just ran my own race as best I could. The support on the course was absolutely magnificent - without doubt the best I have experienced - it was the same on the bike leg too. By now the sun had come out and was quite intense - great for the spectators but not quite so good for us runners :roll: !

I toughed it out taking on lots of fluid (energy drink and water) at each feed station and having half a banana at every other feed station. From what I could tell no other 55+ had passed me but it was difficult to be sure with 2,000 out on the course! The finish was very spectacular - big grandstands in front of Bolton Town Hall and a great noisy crowd to cheer you home with the magic " you are an Ironman" words. I finished in 11.39 - my second slowest and 1 hr 15 slower than my best performance 3 years ago but everyone was saying they were at least 30-40 mins down on what they had expected so overall I was quite pleased.

I met my wife Noreen who had been following progress on-line and confirmed that I was 3rd in my age group! I was pretty chuffed but disappointed that someone had come past to claim second; there were only two Kona places up for grabs in my age group so it looked like I was going to lose out, and the guy in second was less than 10 minutes in front of me.

Anyway we went to the awards ceremony on Monday and it was great to make the podium in front of a massive crowd, and to be given my trophy by legendary Ironman and three times Kona Champion Craig 'Crowie' Alexander - a really nice guy. It got to the roll down for Kona slots and things were pretty tense. They started with the ladies and there were quite a few roll downs - in one age group they went down to 7th. Unfortunately when it got to my age group 1st and 2nd took their slots so it was a case of close but no cigar for me :lol: !

It was a great experience and I loved the people of Bolton - they really made it for me. I am convinced I have a better marathon than a 4.36 in me, even on that course. It was probably the best organised of the Ironman events I have done; they have taken it to another level now at Bolton after the first two years up there where they got a lot of criticism. The new course and in particular the T2 at the Macron Stadium work really well.

Anyway, I have signed up for next year already - would be great if some of you could join me!



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Ian Huntingford
Posts: 372
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 7:48 pm
Location: Hemel Hempstead

Re: Ironman UK Bolton - 20 July 2014

Postby Ian Huntingford » Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:20 pm

Another great performace, Mike - many congratulations.

Commiserations re the Kona place. I'm fairly confident you'll get there sooner or later though. :)


Mike Orton
Posts: 177
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 3:28 pm
Location: Watford

Re: Ironman UK Bolton - 20 July 2014

Postby Mike Orton » Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:27 am

Cheers Ian, and enjoy the Lake District - you chose a good time to go!

All the best,

dan powell
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:32 am

Re: Ironman UK Bolton - 20 July 2014

Postby dan powell » Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:37 am

Congratulations Mike - a very fine effort on a tough course. Hawaii in October is over rated anyway :wink:

I will have to wait for another IM challenge myself - negotiations are on-going with Mrs Powell!

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