Ahead of our Ironman Austria race report in the forthcoming 20th Anniversary issue (out July 28), we’ve had this in from the Irish triathlete, Liam Dolan, and also the Kingswood Tri Club about their successful endeavours. First up is Eric Downey from Kingswood…
“It was an amazing event with 25 Kingswood Tri club members getting to the finish line. The fastest, Matt Langdon, in a time of 10:18, closely followed by myself – Eric ‘the eel’ Downey – in 10:35, and Chris Glover in 10:49. Louisa Andrews must get a special mention for making the cut off with 12 minutes to spare. I feel this is a remarkable achievement. We brought a huge crew of 50 supporters so at least we made lots of noise across the swim/bike and the run.
“The race went really well and I am delighted to have taken 12 minutes off my previous Ironman time. The swim was brutal; it felt like an underwater rugby match! There were arms and legs connecting with me all the way through the swim, the bike race was stunningly beautiful but damn hilly and, while the run went well, I really suffered in the 32-degree heat. On crossing the finish line, I felt a real sense of achievement. Thanks to my wife, family, coach and my sponsor Mouchel and Black Sheep Sports for making this possible, I have also raised over £1,400 for WaterAid (www.justgiving.com/erictheeel).
No stranger to competitive triathlons, Eric represented Great Britain at the European Triathlon Championships in May 2008 and completed the 2005 and 2007 German Ironman competitions in 12:03 and 10:47, respectively.
Congratulations to Liam Dolan who competed in the Austria Ironman on Sunday 5 July. Along with many other Irish athletes, Liam battled through the Ironman in scorching hot conditions and set a new Irish record for Ironman distance in a time of 9hrs 02mins 48sec. Here’s a full report from Liam…
After seemingly a lifetime of training, July 5 finally arrived and I was standing on the beach in Klagenfurt along with 2,499 other triathletes. Ironman really is the big one, I think every person who ever contemplates doing a tri considers doing an ironman, it’s the pinnacle of the sport and some would even say the pinnacle of endurance sports.
At 7am, the cannon went and we were off, for a 3,000m loop, then into a canal for the last 800m. Given that this was the biggest swim wave I’ve ever been in I couldn’t get over how calm the whole affair was. This was until we hit the canal! Up until that point, I wasn’t feeling too hot, my stomach was churning and I had drunk so much of the lake I was feeling bloated. Once we hit the canal the swim went from being a calm lake swim to a dogfight.
Finally the swim ended, and I was out into the Austrian countryside. The bike course was amazing: great scenery, smooth roads, long gradual descents. The two big climbs had Tour de France style support complete with people ringing cow bells, cheerleaders, a dodgy euro DJ and dancing Blues Brothers. The only problem with the bike course was going through the villages people would be out having a beer with a BBQ and the smell of a burger made your energy gel even less appealing.
It was a relief to finish the bike and start the marathon, oh the insanity! Run started and I felt great. I was doing my best to pace myself but was moving too fast early on. I had closed up on the lead woman, Bella Bayliss, so hopefully will have made some camera shots. All was good and then we hit the 30km mark. It went from being a lovely training day with people giving me food to hell on earth. The next 12km was a bit like going out on a big night of drinking… you can’t remember parts of it and aren’t sure how you got home.
My only thought was just keep moving by whatever means. I tried the coke, ate watermelon, I may even have prayed for all I know. Eventually I noticed the ground felt a bit softer and I looked down and saw carpet instead of tarmac, some guy shouted something in German about Liam Dolan and Ironman. People had said to me that the finish shoot is the most amazing experience and makes all the efforts and sacrifices worthwhile. Unfortunately I don’t remember it!
So make it home I did, with only 24 people in front of me and covered the distance faster than any other Irish person ever has, as well as finishing second in my age group. The reward for all this training and suffering? I get to do it all again in Hawaii where it will be hotter, more humid and they won’t even let me wear a wetsuit. Honestly, dogs get treated better.