Ironman UK 2014

Dave Mawhinney is back to his best, qualifying for the Ironman World Championships again at Ironman UK. It was a tough race, with numerous obstacles to overcome, but his hard work paid off in the end…

Having not done IM UK in Bolton for the last 2 years, I was keen to see how much the event had evolved. Heading to T1 there was the usual air of anticipation which even after competing 12 Ironman races still affects me (12! you mad man – JE). I was quickly beset with the first problem of the day. I borrowed someone’s track pump, which had a screw on attachment, so as I pumped up the front tyre I unfortunately unscrewed the valve extender (fail 1). Fortunately I managed to screw it back on and pump the front tyre up again. With all the stress, I was in too much of a rush, and fail 2 occurred. I forgot to put my Garmin GPS on my bike, so I would be riding not knowing distances travelled and my other cycling metrics.

With the increased number of competitors in the race, there was more of a crush getting into the water for the swim start. After the usual mayhem at the start of the race, the rest of the swim went without incident and I was soon entering T1 after a steady swim.

Onto the bike and just after the bike mount line, I realised I had a flat rear tyre again (fail 3). Luckily a race mechanic was there to help straight away, removing the back wheel and taking it away to fix. Thankfully I didn’t panic. I took time to have a TORQ gel and a drink and tried to relax. After 4 minutes the mechanic was back, having put a new valve in the tyre with luckily no punctured tub and I was ready to go!

I think this “unpredictable pause” helped me focus more for the bike leg and I started pushing hard straight away and felt strong, passing a lot of people very quickly. The bike leg was very hilly and undulating with many turns, so it was hard to establish any rhythm. I was however pleased to keep a steady pace and was able to make sure I took enough nutrition on board to keep me going. It was misty on the hills to start with and this made descending tricky, as it was difficult to see where you were going! Thankfully after the first hour it brightened up. The crowd support was fantastic, especially on the uphill sections, which really gave me a boost and helped to push on. I was pleased to get to T2 in less than 6 hours.

My legs felt ok at the start of the run and I was quickly into a good pace and felt good for the first half of the marathon. It started getting very hot in the afternoon and I made sure I ate enough and took on more water to keep me going. My strong & motivated cycle had pushed me up to 2nd place in my age group & so I tried to push on in the run, but started to feel very tired for the last 10 km lap. Again, the big crowd support kept me going and I was relieved to reach the last turn around point and head downhill into town to the finish line.

Crossing the line in 11 hours 29 minutes, I had finished 2nd in the 55–59 age group and as there were 2 Kona slots in my age group, I had thankfully secured my place for the 2014 Ironman World Championship on 11th October in Hawaii.

As ever, thanks to the help of all our fantastic sponsors: – Triathlon Frames – Race Wheels – Wetsuits – Triathlon and Cycle Apparel – Saddles – Speedfil Hydration Systems – Cycle Tyres – Helmets & Glasses – Cycling Footwear – Cables & Housing – Transition Bags – Pumps, Tools, Bottle Cages – Lubrication – Custom Headset Caps – Custom Garmin Mounts – Groupsets – Bottles – Team PR – Photography