On Saturday 2nd September I became an IronWoman. I still can’t quite believe it’s true, but the aching muscles and happy memories of the day remind me that that statement is now a fact. The nine challenges leading up to that day paid off in helping me prepare to complete the iron distance triathlon in 16 hours and 50 minutes.
It was bonkers to put a full ironman in my list of challenges for this year – it would test my strength, endurance and determination to its limit, but I had an inspiring motivator to keep me going. In August 2015 my sister Tracy sadly lost her short battle with cancer. Her strength and will to keep pushing to support her family is what inspires me to use my own strength to test my limits in the hopes of inspiring others and fundraising in her memory.
Saturday wasn’t just any iron distance triathlon, but one I’d organised with the help of some family and friends! Yes, it was bonkers to organise my own but I hope it inspires others to see that nothing should stop you completing that next big challenge! Organising my own meant I could keep the prices low and have some comfortable transitions. But the best part? Seeing the AMAZING support of my family and friends.
So here’s my long list of thank you’s to all the people that made the Challenge Seeker IronMan a reality:
- First thanks goes out to Jill – despite a stress fracture to her hip and diving in to open water swimming only the weekend before, she came out and swam her biggest distance! GO JILL!!! After a nap in the afternoon, she then drove back across London to act as an extra pitstop and personal bar in Richmond Park. Her commitment and encouragement was hugely helpful and immensely appreciated!
- Next up goes to Big Pete and Liz – they hung around at the edge of Shepperton Lake early in the morning to help me on the first portion of the ride to Windsor. I flew that portion and really appreciated the company (and the tow)!
- Support on the ride continued with a welcome group at the top of Pishill. Lawrence, Denisse and Ryan were a lovely smiling group to lift my spirits (and my mood after a 7 mile climb…). The miles flew as we chatted, enjoyed the amazing route and sunshine and a boot full of food from Dad!
- Arriving back at my flat, I was greeted by the cheers and smiling faces of Marian and Colin. The run was always going to be the toughest part and they made perfect pace setters and company along the river route to Richmond Park. Thank you both for distracting my brain from my tired legs and bringing me bang on target to start my first lap of Richmond!
- Next up was the wonderful Sam, she was expecting to run a lap of Richmond with me but as my legs had given up on me, she instead stuck with me power walking a full lap of Richmond in the dark. She was the perfect distraction from what lay ahead and was a helpful companion to brave the dark trails of the park.
- Anna and Ollie were also amazing – cheering and singing and sticking with me either walking or waiting right until the very end. Ollie ran to retrieve Sam and I from the darkness and then carried on the final 10km while Anna was just the cheerleader that you could hear before seeing her!
- Saving some of the best towards the end is Mum and Dad – they travelled all the way from Lancashire to support me on this. Driving me to Shepperton, following along on the bike ride, fuelling me with food and drink, giving me a hug when I needed it or a cheer and a push onwards too. I’m so grateful that they travelled all that way to support me on this challenge, and every challenge leading up to it.
- And finally, the biggest thanks goes to Sam – this event wouldn’t have been possible without him. He helped to get the event off the ground, designing and checking the bike route, finding options for the swim, helping me organise the run and checking all the logistics along the way. Not only that but he rode all 112 miles of the ride (and even put up with my cursing him and Pishill…sorry Sam!) and even offered to run the final 10km with me (and Sam hates running). He’s been unwavering in his support of my crazy challenges, taking part in a number of them himself and I definitely couldn’t have done it without him!
So yes, crazy to organise my own ironman, but it was so incredibly humbling and inspiring to see and hear the support of family and friends. It was a constant and unwavering reminder of why I was swimming, biking and running my way to an ironman. I hope it made them proud and inspires them to give their big challenge a go too!