Post Race Report :: by Ian Dunning – Ironman Vichy 70.3 2016 – 27th August 2016

JamesB-Vichy-2016St James Batcheller Day

Today was race day for James and he was centre of attention or so I thought ….

Now I took it upon myself to get up at stupid o’clock and support him from start to finish

Well one of us had to do it … It wasn’t as if anything was happening tomorrow or anything ….

So there we were 0515 leaving for Vichy in pitch black from a hotel in the French wilderness… Nothing unusual or dodgy there then but totally acceptable on an Ironman weekend .

Traffic was a nightmare but meant James had no time to dilly or dally to the start .

Was it a wet suit swim .. Yes or no …..

I will take my wetsuit just in case the race directors change their mind …..

Being the professional he is James purposely stayed at the back so he could assess the form of his competitors or was it so he could have his own little window to swim in … I will let you decide 🙂

Swimmers going off course , struggling swimmers holding onto Marshals canoes , swimmers getting pulled from the water , children screaming with delight when their parent completed the swim , watching a team mate disappear into the distance ….

I can honestly say I did not expect spectating to be so emotional and sheer relief when JB walked out the water but sadly not a Halle Berry moment in a bikini

I forgot to mention that Pete was clearly missing his love boat lover as kept texting me or was it his cunning plan to see if it was a wet suit swim ….

Anyway , JB safely negotiated T1 and I managed to witness the bike mount and he was away….. And breathe 🙂

James had set a target of 4 hours for swim T1 and bike which gave me and the rest of the group an idea for time and meeting up etc etc….

Bike racking for IM was from 1600 but group arrived in time for the James arrival at T2 and to add support for the run

Pete provided tracker updates for his lover so we could plot where he was on course and could shout and scream as he ran past us on his 2 loops

In this online virtual world we live in you would have thought the info would have been ‘live ‘ so plenty of notice on his arrival into the finishing arena ….

Its fine he is only on 19k plenty of time Pete said only to shout next … There he is

The whole of Vichy crew leapt from their seats as if fired from a gun … Leaving all valuables behind inc phones and cameras so no photos taken cos the priority was banging the boards and making as much noise as possible as seen on ALL those IM branded finishes.

Now talking of sudden appearances ….2 in fact …

Lee ‘ the messiah ‘ Gladwell had appeared like a shining light of reassurance for those that needed it …

Emily (Mrs Pete) also appeared and elbowed JB out the relationship …

So now all the IM went and got their bikes for racking and if I’m honest with you the rest of us went … Thank f#*k for that and a sigh of relief … until Mark appeared panicking where do I take my bike ….

Don’t panic Mr Mannering and was safely directed the right way …. The day wouldn’t end in a Y without a Thomas flap

Final action of the day was the Iron Lady 5k supporters run . Amanda and Mandy totally ignore race regulation and wore ATC colours instead of race pink. Respectable times to … Well done ladies 🙂

Finally a big day for the racers tomorrow with everyone slipping off for their own food arrangements but agreeing to travel in convoy leaving 0445…. #cantwaitfortomorrowspost

Post Race Report :: by Ian Dunning – Ironman Vichy 2016 – 28th August 2016

Sally-Vichy-2016The big one … Squeaky bum time .. Shit this is real … It’s only a race …. The only polite terms I can post to describe today ….

Months even years of planning for Vichy 27.08.2016 ….

What could possibly go wrong …

Early nights planned for racers and support crews …..

Alarms set and a back up alarm and a back up alarm set …. just in case 🙂

Bags packed and left by the door for a quick exit … After all isn’t the night before a race only a longer transition ?

What could possibly go wrong ….

Transition bags … Check …
Wet suit and goggles … Check
Running shoes .. Check
Group decided to leave in a convoy … Check
Meet 0445…
Drive out car park 0500…

No problems . Military precision . Everyone looking after their own shit ….

Now, I can’t comment for the other rooms but me and my roomy (separate beds I remind you ) were confident alarms would go off on time and it was simply a case of grabbing bags and getting in the car…

Down to reception, admittedly a couple of minutes late , to see Pete pacing outside like a cat on a hot tin roof looking at his watch…… Gesturing in the same way as the now infamous supermarket scene…

Mr & Mrs Stef appeared with Pete now saying … We were supposed to driving out at 5 …… BUT…

Where the f#*k was Garry

Ou est Garry ? Have you seen Garry ?

Non , no et Non !Garry-Vichy-2016

Maybe he’s left already and arranged an ATC welcome….. No
Maybe he’s waiting in the car … No
Maybe he’s having a pre race breakfast …. No

Maybe .. No he couldn’t have
Surely not …
On A race day ….
Months of planning … Surely not
Has Garry overlaid ?

Where the f#*k is Garry ?

No hang on …. WHERE THE F#*K IS GARRY !!!

Pete couldn’t wait any longer and left ….
Mr Stef braved it and went and knocked Garry up …. After all what are friends for …

Mrs Stef announced … Garry HAS overlaid…. OMG… Quick leg it …

Stef-Vichy-2016Mark , myself and Mr & Mrs Stef swiftly left before a Tazmanian Devil whirlwind appeared …

But secretly confident that Garry wouldn’t be too far behind ….

Afterall sleeping is a transition and Garry is good in transition … Right ?

Arrived at Race Hq with 1700 IM and 2 car parks had been arranged

Parked up and walked to ATC gazebo HQ meeting point which I had forgotten to tell you had been set up as the Tri Village for St James Batcheller Day

All gathering like a school assembly so let’s do a register….

Sally . Check
Pete. Check
Mark… Check
Stef … Check

Where the f#*k was Garry

Still dark so could be anywhere ….

Even Captain Lee and Victoria had managed to arrive and they biked ALL the way from their local hotel ….

Then , like Lee and Emily on JB day, a sudden appearance form the Chairman…

Garry sat down… All part of the plan…. Nothing to worry about …. No dramas only solutions… #simplesMarkT-Vichy-2016

One by one they left for the swim start all in light blue club kit ..
Support left for swim start and agreed to wait for them all to swim and literally get on their bikes at T1

Now you know you are at a race when you hear Guns n Roses Paradise City or AC/DC Highway to Hell but this time add in the 3 Musketeers as chief crowd whooper upperers and you have yourself an atmosphere at 0630 !!

No benefit to our intrepid IM as deep down they or at least Mark Thomas was still hoping they would change it to a wet suit swim as he carried a wet suit into transition . Little did he know the race had already started 🙂

All jumped in the water and we could witness their jumping skills clearly from the pontoon. All in the water safely ….. Or so we thought 🙁

The app or online tracker or the naked eye enabled us to check their progress throughout the swim and the odd individual announcement from a Musketeers as they left the water .

Found a brilliant viewing spot as the crowds thinned out for the Team and could clearly see our club mates arrive T1 grab bike and get to bike dismount.

It is fair to say that we ATC support crew weren’t the only ones making noise and I find it a stroke of genius for race organisers to put names on race numbers for that extra personal touch…

Simon-Vichy-2016It was a European race and the shout was allez allez allez ( go go go ) not Ali Ali Ali – Emily 🙂

Athletes of all shapes and sizes and ages … Bikes of varying stature which called for a ‘ you don’t want to be leaving T1 last with a bike like that ‘ from course record holder Gladwell

Still one by one they came and went and an extra cheer when on their bike and off and away out of sight onward into the French countryside.

Until it came to Mark Thomas ….

Is it fair to single out Mark as the race progressed ?
Is it fair to single out a man who was railroaded into an ironman event for only his 5 triathlon…
Is it fair to single out a man who meticulously plans everything to the finest details and checks and double checks everything

Hell yes because we have all been there and the whole idea of my posts was to bring a smile and an alternative look at the weekend .

So we heard the Musketeers announce Mark Domas as now left the watter ( say aloud in French accent for maximum comedy effect)…

We saw MT approach his bike .. Cheers from the group
We saw MT standing next to his bike …. Cheers from the group
We saw MT still standing next to his bike and still standing ….
What was he doing…
Taking fluid , doing an M check or an ABC check…PeterW-Vichy-2016
He moved…checked .. Moved forward…. Cheers from the group
Stopped looking at his handle bars… Was something wrong ?
The fact MT had completed the non wet suit swim within the cut off time was a major achievement and deserved all worthy recognition …
Moving again … Ran past a referee … Who stopped him !
No way!
A Stef Hayes penalty box close by …. No…
Referee was talking to MT ….
Shit shit and shit….!
Ref leant down as if to look at his bike ….noooooooo !
MT had dropped something or something off his bike …
Disqualification for littering ….. Nooooo
Nope …
MT had dropped a gel and the nice ref picked it up for him …. Phew 🙂
Ran to bike mount area….
Stopped again still looking at his handle bars..
That prompted me to run up along side hime and shout in my most positive encouraging tone … ‘ will you get on that f#*#*ing bike ‘
And he was gone….

Now what you competitors at all races don’t realise is the amount of self control needed when supporting…

PeteH-Vichy-2016Bladder control that is …

Standing next to water needing a wee and being able to hold it for hours is worth a mention so we all legged to ATC HQ and a much needs comfort break…

All out on the bike course and time to kill . Food and liquid on the agenda and a power nap…. As I have said it s tough being a supporter.

We could use the tracker to plot where people were on the bike course and info was upto date.

It was all quite exciting cos tracker follows all athletes so you can admire the pros for their times afterall it was a race !!!

Talking of admiration ….

I think I have mentionned everyone during the last 4 days except Peter Welsh for being in unrecognisable black colours along with half the entrants and Simon Quested for being in his own personal ‘can I break the club record’ space

A special admiration mention has to go out to Sally for having the cahoonas to carry on despite getting a whack in the neck at swim jump in start, aggravating a former injury , completing the swim, getting on her bike, not showing her support crew at T1 she was in discomfort but recognising it wasn’t safe to continue and being safe .

But more importantly coming to ATC HQ and letting us know she was safe and well and FINE…. and we all know what that stands for 🙂 #weloveyouSally

MarkF-Vichy-2016Day was getting on ( bit like this post) but we were now at a point where we could see our team exit T2 onto the run. The run was a 4 time loop with viewing points next to ATC HQ and we could calculate when everyone was due to pass for that much needed encouragement .

Everyone was counting the laps down until it was time to enter the stadium finish where we could witness our Ironmen finish with a splendid lap of glory deserving very single ounce of congratulations given by your adoring families , friends and team mates.

On which I will finish there …..


Post Race Report :: Ross Sadd – Hole Park Cross Duathlon – Sunday 3rd April 2016


I lined up, with about 10 people at the start at 9:15am for the 10k. It was hard work and muddy from the rain the night before. I was 3rd into T1. Got on the bike and all the fields were so boggy I was wishing I’d never started 😉. 30 miles of what felt like cycling on sand. I lapped two others. The mud was so thick it was like riding with my brakes on the whole time.

I went past T1. I could see there was a bike in there which had pulled out. Where they in front of me? I went on and as I came into T2 there was about 8 bikes there. Alex and I did not know what was going on . Had I done 6 laps on the bike? So off I went on the run with the first lap a nightmare. Thinking I had done 6 laps on the bike, but as I got to the end of lap 1, Liz King flagged me, saying I had only done 5 and that I was still in 3rd. The next 5k was better! I ended up 3rd overall / 2nd male! 

I was just so happy to finish with so many DNFs! It was hard work for the five something hours I was in pain for! It was a good end to my winter, with 7th at the Brett Ashford half and 4th at the fan dance.


Post Race Report :: Mandy Cooper – Folkestone 10 – Good Friday 27th March

In the Folkestone area, on Good Friday, there appeared to be a choice of events; a 10 mile run along the seafront or a cycle sportive of varying distances. So, 10 members of ATC chose the run. For me it was a no-brainer – the run route is predominately as flat as a pancake as opposed to a hilly ride.

We were promised a dry, sunny day, but no-one was prepared for the warmth. My perfect running conditions and my only regret was not wearing shorts (although it was noticed that all the ATC men were wearing shorts, so they obviously knew something that the ladies didn’t!).

The run started at 11am, so didn’t require getting up too early, which was another bonus. Race headquarters were at the green in Hythe and the registration was organised well, although there were the usual long queues for the loos (unless you knew where the secret loos were!).

The route took us one lap around the green and then straight down to the seafront, from where we ran along the promenade to the memorial gardens below the Leas in Folkestone. One loop of the gardens and then it was back along the seafront to the finish at the green. There was some fantastic support along the way from ATC members Sam & Garry and also from local people who were out enjoying the sunshine and ice cream van that was teasing us by the seafront at Hythe. I think we all just about managed to avoid stopping at the van, despite the sunny weather.

First over the line for ATC was Mark Fairbrother storming in at 1:11:08. He was followed by Stefan Hayes (returning from injury in 1:22:50), Chris Sardo (1:23:44), James Batcheller (1:32:48), Ruth Merry (1:37:02), Trish Kemp and Alix Rosindell, who was running her first 10 mile distance, (1:37:43), “Lady” Karen Allnut beating her PB by 13 seconds (1:40:06), Amanda Cooper (1:40:07) and Jim Hawkins (1:46:50). Well done everyone – great effort! Then it was off for ice cream and hot cross buns.

Post Race Report :: Garry Curley – Great Barrow Challenge Marathon


Not content with running 5 marathons in March, I had the chance to tag along with some friends and add a 6th marathon to my schedule, so of course I said yes and made this another weekend of 2 marathons:

Saturday – Great Barrow Challenge Marathon

For my birthday this year I wanted to run a marathon and found a great little marathon in Cambridgeshire. A beautiful road marathon with a small field of around 50 runners. A great event that seemed downhill all the way, one to head back to for sure.

Monday – Enigma Reverse Marathon.

My bonus marathon was back to Milton Keynes (where I had raced 2 weeks earlier) for another 7.5 laps of Caldecotte IMG_2981lake. Thankfully the worst of the weather seemed to stay in Kent and aside from it being a little windy, a bright sunny day awaited. A nice steady marathon with great support and a good field. 

That is it for March. It has been fun. 

1 month

6 medals

157.2 miles raced

Next race in 2 weeks. The Centurion running South Downs Way 50.


Post Race Report :: Mandy Cooper :: Taking the brakes off for my first duathlon

IMG_3883To say I was a tad nervous about my first duathlon is an understatement! This would also be my first cycling event, but I was assured that the traffic free bike course would be suitable for a novice like me. So, I got up early on race day (far too early for a Sunday morning!) to make sure I had time for porridge and to get Clive, my bike, into my little Fiat 500. Putting the seats down and removing the front wheel no problem!

Arriving at the cyclopark soon after 7:30am (still far too early!). I was pleased and relieved to see lots of the ATC team already in situ, in fact Sally followed me into the car park. After registering Sally took Dee, Karen and me to do a warm up lap of the bike course. Seeing the sharp bends and noticing the speed of some of the other riders the nerves were kicking in!

So, back to transition to rack the bikes and faff before the race brief. We were told that the bike course had been altered, so we were to do 10 laps instead of 8. Great! Counting & cycling are not one of my strong points!

Off we set onto the first run. Running with Dee we kept a steady, easy pace. I did want some fuel in my legs for the bike, after all!. The run started with an incline and went out over the motorway through the countryside before coming back over the motorway to a nice downhill.

Completing the run it was straight into transition and up to the bike course with Clive. Everyone else was already on the course, but it wasn’t as scary as I first thought, so after a few laps I managed to settle down and actually enjoy it. I even managed to use the brakes less on each a lap (perhaps because I was going slower?). There was so much encouragement and support from all of the ATC team on the bikes, not to mention from Mandy and Julie who were supporting from the side lines. Thank you ladies – that was brilliant. It was also helpful that the marshals were counting the laps, so that also took the pressure off.

By the time they told me I had finished there were only a few cyclists left on the course (they were doing the longer distance, obviously), so off I went in transition. After a bit of faffing I thanked Clive, remembered to take off my helmet and set out on the second run, where I saw several ATC team members coming back in from their runs. The second run course was the same as the first and as each km passed I enjoyed the run more, until it was back down the slope to the finish line. All over too soon!

Pleased to see the rest of the team at the finish line we waited for the last runners to come in before the prize giving. ATC almost swept the board …… although a recount was needed for the ladies over 40’s!

That was such an enjoyable morning. Huge thanks to everyone at ATC for your support and encouragement, without which I definitely wouldn’t have done this. You are all very inspirational and I’m looking forward to my next event now!


Post Race Report :: Julie Abbott :: Trophies Glitter on a Cloudy Day for Ashford Tri Club Members at Duathlon

IMG_4927The Sprint Duathlon, the first Championship Race of the year, took place on Sunday 20th March 2016 at the Gravesend cyclopark.  The weather was not very cheerful but the bright blue of team colour brightened the skies as 19 members of ATC tacked the 5km run, 20km cycle and then another 5km run. For 6 members this was their first Duathlon or Multi-Sport event.

ATC members Alex Milne won the event overall with Jon Pearce bagging 3rd place.  Sally Aspital also took 3rd place ladies. There was also an ‘over 40’s’ winners awards, of which ATC members took many including all 3 Women’s placings with Karen Allnutt, Dee Hogwood and Mandy Cooper taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd – all of whom were first timers!

So the Club Champions this weekend were Alex Milne and Sally Aspital.

Alongside the Sprint Race, a Standard Distance race was held consisting of 10km run, 40km cycle and 5km run with 2 ATC members taking part. Mark Fairbrother and Andrew Brackley won 2nd and 3rd in the ‘over 40’ category.

Results can be found here.


Post Race Report :: Garry Curley – Week at the knees marathon – Day 2


IMG_2873Following a fantastic marathon on Saturday, I set about getting up the next day and taking on Marathon number 4 in March. This was a reverse running of the course completed Saturday and was a beautiful day.

The legs were very sore and heavy so the aim of this race was to get around and enjoy the day. (While possibly stopping to play in the kids park).

I had a great day and picked up another medal as part of my 5 marathons in March challenge.

4 down, 1 to go




Garry Completes 3rd Marathon in March

Garry continued his quest for 5 marathons in March,c86c54a9-4108-4eaf-8304-05d817454d99 by travelling to Milton Keynes to run day 6 of the Enigma Racing “Week at the Knees – 7 marathons in 7 days”.

After a great build up and training plan, he felt today would be the day to target the elusive sub 4 hour time.

Pacers had been arranged to help him with this quest and after just 2 laps of the 7.5 lap race, had started to pull a lead on the pacers. Feeling strong he continued the strong pace and just hoped the wheels stayed on the wagon and did not fall off as they always have in previous sub 4 attempts.

Thankfully all the training paid off and Garry completed the race in 3 hours 38 minutes and finished in 5th place.

Marathon #15 done.

3/5 in March Done

Well done Garry!

Post Race Report :: Ruth Newman at the Deal Tri Winter Series Duathlon

ruth-newmanDeal Tri Winter Series Duathlon: round five 13 March 2016 Betteshanger Country Park

1.9 mile run, 10.1 mile bike, 1.9 mile run.

Having not managed to enter rounds one to four I made a special effort to enter the fifth and final round. If you’ve not done a race at Betteshanger:  it’s a proper cycling track, with a path round the outside, so traffic-free, fast and a great place to have a go at cycling if you’re not confident or want to improve your bike-handling skills safely.

I’ve done a few of these races in the past and have experienced the course in all weathers. Imagine my delight as I pushed my bike up on to the track in bright sunshine and into a stiff north-easterly wind.  I was then greeted by the sight of a large number of serious-looking children wearing race numbers, all of whom were built like whippets, were better dressed and riding better bikes than me.  Undaunted, I racked my bike and warmed up, while surreptitiously looking around for anyone who I might be in with a chance of beating,  or at least keeping up with.

Carefully choosing my spot at the back of the 27-strong pack, the words “go hard, or go home” popped into my head and I set off at a brisk (for me) pace, which I managed to keep up for the duration of the run, thanks mainly to the woman who overtook me and who I then felt obliged to get in front of and keep behind me.  The running track was pretty dry and the only hindrance was the wind, which made running west-east a challenge, but which seemed to make little difference when it was behind me. 15min 37 secs later, I staggered into transition and farted about taking off my trail shoes, having forgotten to put my stretchy tri laces in them.  This allowed the woman I had overtaken to catch me up and leave transition in front of me.

I had to wait a bit before getting on to the track, as the decent cyclists were hurtling down the fast downhill section like a train.  As I watched them disappear into the distance, I elegantly mounted my bike and peddled for all I was worth to get the most out of going downhill with the wind behind me before rounding the bend at the bottom and riding into it.

I swear that the wind speed increased with each lap. I literally threw caution to the wind and managed to go a bit faster downhill at the end of each lap – clocking up speeds that an elite rider would regularly churn out on the flat sections of  Le Tour on a bad day – but the uphill/into the wind sections took my breath and my bravado away.  I did, however, catch my rival and reel her in, putting plenty of air between us.

Thighs screaming, I hurtled down the home straight of the fifth and final lap, mentally preparing myself for transition and the second run.  I left transition with my rival just behind me (my gloves got stuck due to sweaty hands) and with my legs feeling stronger than I had dared hope. By this time, there were no other competitors to be seen ahead, so it felt like less of a race, more of a solo training run. However, I knew SHE was there, hoping that I would crack, so I dug in and kept going, finishing the second run in 16:40, giving an overall time of 1:11:37 and coming in 24th out of 27.

It was a really enjoyable race, despite the wind, and I would recommend these duathlons – which also take place during the evenings in summer –   to anyone, as:

  • They are on a lovely smooth track and you feel like a proper cyclist going round the bends
  • They only cost £5 to enter + £2 car parking
  • They are really friendly
  • You get free flapjacks at the end