Anything is possible…

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Costa del Sol, Marbella. More specifically, Puerto Banus. Home to super-yachts, supercars & the infamous ‘Golden Mile’ where you can find exquisite luxury beachfront property in one of the most sought after locations in Europe.

Home too to the second ever Ironman 70.3 Triathlon event, last year’s being the inaugural. And what a cracking place to have a race whether it’s before, during or after you’ve given it your all.

Troy Thexton, a pal of mine who owns a bike service and repair business called Tyred & Cranky based in Kirk Michael came along. Part support, part mechanic, part coach. Set up the bike and talked me through the race step by step drawing from all his previous triathlon race experience whilst racing for Australia in his youth. Priceless.

A triathlon comprises three events. Swim, bike and run. And a ‘70.3’ is the total distance in miles.

Swim (1.9km)

I was bricking it. I’m new to this stuff, especially middle and long distance events. And sea swimming wasn’t something I’d done any of before this event. Anyway, managed a little practice the day before and the morning of the race in almost perfect shark attack conditions….

I was told that the swim was the closest thing to a mass start as possible. 2,000+ competitors entering the water within 5 mins of each other. Then the swell came. Hard work. Lots of flailing arms and legs in the way making finding clear space difficult. Best way to describe it was ‘messy’. But despite swimming 100m extra I managed a PB so pretty pleased to make it out of the water.

Bike (91 km)

T1 (transition) was chocca. Having run in to transition out of the water I couldn’t get to my bags. Too cramped, too many people there at the same time so by the time I’d sorted myself I’d taken nearly 9 mins. Someone asked the lads on the sidelines whether I was blow drying my hair….!

So the course took us out of Puerto Banus into Marbella along the Golden Mile and then up into the hills towards Ojen & Coin towards Mijas and north of Malaga by the time we turned around to head back towards T2. Approx 1,400m of climbing in total, hills were 6%-7% and the first little beauty was only 18km long! Followed a lad called Juan for a while. I was keen to ride alongside to see if he was from Port St. Mary.

Also spoke to a guy half way up who was clearly struggling with the hill and heat. He was from Norfolk. Pretty flat at home he said. I told him I was from the Isle of Man where hills, headwinds and more hills are everywhere before clicking a couple of gears and showing him my back wheel. That made me chuckle for a while too. Anything to keep my mind off the bloody difficult challenge this cycle really was!

After a few more climbs and plenty of false flats, the final descent was nothing short of awesome. Hit 72kph on the winding closed roads which was superb, a fantastic final 12-15km.

T2 was straightforward. Far less busy on account of me being towards the back of the field I expect.

Run (21.1km – Half Marathon)

Hot. Hard. But what an incredible atmosphere. Running through Puerto Banus with live bands, huge crowds and lots of support, the out along the promenade towards Marbella. Two loops & then the finishing run onto the red carpet and across the line to complete my first, and hopefully not last, 70.3.

Couldn’t recommend this race more. Great location, warm but tough swim, very hilly bike and a great run.

Next time we’ll go quicker.




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