Ironman Mallorca 2021,
Saturday 16th October
Report – Hannah Osborne
Last week there was a quiet, shy, innocent bunch from SAC that headed off to Mallorca to shop, sleep, read and play boardgames whilst 3 tri club members competed in Ironman Mallorca.
Pah, who am I kidding – no one!
We went to Mallorca with spirit and loud voices to support 3 awe inspiring SAC Triathletes.
I will add there was lots of shopping by one supporter. I will leave that up to you to work out who.
Emma Bexson, David Hudspith & John Devine took to the start line of the race that would see them take on a 2.4 mile sea swim, followed by 112 miles on an undulating bike course then into a flat 26.2 mile run to cross the finish line and be told they were Ironmen.
Emma, well used to racing at Ironman was in great shape off the back of some hard training this year with the prospect of competing in Kona. With this cancelled, Mallorca became the focus.
David & John were taking this on as their 1st Ironman and both relatively new to triathlon having both started with the Stratford Sprint tri 2 years ago.
In David’s words “Just after completing my first sprint triathlon in Stratford, I was speaking with John who invited me to join him in entering an Ironman Race in Ireland. ‘Sounds interesting’, I said, ‘what is it?’ “
Ireland had been cancelled too, so here they all were.
David Hudspith’s race:
There was a few very last-minute purchases (bike nutrition bag, tyre levers and bike pump!!) from the Ironman Expo and it was time to line up on the beach ready to swim.
The swim was crowded but it was great fun and went better than expected so a big thank you to Simon, Carl and Joe for their coaching on Saturday mornings. Next, it was on to the bike where the views were stunning. The most enjoyable part of the day was the fast and technical descent off the mountain, through the traditional villages and on towards Can Picafort.
Back into Alcudia for the run. For someone who does not enjoy running, the support of the crowd really made the difference and none more so than the Stratford crew (plus my wife and Sayer) who seemed to be everywhere on the course and willing you over the finish line. Time to celebrate!
Swim: 1:01:56 Bike: 5:29:55 Run: 3:49:42 Total time: 10:35:11
John came to become an Ironman to prove to himself that anything is possible. If you haven’t seen it, this video from Ironman shows what has kept him focused and believing. https://youtu.be/qjxxYoL7nSU
John being someone who has been know to forget his helmet for a duathlon and forget his timing chip before a triathlon, actually arrived with everything (even after his bike box was too heavy and had to be emptied in part at the airport!)
John, along with David has been a regular at Saturday morning coached swim sessions and also he also found having a triathlon coach helped immensely in his race preparation.
John embraced the day from start to finish. Whenever he was spotted on the course he was smiling and he can be hugely proud of his achievement and journey. Having had a few niggles in the weeks leading up to the race, he came out and gave it his all and that showed.
When asked what he felt about the day, he said: Overwhelming, Pain, Emotional
“It’s hard to pinpoint one thing that stands out as it was all amazing but the best parts were being in the water especially when I was terrified of doing that. Descending through small winding roads was breath-taking and of course the all-round overwhelming support of everyone”
Swim: 1:18:11 Bike: 6:25:04 Run: 4:24:17 Total time: 12:26:18
Emma came to race and race she does. She trains hard and reaps the rewards of that. She has also had many setbacks from injury & bike crashes but she has never let this stop her, she comes back stronger.
Her story, like those of David & John is one of determination and resilience but a very different race day.
Emma had a great swim. She had been out in the water a few times since being there and was round the 2 laps in her prediction.
Next up the bike. A large climb early on was something Emma would be strong on. Only 9 miles after heading out on the course, another cyclist went into Emma and she was off the bike, badly hurt and a badly damaged bike. Not being one to give up, Emma let the other cyclist know her feelings (!!), did what she could to get her bike useable and got moving before the medics could arrive and stop her continuing. With a dislocated shoulder, blood pouring from her elbow and fingers, 4 mechanical stops and over 100 miles later she was back to transition.
Having got that far, she was not prepared to stop and give up. Emma then ran an incredible 3:32 marathon with her supporters doing all we could to support and encourage her. She showed what a World Class, determined, strong athlete she is.
Swim: 1:02:51 Bike: 5:54:15 Run: 3:32:56 Total time: 10:41:02
Once over the finish line she was treated at hospital with Hannah her daughter with her. Pain relief, X-rays, sling, staples in arm and some stitches and she was out, changed and still celebrating the day.
She was even on the shots with John – think they were both using it as pain relief but they both definitely deserved to celebrate.
What a day. You can’t be at an event like that and not be changed, inspired and feel emotional by each and every individuals journeys. It was an honour to watch and support David & John become Ironmen for the 1st time and also to see the inner strength of Emma do what she did that day.
Don’t worry, us supporters completed our own long event that day; in the sea getting stung by jellyfish at the start, running around in flipflops (not advisable), making A LOT of noise, dancing in the streets, waving flags, Granny keeping everyone entertained, and of course we had to keep hydrated with lots of beer. Lets just say by the end we were well known by racers, locals and the organisers who all now knew Stratford AC were awesome (and loud)