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7th March 2020, Taupo, New Zealand
Leith’s Peter Hughes’s humorous take on his magnificent Ironman accomplishment in Taupo
(For a full breakdown on Peter’s results through the various stages >> Results Peter Hughes, DUNEDIN TRIATHLON & MULTISPORT CLUB)
Up at 6am on a pleasant Saturday morning, breakfast, wander down to the Taupo Domain – into transition to drop off bike helmet & drink bottle then down to the lakefront. Water looks cold and choppy but all the 70.3 field are starting to come in OK. 7:45am the pros line up and are gone, The rest of us go into the water for a mass start at 8am ( all 1200 of us – that’s a lot of bodies trying to swim in the same place.)
We’re off – give others a bit of a start, then start swimming – still a lot of bodies, I’ve been kicked , punched and dunked a number of times and we haven’t even reached 2km. Gone under again – come up and recommence swimming… oh shit that’s the wrong way. Turn around and swim in the right direction. All going well now, Im tiring but have done 3km – only 800m to go.
Out of the water – not last in 1hr 30min. Stagger uphill to bike transition, into change tent. Volunteers help me strip off wetsuit ( damn these things are awkward when your hands don’t work so well), Into bike gear, fetch bike and jog to mount area. Speaker announces the pros have just turned around at Reporoa ( the 45km bike turn around) – they better look out I’m after them!
Bike up over the first hill and down the other side – reaching 70km/h and people still catching up and passing me – Ha I’m a much faster swimmer if you were behind me!
Turn at Reporoa (45km down), at 65km the pros lap me – they’re only 115km ahead of me.
Back up the big hill to Taupo into main st to the Domain – what is that idiot spectator pushing their bike across the course doing, three of us nearly collect her. Up the finishing straight – only another 90km to go on the bike. Back out to Reporoa, bit slower coming back. Well I have been on the bike for over 7hrs.
Finish the bike, into the run transition – change of footwear and were off for the marathon. Its now 5:30 pm and still a pleasant day but long. Only 3x 14km laps and its flat so they say. They lied.
Just keep moving is about all you can aim at, and the hardcase crew at the unofficial drink station 5km from end of lap – they are serve cider, Corona or Heineken – a sip of Corona was rather nice. Great crowd along the way, cheering people on, my hand is getting tired from high fives and fist bumps but that’s OK it takes my mind off my sore legs and arms. At the turn around point on each lap we get a coloured wristband to signify which lap we are on – thought about mugging someone for the next colour so I didn’t have to do the next one but he would not have given it up easy.
Finally on the return journey of last lap – God its dark out here! – cant even see the cones marking the course in some areas. Eventually get to the finishing straight, down the red carpet and the man is chanting the magic words “ Peter Hughes from Dunedin, sixty, you are an Ironman!” More importantly I’m able to stop and its only 10:51pm on a pleasant evening and I feel for the remaining 200 people still out there. They must be even more stubborn than I am.
Time 14:51:22 – personal best time (and probably only time!)