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TOPIC: Ironman 70.3 Edinburgh race report

Ironman 70.3 Edinburgh race report 05 Jul 2017 22:40 #12665

  • RobS
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I always enjoy reading race reports, so here is my account of Ironman 70.3 Edinburgh which was held last weekend. This was the inaugural Edinburgh 70.3 and, while there were a few teething problems, it’s an event that hopefully will earn a permanent place in the UK and Ireland circuit.
I flew across to Scotland on Friday evening. Somehow it cost more to transport my bike on Ryanair (€120) than it did to transport the 4 humans accompanying it. In any event, the bike, packed in a hard case, arrived safe and sound.

On the Saturday, registration was smooth, as you would expect for an Ironman event. The biggest issue with this event is logistics. It’s quite spread out, which did create transport hassles. Initial registration was at Meadowbank Stadium in Edinburgh’s east. Then it was a 15-minute walk to T2, where the run bag must be dropped. Then it was a 20-minute drive to T1 to drop off the bike and bike bag.

Race day dawned with a howling westerly wind blowing. The swim is in the Firth of Forth at Prestonpans, a rather bleak looking village about 20 minutes drive east of Edinburgh city centre. The organisers made the disappointing decision (for some) to shorten the swim course to 950m – even for the pro athletes. In the end it was probably the right call. There was a rolling swell accompanied by plenty of wind-blown spray and surface chop. Water temp was about 13 deg. While the rolling start ensured an orderly entry, once in the water it was total carnage. I saw several shellshocked swimmers being hauled into the rescue boat, having not made it 50m to the first buoy. Others were hanging off kayaks all along the entire swim course. All up, about 40 people DNFd the swim. Plenty of other were non-starters. I was happy enough, but drank plenty of seawater. Sighting was a real challenge. And I had to breathe left for the first half, which is not my natural side. But I got around reasonably comfortably in 20 mins.

Onto the bike course, which headed further east along the coast, before turning clockwise through pretty villages and rolling farmland and completing the circle westwards (and into the gale) back into Holyrood Park in Edinburgh. The first 10 miles were fantastic with the wind at my back. The hills kicked in soon thereafter. In total there was 1000m of ascent over the 90km, but no one hill was too dreadful. There were a couple of very hairy descents, though, and I saw 2 bad crashes. While some complained about the road surface, for the most part it was fantastic. Much smoother than the typical cheese grater surface we have here. Cruelly, the most challenging section was at 88km, a long steep drag into Holyrood Park, before a steep descent to T2. I finished in 3hr11min, which was slower than I’d hoped, but not so bad on a lumpy course with strong winds.

More hills were in prospect for the run. It was a lumpy three-loop course in Holyrood Park, including a 1km section on each loop through an old railway tunnel (Garmin nightmare!). Each 7km loop had no more than 500m of flat. The rest was either up or down. For the first time in forever, I managed to avoid quad cramps, so chugged along steadily but not wanting to push too hard. The sun shone, supporters were in fine voice and the sounds of bagpipers provided a unique soundtrack. And the peak at Arthur’s Seat (which thankfully we didn’t have to scale, was as majestic as ever looking over the action. Just a great run course. Thankfully the last 2km of each lap was downhill, so there was time to enjoy the last section of lap 3, knowing the hardest bits were over. Run done in 1hr52min, for a total time of 5hr32min.

The support on the course was wonderful. Villagers, volunteers and friends and family out in force. I didn’t get a sense the whole city totally embraced the event this year, but some big city Ironman events are like that – and it is still early days. However, there’s lots to like about this race. While it is not an easy course - particularly for 70.3 first timers – windy and hilly Wicklow is an ideal training ground. It’s certainly one to consider if you want a change of scene from Ironman Dublin. Just remember to practice breathing on both sides in the water beforehand!
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Ironman 70.3 Edinburgh race report 06 Jul 2017 09:00 #12666

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Hi Rob,

Thanks for sharing this. I like hearing about races too especially new ones. The split transition is always tough for competitors and spectators. Sounds like an honest day at the office. Well done on a great race.

Karen G.

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Getting back into it.....

Ironman 70.3 Edinburgh race report 06 Jul 2017 09:01 #12667

  • fiRed
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Well done Rob , sounds like good weekend


Fiona

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Ironman 70.3 Edinburgh race report 06 Jul 2017 09:51 #12669

  • michaelp
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Well done Rob! A great report and it sounds like a fantastic race! Fair play!!

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Ironman 70.3 Edinburgh race report 06 Jul 2017 12:51 #12672

  • Ciaraoneill
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Great report Rob and a great performance too. Well done! I was laughing at the idea of all the Garmin users freaking out that they were losing their GPS signal in the tunnel :lol:

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Ironman 70.3 Edinburgh race report 27 Jul 2017 09:38 #12816

  • damocoyle
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Awesome report Rob, well done and congratulations on competiting. Its always a bit of a bummer when the shorten the swim or worse cancel it but safety first and you got through it which is the main thing. Edinburgh is a truly epic place to be.

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Damo
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