I qualified for the 70.3 World Championships to be held in Port Elizabeth South Africa at the Cairns 70.3 Ironman race back in June 2018 and since them my race calendar has been under constant revision. Its hard to focus on anything beyond September 2nd at the moment! I have never raced a World Championship event or represented Australia at any level in any sport, so there are a lot of first here for me!
I still scratch myself trying to figure out how I ended up here. This crazy journey has had me in a spin, so let’s go from the start. After qualifying the chaos of booking accommodation, flights and tours. It was a process but with the help of an awesome agent from Cleveland Travel Associates, I had it all sorted pretty quickly and my focus could be back on training.
My training, in the lead up to this race has been a lot more targeted and specific, working with Starfish Tri Athletic coach Ben, we’ve worked had to pick my running up. This has been (literally) my Achilles heal for years, we added in a heap of speed work, relying on a fairly well established base already. It seems to have worked in the past month I have ran personal best over 5km, 10km and half marathon (21.1km) distances. Essentially I’ve done what I could in the 10 weeks I had, could I have done more, probably, but given the time I invest in my training, I do the best I can!
So let’s get on to the event! We flew into Port Elizabeth, South Africa (via Singapore & Johannesburg) on Monday the 27th August landing after 24hours of travel (21hours in a plane). Meeting a few other Australian athletes on the plane and in the airport was a highlight of the journey! We were greeted at the airport by the amazing Jacquie from the Humewood Hotel! It’s the perfect venue for the event, close to T1 & about 1.5km from T2 (& the event village)! If your ever considering traveling to South Africa to do the Ironman, this is the perfect venue! They even do an early breakfast on race day for all athletes!
So far our biggest adjustment has been the tipping for service thing, a custom a little foreign for us less travelled Aussies! The weather has been everything we expected, a little cold & very windy! Port Elizabeth is known as the Windy City, and it’s living up reputation!
In the week leading up to he race I’ve managed to sneak in an open water swim, 2 course recon rides & 2 runs along the foreshore!
A highlight to our adventure in the week before our race was a 2 day safari to a private game reserve north east of Port Elizabeth called Pumba Private Game Reserve! Here we were treated to amazing accommodation and even better experiences seeing 4/5 of the big 5 animals of Africa! We even managed to survive an up close and very personal encounter with ‘Nick’ the 7 tonne elephant, almost staring eye to eye with him, mind blowing experience!
So enough of the fun stuff, let’s talk triathlon, the whole reason for this trip! Registration opened on Wednesday, the process similar to most other races I’ve done, with a few added extras! Here we had to have our photo and our finger print taken (bio-metric data). Why I’m still not entirely sure! The whole process flowed really smoothly given they are dealing with 4,509 athletes from 102 countries from all over the globe!
The next highlight was receiving our representative pins from Ironman Oceania from the legendary voice of Ironman Oceania Pete Murray! We then headed over to participate in the parade of nations, all 102 countries represented! At our hotel we have met athletes from Great Britain, Sri Lanka, USA, Portugal & New Zealand, it truly is a multicultural experience race at this level!
So with all the official pre-race activities complete it’s now time to get ready to race! First up we have the ladies race on Saturday! Super excited to see this and gain a little insight into the logistics of the transitions and just see how it all flows! Good luck to all the ladies racing representing your respective countries, but a special shout out to Team Australia, go crush it ladies!
I’ve packed my gear bags and set up my bike, tomorrow at 2:30pm I have to rack and hang my bags up ready to race on Sunday! I purchased a new TT helmet at the expo and am looking forward to christening it in its first race this Sunday! There are some interesting changes for this race, detailed in The Athlete Guide, but the main one is, riding on the right side of the road and passing on the left! That’s going to take some serious concentration! We also have wetsuit strippers, transition bags and bike catchers (no need to rack off the bike).
The following are links to my course recon maps and videos that I used back home to help me prepare, they gave me enough information that nothing was a big surprise when I arrived here!
What the maps (& even video) didn’t prepared me for was how amazingly beautiful this place is! The people have been so friendly. This truly is ‘the fiercest race in the friendliest city’! If your interested in following me on Sunday there is two ways:
Ironman Tracker App (available on iTunes & I think Google play)
I am athlete number 1269 – Terrance Britt
So the numbers here are the targets
Swim under 30 minutes starting at 7:38am (Aust time 15:38) 5 min in transition 1 (they are long & convoluted)!
Bike 2 hours 25 minutes finishing at 10:37am (Aust time 18:37) 5 min in transition 2 (see above)!
Run 1 hour 40 minutes (or faster is the dream) finishing at 12:22pm (Aust time 20:22)!
All that is left to do now is race, I’ll see you all on the other side with a full (overly detailed) race report (probably in a week or 2, as we take a few day to recover on the Garden Route) & travel back to Australia!
A journey like this isn’t possible without the epic support of some very patient people! First to my life travel companion Mel, you are my rock, my true north without you I am nothing! To my kids back home, you are my inspiration, I hope that you too can find you path in this crazy world and be happy being you! To our parents (Robynne, Maurice, Graham & Carol) thanks isn’t enough, your support over this two weeks is amazing, but even further back we love having you apart of our crazy world! To all my Starfish Tri Athletic club mates and fellow triathletes from the Redlands (& surrounding area), thank you for following my journey and supporting me during this conquest! There are lots of people I could thank from every facet of my life, special mention to my home parkrun at Capalaba (who’s support over the years has been unwavering), know that if we have crossed paths you are with me tomorrow as I race on this mega stage!
If you’re not active at the moment & need some inspiration, follow me on Strava, Instagram and like my facebook page and let’s get back out there swim, bike or running. Make sure you subscribe so you never miss a blog post from me! The biggest regret we can have in life is to not TRI!
Till next time build consistency, keep smiling and live to Tri!