This is a massive thank you to those that came and supported us, followed us through social media or sponsored us for our third challenge of 2015; the Isle of Wight half-ironman. Your continued support means we have now raised £840 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and are well on our way to hitting the £1000 target by the end of the year! If you would like to, please sponsor the team here.
Quite frankly, the weather on August 22nd was awesome and couldn’t have been better… Setting off on the 1.2 mile swim towards Cowes, the Solent looked more like a millpond than a major shipping route, with Dave and Matt making it look as easy as pie. There can be some challenging currents in the Solent, so we would always recommend checking the tides before setting out, but today these didn’t seem to bother the guys too much. A sense of foreboding was building in Matt who was determined to see each of the disciplines to the end, whilst the rest of the team (who were attempting their own individually-set challenges), were cheering from the sidelines, preparing to mount the bicycles and get breakfast ready for a quick transition.
A short hop across the chain ferry (featuring a minor marine accident with a sailing boat colliding into us and getting snagged on the chain) and the start of the round the island cycle; 67 hot and hilly miles lay ahead. It was now time for those that hadn’t swum to step up… Matt continued. If you have never attempted the ride around the island, then this definitely is worth doing. Although hilly and demanding for a sustained period (we took 4.5 hours), the speedy downs and stunning views of the island make this an unbelievably enjoyable day out. The route is fully signposted, meaning (despite a few early navigation challenges) you don’t need to have the navigation skills of a Scout to complete it.
It was a great feeling reaching the finish knowing that the team had just seen the entire island. Even better was the celebratory Vulcan Bomber flypast (OK, perhaps not specifically for the team!), which bounded overhead just on reaching Cowes. The euphoria didn’t last long though, as the reality that a half-marathon run was the next order of business suddenly dawned. Now, the transition from swimming to cycling may have been a little bit tricky, but going from a long cycle to trying to get into a running rhythm is something else. The first 30 minutes of running were hell, with the punishing heat and the beating down of the burning sun. Eventually, the route flattened out and became shaded, Matt (who was still going!) and Joe sped up to leave Adrian and Ollie (who were gearing up to stop at Newport) backmarking. Time was pressing on and the race to finish, in order to catch the ferry home was in our minds.
Newport was make or break. The team were greeted by an ever-growing group of supporters and had to make a decision; to either carry on as a team, or quit there and then and go home. Matt was physically exhausted, having been on the go for 12 hours already, and the rest couldn’t quite fathom out how to find the energy to continue. However, even if the going may have been a struggle, we had to push each other and carry on. The final 5 miles were extremely hard for everyone, but it was made easier knowing that the other teammates were there to keep spirits up. Finally, the end came in sight and the team finished with a cheer from the friends and family that had spent all day criss-crossing the island to keep up with us – what an awesome bunch! We had officially completed two-thirds of a half-ironman.
*Disclaimer: Except Matt, Matt actually completed a half ironman…