November Get Back On It Challenge

November Eating Clean, Training Mean & Getting Lean Challenge

Join me In my November Eating Clean, Training Mean & Getting Lean Challenge

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As my end of season fat month comes to an end this is when I need to get back to some sort of decent training before another short break at Xmas before the real work starts in January. So to keep myself focused I’ve decided to go all November with NO Chocolate and NO Crisps and everyday I’m going to do 60 abdominal exercises and 60 seconds held plank. The 60 60. I’m also going to get in the pool 5 times each week to get my swimming back up to scratch.

Sounds easy but can you do it ?? if so join me for all or some of it ?? (as I know not everyone who reads these emails is a swimmer. Non swimmers can commit to do 5 fitness sessions per week instead)

So far a few have joined me and committed so I’m naming them on here to show they are on board!!!

NO Choc & Crisps November and 60 60 challenge signed up list

Steve Clark, Gary Baugh, Ben Baugh, Marie Wilson, Richard Ogden, Isabel Turkington, Richard Stenton, Neil Buchan, Ben Richardson, Paul Mcewan, John Chambers, Sam Ritson, Chris Gibbs, Lesley Hattersley, Rob Carpenter, Kev Fish, Alexa Fish, Jane Taylor, Daz Sharpe, Lindsay O’Connor, Nicky Robinson, Aiden Grocock, Jordan Skelly, Jacqui Saxon and Hope the Dog

Throughout Nov all those on board keep posting your tips and pics to Off That Couch Fitness’s Facebook and Twitter @offthatcouchfit

Good Luck and time to get Lean

The journey by one of the good guys Steve Beevers

The journey from the beginning to my 2nd Ironman – IRONMAN WALES 2015!!

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Back in January 2011, I stood on the scales weighing just under 18 stone and at this time I was a long distance lorry driver. I enjoyed drinking my body weight in beer on my days off so the thought of a Ironman triathlon would have never entered my mind .

Sick of being out of breath just getting out of my cab to get onto my truck-trailer and driving machines on and off it, the time had come to get a bit fitter. I was always active as a kid and into my twenties but like we all do, the comforts of life take over and the weight piles on.

So I start running – well I say running – under the cover of darkness. I shuffled along the streets panting and sweating like a mad man with a red face and hiding behind hedges if someone one was coming the other way! Ha, funny when I look back . Then after a few pints on a Saturday night with a good mate of mine I mentioned to him I’d started shuffling, he laughed and said lets join a running club! Well 2011 we entered the Lincoln 10k which at that time it could have been a hundred miles but we did it. The bug had started. Then we did York 10k, by this time the weight was coming off massively and at that time Chris, my friend, had entered the Brigg Sprint Triathlon and in his way said that’s what you want to be doing Beevers, triathlons, to which I laughed because apart from retrieving my wife’s airbed out of the swimming pool on holiday that’s as good as my swimming got. But listening to the excitement in his voice after doing it, I was talked into it and our new mission and it was set.

So after joining Lincsquad and a few sprint triathlons and increase in the distance of our running we steadily increased our game, booking the 2013 Edinburgh marathon together. I also booked Exmoor 70.3. Chris went bigger and booked full distance in Germany, Challenge Roth!! I wasn’t ready for that distance, the thought of it made me feel a bit sick. Chris and I already knew Steve Clark through his early morning Boot Camps and Circuits on a Wednesday night, and Chris was already on one of Steve’s coaching plans and it was working well for him when I approached Steve to help me and then it was on the path for bigger and harder things.

Tragically Chris had a serious cycling accident in February 2013 when out on a training ride and sadly passed away due to his injuries. I was gutted and nearly packed it all in but something changed in 2013 for me, I couldn’t pack it in, I had to finish off what we had started together. It was hard for a start because I’d lost my friend and training partner, but on the other side through Lincsquad I’d met some good mates who wouldn’t let me pack it in.

So I cracked on and completed the two races and a few more as well and even managed to get an award what had been created in the memory of Chris, the Christian Brown award at the Lincsquad annual awards evening! A good finish to a terrible year.

Then the Ironman story began through a joking text between me and Clarky. I remember it starting like “what do you think to me doing Ironman Wales 2014?” His reply was “get it booked, I’m doing it!” So £400 later I’m in. Then the training started. Hard graft, long rides, long runs and swim sessions, all in between trying to work 60 to70 hours and family time with the kids. (Oh and spending time with my beautiful wife, too.) But on the good side, you start to feel the fittest you’ve ever been in your life.

The 2014 Ironman Wales race was mind blowing, The sea was rough that year and the mad rush off the beach at the start is just what you need to get the blood rushing. Out of the sea for the second time, up the ramp to transition just stopping for a sneaky kiss with the wife who was screaming her head off in the crowd.

Into T1 then out onto the bike, the crowds are amazing in Wales shouting and waving, just what a virgin Ironman needs to get them through a very hard day. The bike course is a hard one in Wales but manageable and the people just stood everywhere giving you encouragement. It does help because you feel, in a way, stopping or slowing would be letting them down. And when you leave T2 to go out on the run, the town of Tenby is alive with people all willing to get to the end and hear those magic words YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

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It must have hurt enough in 2014 because after 2 days sat at home I booked it again for 2015.

2014 Ironman was just to do one and complete it and nothing about the time, however this time I wanted to go quicker and beat my PB.

Changing jobs at the beginning of 2014 and beginning a varied shift pattern meant training was forced to be done when I could squeeze it in around the shifts and family life, sometimes missing vital sessions, i.e. swimming.

However, I did what I could and I still managed a PB time at Manchester Marathon in April 2015 of 4hrs 17mins.

6 weeks before Ironman Wales, training became even more difficult when I damaged the cartilage between my ribs playing football with my son!

Swimming became non-existent at this time and running became uncomfortable.

I managed to recover though and off we went to Wales.

My 8 year old son Ben travelled down with us and ran in the Ironkids race, watching him and having him down there watching me, I was more at ease this time as I did not worry as much about the race.

The morning of the race, we walked down to the beach and the crowds were just as busy as last year. The sea looked really calm.

This year they did a staggered walk in rather than a mad rush into the sea, which was a lot better.

Once I started to swim I realised the swell was very strong and it seemed quite choppy at times. Despite this, my time wasn’t much different to last year, probably due to the lack of swimming.

Finishing the 2nd lap and getting out of the water, and up the ramp, saw my family again, high 5’s all round and off to T1 and out onto the bike.

Through the crowded streets, a fantastic show of people, again, and out onto the long ride, I felt fantastic this year and felt confident I would manage a 7 and a half hour bike time.

However, it wasn’t meant to be, as a fast descent back into Pembroke, slowing at the bottom of the hill, my front tyre blew out, tearing a hole in the tyre. A marshall said there was a mechanic 2 miles up the road so I bodged the tyre up and road very slowly to the next village to get it replaced, costing me a valuable 40 minutes of my precious time.

Getting back on the bike, I felt cold and my legs were really heavy. This then became a mind game, whether I would finish and the PB had most definitely gone out of the window!

Passing my family again through Tenby their cheers and encouragement gave me the boost I needed to keep me going, I had to finish for them as much as myself.

Finishing the bike and back into T2, I was met by a man who had had similar luck to me on the bike and he admitted he was in tears thinking he might not finish, so I put my counselling hat on and gave him some encouragement and said it was possible. He shook my hand and gave me a big smile.

So onto the run, passing the family again and muttering why I’d took so long on the bike, I took off up Tenby hill. I felt great on the first lap, but by the 2nd I was clearly lacking sugar as I felt high as a kite, but plenty of coca cola seemed to cure this for a short time. Then it was just a case of running the downhills and walking the ups, and getting the job done. At one time even my Garmin gave up as the battery died and I had to ask random people what time it was.

On the last lap, through the streets of Tenby, the atmosphere was just as great as the year before. Running up the red carpet and hearing those magic words, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN! Has to be one of the best feelings ever.

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I would just like to thank my family for putting up with my unsociable hobby, but also for their support in the big races. Without them it would be so much harder.

Thanks for reading

Steve Beevers

Sundowner Middle and Sprint Triathlons

The relevance of the name ‘Sundowner’ probably needs more explanation to those that haven’t done this race before. Most races involve setting your alarm clock and rushing, still bleary eyed to race briefing for 07:30.

Not this one! This race starts at the more friendly hour of midday. This is great for getting your kit and race prep down to the finest detail but aren’t you just prolonging the inevitable………….. The fact you have an Half Ironman to do before the Sun comes down?

Luckily for the 6 OTCF athletes the event organisers ‘Freebird events’ threw in a sprint race during the morning for some appetite whetting which helped reduce portaloo queuing and nails getting gnawed.

Now if you ever wanted inspiring before your own race then the Middle distance racers were lucky to have one of the most exciting races served as an apertiff. Two of the OTCF young guns Ben Baugh and Jordan Skelly also joined by Lincsquads rising star Aiden Grocock all of whom have achieved some magnificent results this year went head to head and grabbed all three podium positions.

LINCSQUAD ONE, TWO & THREE in the morning's Sprint race.

 

Ben Baugh managed to close a slender gap from Jordan’s swim on the bike meaning the two left T2 together. These in-form OTCF RT athletes then ran a 17:00 min dead, slightly long, 5K distance to set up a sprint finish with Ben just dipping at the line to be awarded the winner by just one second!

Aiden Grocock impressing the OTCF scouts could only watch his team mates in awe to what was transpiring in front despite putting in the fastest bike leg and a respectable 18:02 minute run himself.

The Sundowner Half Ironman.

Well, how do you follow that! The bar was somewhat raised.

2015 European Gold medalist and race favourite Steve Clark lived up to the hype in what turned out to be a lonely race for him destroying the rest of the field by almost 10 minutes. A gallant effort from OTCF RT teammate Steve Grocock for putting some distance into him on the bike but a 24 mph average for the 56 miles wasn’t enough to prevent Clark galloping past during his 1 hr 24 min half marathon. Clark’s win and Grocock’s 5th place overall including Age group win wasn’t quite enough to mirror the young guns, but still had the OTCF team coming away with the prizes.

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Before I go on I think it only fair to mention ex-OTCF Client Alex Bradley (who now races and trains with Oxford University). Alex had a storming race finishing in first position overall on the day. Later that night, when uploading his bike course to Strava he realised he’d ridden a slightly shorter course to the rest of the competitors due to downloading last year’s bike route onto his Garmin. Alex, admirably informed Freebird events to be removed from the results and also got in contact with the ‘second’ placed competitor (Steve Clark) to apologise for his error. There is a post from Alex on the Lincsquad Facebook apologising to all and in particular, Steve. This was a massive shame as you could have thrown a blanket over the two during the swim and their run times were within twenty seconds of each other. Although a few miles short, Alex’s average ride time suggests he was motoring and could have set up (like the sprint race) another epic battle to the line.

 

Jane Taylor must be a strong contender for Lincsquad’s 2015 female of the year. The Lincolnshire Edges’ overall winner was stepping up to the Half Ironman distance for the first time. Despite a few nerves, (maybe because she was the sole female Lincsquad entrant) Jane put in another incredible performance coming away, yet again with more silverware(and fruit) with her age group win.

 

Jane Taylor in her first Half Iron distance and another Age Group win

 

Steve Grocock 5th overall and Age Group Win.

 

Gary Baugh (83rd) appeared to make this event look comfortable but I guess having recently done the full Ironman distance in Austria then this was a park walk for Gary. The long winter hours on the bike saw Gary post the 4th fastest Lincsquad bike time.

Gary Baugh enjoying the run?

Massive thanks to all the OTCF and Lincsquad supporters, this time there were just too many to mention. Please believe us as competitors when we say we truly appreciate it. On races like this it’s those cheers, cowbells & claps that keep you going. I can’t believe any other team had has much raucous support as Lincsquad, thanks to all and get signed up for next year.

Race report by Steve Grocock

thanks for reading

 

Triathlon Camps 2016

Triathlon Camps 2016

Real Fitness & OffThatCouchFitness – Triathlon Training Mallorca Camps 2016

Who’s joining us in 2016? Its all about preparation & planning! Book onto our Spring 2016 Camp before 1st July to get our BEST offers!!! Mallorca Triathlon Camps 2016!

We're coming back in 2015

This is not just a cycling holiday like many in Mallorca! this is a triathlon specific training camp for sprint distance, olympic distance & Ironman training.
The Training weeks are run by qualifed triathlon experts who have a vast experience of Triathlon coaching, and who have competed at World Championships and Kona.Your time with us will be an ideal pre – race season training boost for all abilities from novices through to Age Group GB qualifiers.

1k run reps! after a Time trail bike session

Follow a structured Coaching/training plan for either 7 days, 10 days or 14 days…We will help you break down your training to help you manage your schedule yourself, and progressively improve throughout the season.

Reach your Peak in 2015

 

What do you guys get?

  • Open water  Sea Swim Analysis. Coached swim session everyday – *NEW FOR 2016* Open water Video Analysis, another Real Fitness & OffThatCouchFitness FIRST on the Big Island. We will give you the guidance to help you swim faster and more efficiently. Getting you to T1 quicker!

 

  • *NEW for 2016* Nutrition Workshops, another Real Fitness FIRST on the Big Island
  • Coached bike sessions – Plus all the bike handling skills you need to handle any course – Get to T2 quicker!

 

  • Running: Skills, Drills and Techniques. Coached Sessions will provide you with information and understanding needed to maximise your running potential – Interval Runs, Hill reps (cone run).Working on your run technique. Getting you to the finish line quicker
  • We’ll even pick you up and take you back to the airport! (terms apply.. saturday flights only)

 

Group Coached rides

No hidden costs

Location:-

Majorca, Cala saint Vincente, Pinos Altos (about 5k from Port Pollensa)Swim coaching

Dates available soon for 2016
Interested?
Get booked in today..
£100 will secure you a place on your chosen week.
Total ONLY £395 (£415 after Sept)
 plus we offer a bike and wetsuit transfer service of £80 (we take  and return your bike)
email –  steve@offthatcouchfitness.co.uk NOW or Call 07763602386
Weeks available
Saturday 2nd April to 9th April Last few spaces
Saturday 9th to 16th April SOLD OUT

always time for a coffee!

Off That Couch Fitness Triathlon Coaching Plans (Week By Week Coaching!)

OTCF help triathletes, duathletes, runners and cyclists of all abilities to reach their full potential and goals. Whether you are new to your chosen sport or have been racing for a number of years, We want to help you to reach your potential with a training plan designed to fit your goals and lifestyle. Our training plans will provide the focus you need to maximize your efforts, achieve your goals and race faster.They are affordable and hassle free. We are confident you will notice the difference from following one of our structured training plans. We can offer you a one off 8 – 20 week programme for any distance from super sprint to Ironman to follow leading up to your target event or a much more detailed weekly or monthly service. What are you waiting for? Contact us today

Reasons To Get A Qualified Triathlon Coach

  • A easy to follow structured monthly/weekly training plan
  • Training Plan tailored specifically to your needs
  •  Specific training goals set
  • Achieve your potential and beyond
  • A good coach will keep you motivated
  •  Swim sessions and drills
  •  Bike sessions on the road and turbo
  • Running sessions on the track, road and/or treadmill
  •  Strength & conditioning
  •  Race preparation and tactics
  •  Nutritional advice
  •  Unlimited emails/Phone Calls/Texts to your coach
  •  Training Plans for any level Novice to Elite
  •  Training Plans for any distance Sprint to Ironman
  •  Race/Train in the Off that couch fitness kit (optional)
  •  Your results and photos featured on our site (optional)
  • One on One coaching available (contact for options)

trainingpeaks

Dan Becomes An Outlaw

Outlaw race report

It all started 3 years ago as I watched my uncle on the run at the outlaw and running across the line with him, and I’m thinking to myself “yeah I can do that”.

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So it all began I started training, completed a few sprint distance events a couple 10ks and the odd sportive. Then upped the distance to Olympic and half distance races in the following year and half. After my outlaw half my uncle thought it be a great idea to enter me into the 2015 full outlaw.

I was very optimistic at this time thinking yeah I be fine, played it  all cool and collected. Started training hard but thinking I can’t take this lightly if I am going to do this I am going to do this properly and get some guidance and some coaching. Not knowing what was getting myself into.

So the date is 7th of January 2015 first time I had met Steve in person, heard a lot about him and his amazing achievements and accomplishments. My journey to be an outlaw had begun.

Weeks ticked by, improvements were huge, recent personal bests were tumbling, distances were increasing and my body and mind set were changing daily. I was pushing myself in ways I never knew I could.

steve and dan

So, after a great race at the Lincolnshire Edge standard triathlon in Cadney, my 2 week taper had begun. All the hard work had been done, all the long bike rides, runs, open water swims, hugely fun circuits on a Thursday nights and punishing sports therapy massages from Emma Davis.

So before I know it, it’s here Outlaw weekend!!

Car is packed, everything is checked and double checked and the drive down to Nottingham’s Holme Pierrepont began. I had been a nervous wreck all week and to some points actually scared due to the unknown endeavour that lay ahead.

Checking the weather all week, rain, rain, ahh looks like a nice day 22 degrees C and low wind, perfect conditions, oh wait rain and no escaping it now just have to embrace it.

Arrive at HPP and register. There is no going back now. Nerves are high.

Meet up with the Lincsquad gang for a quick chat and group picture before a half two race briefing. As soon as I sit down with a non-alcoholic isotonic lager I’m looking up at the screen trying to memorise the bike and run routes, where I need to go in the transitions to plan it all out in my mind in an attempt to ease the nerves, this one trick I have gained from 3 years of racing.

The briefing is over, I go to rack my bike and prepare my transition bags for the tent. Hang them up and remember where they are hung in relation to the hundreds of other identical others.

RACE MORNING.

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So its race morning, around 3:45am forcing down two pots of porridge and a coffee, closely followed by a carb drink.

Everything is laid out from the night before. I suit up with my tri-suit and calf guards, wrap up warm to step out of the hotel and jump into the car.

Music in my headphones are trying to contain my nerves as my uncle and I arrive at HPP.

Sipping on a carb drink from one hand and wetsuit in the other, I walk through the breaking dawn towards transition to check things to make sure everything is set.

Time is flying by and it is now 5:30am, final toilet trip, gel is down in one swift gulp, a sip of water and the wet-suit is on. Just as the zip is up and collar is fastened I just know everything is going to be  fine.

I jump into the very warm lake it feels like second nature to me now, everything feels great, no nerves, no worries, few warm ups and breathing drills to tell my body to be ready.

I look to my right from the first bay, in the lake all I see is hundreds of heads bobbing round like apples in a large bowl at Halloween.

Its ten seconds to go, I focus down the lake, the sun is shining and ducks are swimming away from all of us future Outlaws. 3…2…1… the hooter sounds and we are off. So many people, so many different journeys and stories to be here on this race morning.

I stay behind the lead pack for a matter of 50 meters then a group form besides me, as I settle into my relaxed stroke and get into rhythm for the long game. We all reach the top of the lake and cross the buoys; I stay in tight, the shortest line I can without entering the washing machine behind me as everyone battles for the same line. That’s it, home stretch now. Like a flash I am at the end of the swim and I stand up with a wetsuit of water, I reach for my cord to find my wetsuit is already undone and I run to T1.

I find my bag and get changed into the bike kit. Run out of T1 and find my bike over the mount line and away. I was aware that the rain was approaching but how soon and how many miles can I get under my belt before it hits. The answer, not enough, by mile 65 the rain hits and hits hard. The coat was on, legs spinning away and the mileage was falling. I reached roughly mile 73 and my old enemy self-doubt hit me like a train. Started to get a little emotional but I pulled it together and pushed it to the finish of the bike leg as wet as I was when I left the lake seven hours prior.

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T2 was rather funny as I could not feel my right hand due to the cold and I could not tie my tri-shorts. I turned to the gentleman next to me and asked” excuse me I couldn’t ask a favour could I? Could you tie my shorts please? I cannot move my right thumb” he replied with “well I have never been asked that before but sure no problem,” that must have been one of the funniest moments of the day.

So, running out of T2 I noticed I’m missing something… RACE BELT, I sprint back ask the kind marshalls do you still have my bag 274? Yes they do, I rummage through it and they get rid of my bag and I gallop off.

The run was wet and littered with puddles, I complete my first lap of the lake and start my first out and back section, cheered on by my uncle and father that had made it to see me. I make the turn point to an aid station,  in need of some food as I could not take any more gels and there I re-found the love for Jaffa cakes, they saved my day. Every aid station I had 2 or 3. I return to the lake for the second lap and here a voice from the other side “COME ON DAN ELLIS” thinking to myself,’ hell someone has awesome eye sight.’ I get to the other side and find the one and only Steve Clark and Steve Beevers cheering me on again. One thing Clark said to me that stuck all the way round the run is “keep the mind strong Dan and work, come on this is where it counts”.

dan

I plod on as the rain persists, and  I’m wet through to the skin. I’m tired of dodging puddles so sod it straight through I go. Time to dig deep, last two laps now. Lap 3 done, now a three quarter lap, half done only 1k to go. I muster everything, holding a moderate pace. 500 to go! I lift the pace 300 to go I hold my lifted pace, the carpet is there at my feet I see the finish… a final look over my shoulder to see if anyone Is there.. There is no-one, one final kick and kick hard and I am there

I AM AN OUTLAW…

I could not have done any of this without Steve Clark, pushed me to my old limits and now I must discover my new limit, what is next? Well, I shall have to see, but one thing shall remain, I shall remain part of ‘Off That Couch Fitness’ for as long as I possibly can.

 

 

 

Jordan Skelly Geneva European Triathlon Championships

The journey towards Geneva began at Dambuster Triathlon in 2014 where I qualified after a second place in the National Championships. Geneva soon became my ‘A’ race for 2015, where regardless of where I would finish I simply wanted to arrive in my best race shape. IMG_20150712_174241[1]

Everything leading into the race was going to plan, I had by far surpassed all expectations in earlier races in the year. With in particular my last race at Deva Triathlon going remarkably well as preparation for the big day. A national title at the same distance race as Geneva gave me great confidence.
Unfortunately after Deva I had picked up a illness (most likely from the questionable river water quality) which set me back a week. Still there were 3 weeks till the race and worrying I wouldn’t be able to recover to top form wasn’t going to get me anywhere. So I focused on making sensible choices and believe my body would recover again.
Race week came and form had been returning, and I was hitting figures not far off my best once again.
I headed out to Geneva on the Thursday prior to the Sprint race on the Friday where many Lincsquad team mates would be racing. Barely had I been there a few hours and I was fully into the atmosphere of the occasion with the GB team swarming the race (most likely 50% of the Championship field were GB athletes).
Temperatures were scheduled to be hot for all races and Friday didn’t disappoint for the Sprint racers. I watched the waves of athletes heading out into the lake trying to pick up as much course knowledge as possible.
As my team mates from home hit out solid races, I couldn’t wait until it was my turn!
A few practices on the course in the next few days later as well as watching the Elite races on the Saturday. And I was at total ease with the event, there was no pressure as my target was simply to enjoy racing in such a stunning location.
After racking my bike the night before I dropped a little pressure from my tyres in a bid to avoid a blow out, after +30°temperatures had played havoc with exploding inner tubes in the other races. A smart move I thought.
20150715_065236png[1]Race day – A 6.30am race start welcomed us, but not in the slightest did this bother me. The view was simply stunning and water temperatures of 21°c and a pan flat lake left me with no concern I was ever going to be cold or even drown!
We all were funneled down through the start pen to the swim start with minutes to go. But true to Swiss time keeping at 6.30 dead we were off.
I opted for the far right, maybe not the quickest line to the first buoy. Yet certainly much less traffic and fighting for the first 300m of swimming. My theory was if I wasn’t wrestling for positions from the start and getting into my stroke I would go faster despite a slightly longer route. This tack tick seemed to pay off and I thoroughly enjoyed the swim.
Exiting on to the swim ramp I had felt I’d had a reasonable swim. Looking at familiar faces running up the ramp confirmed it, as in previous races they had been much further ahead at this point.
Something near a 300m transition later I was out and onto the bike, with no hiccups in removing the wetsuit.
Within the first few miles we would all be greeted by first climb of the Chemin de l’limperatrice. A 0.6mile climb with a peak gradient at some 12% I believe. This was no issue for me, in fact it was disappointing we only climbed it twice!
The descent off the top was long and fast meaning speeds in close to 50mph were no issue. Baring in mind they had a vast collection of hay bales at the bottom for those who couldn’t make the turn at warp speed. Luckily my experience of the Mallorca Tricamp this year gave me confidence I could descend at top speed and make the corner without a trip to Hospital.
For 30k of the bike leg I was getting tired of the cat & mouse chase between blatant drafters. Who would sit on my back wheel before trying to move ahead then dropping back to again draft after realising they weren’t up to pushing the speed. Fortunately the bike marshalls here were very keen on penalties and I must have witnessed at least 8 or 9 athletes being pulled into the penalty box.
Calculating there was probably 5 minutes of effort on the bike remaining, I made a big effort to distance my surrounding competition. In training Steve had been giving me intervals similar to this so I had no questions my body could cope with red lining before then running hard.
A quick glance back before dismounting my bike and I’d distanced them..result! At least if there were strong runners in that pack I’d now have a advantage. 20150716_072630png[1]
Once again back into the 300m transition, and I must have taken at least 3 places just running to my racking position. This transition suited the runners, and gave me a whole new meaning to the 4th discipline.
Out on to the run I exited with a fellow GB athlete, it became quickly apparent he was equally as strong runner as me. There was little concern over a head to head battle with this guy though as he wasn’t in my age group. So I worked off his pacing, being quickly dragged through the field.
The support out on the run course was something I had never experienced before. With hundreds shouting you on and all my home support from Lincsquad etc really driving you on making substantial noise (Thanks everyone who came out to support me,  you really made my race special!)
The run as most know is my strongest event, and a quick rough update from a GB friend who I passed…. There was potential belief I could get near that podium!! Unbelievable!
Still not knowing positions the final 800m straight was upon me. Although there was nobody behind close to chase me down I was going to completely bury myself before that finish line. I hadn’t came out to Geneva not to hurt as much as physically possible.
Onto the blue carpet and one last kick. In the closing 5-10metres the commentary called my name, announcing I was winning a BRONZE MEDAL!!!! I simply couldn’t quite grasp the idea I’d came top 3. Never had my expectations coming to Geneva though it was possible to do so. The plan was to race hard and enjoy the event! That was achieved and with it a European podium… YES!
In truth I absolutely loved the whole race and really didn’t want to finish. Now having pre qualified for Lisbon next year, there is no chance I will be missing that race. Bring on the Europeans 2016.
A HUGE thankyou goes to everyone who has supported me to this point! And most importantly Steve my Offthatcouchfitness Coach who has put up with my constant drive towards improving.
I do believe working with Steve we can keep me improving for 2016, as even though I had a brilliant race.. there’s still scope to vastly improve.

Swim 1.5k – 22.18
T1- 2.19
Bike 40k – 59.51
T2- 1.14
Run 10k – 33.55

Overall- 9th position and another Sub 2hr race, 1hr 59mins 28seconds

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Just 3 days after Geneva we chatted about the prize money up for grabs at Scunthorpe 10km and that Jordan had a real chance to go grab some of it. So a late entry went in and Jordan was back racing just days after the performance of his life (so far). The plan was to run controlled and if at halfway point he was in contention for the prize pot to push. He only went and won by over 1 minute and set a new course record!!!! Class Act

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Ironman Austria 2015 – Gary Baugh

 

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Picture the scene, circa 1979/80 Saturday afternoon watching World of Sport (which usually meant watching either football or Wrestling) anyway all the footy had been cancelled due to frozen pitches so in a frantic attempt to fill time Dickie Davis says we are now going over to Hawaii to watch Ironman Triathlon. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, a bunch of crazy men swimming 2.4 miles in the sea followed by 112 miles on a bike and then a marathon all as one big mad race wearing just a pair of budgie smugglers. I was hooked and the seed was set, one day I would do that. 10847860_993302467387397_3238971912118491254_n

Fast forward about 35 years and I’m stood on the beach in front of the beautiful clear water of lake Wother, ready to start my own Ironman. fortunately I didn’t need to wear the budgie smugglers as the water was a pleasant 21 degrees, a few years before it was over 24.5 and wet suits were not permitted, apparently it didn’t go down well with the competitors. It had taken me two years to get fit and come up with a good excuse to click enter on the Ironman website, a 50th birthday treat.

With 60 seconds to go I went across to the Baugh gang, gave them the thumbs up followed by a Bruce Forsyth impression, weird what nerves make you do.

There was 350 competitors in the 50-54 age group and the last group to set off at 7.20. Looked like plenty of space in the swim but I wasn’t taking any chances so wore my goggle straps under my hat and my garmin under my wet suit sleeve. On the gun I sprinted down the beach and dived into the lake like David Hasselhof in Bay Watch trying to be the first one to help Pamela Anderson with her floats. Hardly any rough and tumble made for a really enjoyable swim to the first buoy, it felt like I was going really well, I actually went past some other swimmers, and seemed to get to the first turn (1230m) in no time. It was a left turn and I could see the large yellow buoy 500m across also a church spire on the shore so no problem sighting on this leg. Soon arrived at the next mark then as I turned into the low sun I really struggled to pick anything out to set my route. I decided to follow the swimmers in front (a school boy error) and after a while we all swam up to a boat with the occupants frantically waving us across to the left, I stopped and turned realising I was way off course. Nothing for it but head down and get back on track, eventually after asking a paddle boarder if I was still enroute I got to the mouth of the canal. It felt like I’d been in the water for ages now starting to get tired. I remember Clarky telling me only 1k to got from here. The canal is shallow at the sides and my hands touched the bottom a couple of times, I repositioned myself into the centre. The narrowness and the surge of swimmers picked up my speed and I felt like Mark Spits (Michael Felps to all the younger readers) which was a blessing because I began to feel sick and was ready to get out. The end of the swim goes right into the Seepark Hotel. I was dragged out the water by more helpers than I’d ever seem at a swim exit. I was out for 1 hour 36 mins, my target was 1:30 but plenty of time to catch that up.

11141135_996938123690498_3304024495575145250_n“Do you want help?” “Yes please” I blurted out as my dazed look and bumbling attempt at removing my wet suit off prompted the question from one of the many amazing volunteer transition staff.  I decided to take Clarkys tip and use time to put bib shorts on over my tri shorts and socks.

Onto the bike and I felt really good, went full tilt and seemed to pass plenty. I took lots of food and drink on-board during the first lap, including my white bread sandwich in the first half hour. After 43 miles I came to the big climb, the Rupertiberg. It tops out  at 16% incline and I saw my Irongaz banner at the bottom. I Saw the support crew at the top but didn’t stop, pied em off and decided to crack on. The leading pro came past me on his second lap! He actually did the whole bike in 4 hours :13mins. I did the first 56 mile lap in 2:45 (average 200 watts) I was pleased.10410503_996938177023826_8577495809733245074_n  I started the second lap in the same vein, the bike course is fast but it’s not flat, the speed comes with the relatively long none technical descents. I started to feel things at about 70 mile and decided to ease off the pace. The scenery of the course was stunning and really helped get through the ride. The feed stations were all well organised and frequent (about every 20 mile) so no need to overload the bike with your own food. I averaged 175 watts on the second lap into T2 at 5hrs 48 mins.

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Quicker transition this time with more kind helpers to take my shoes off and slap on sun screen on my shoulders. At this point I unleashed my new purchase from the IM expo, a sun visor. I looked like a cross between John McEnroe and Sargent Bilco but It proved a very useful accessory when loading ice onto my head to keep me cool as the temperature kept on rising, up to 28 degrees. Now just a sprint to the finish I kept telling myself.

Legs felt ok for the early part of the run but about 1.5 miles in I realised I’d left my bib shorts on! Not cool. The run course was flat and went through the park and onto the coast path through to Krumpendorf where we tuned and headed back to the park and then on to Klagenfurt town centre (I left a little energy to jump up and ring the bell) through the crowds quaffing beer and sausages while dressed in leather shorts. The course then returned back towards the park and the Seepak  hotel, then round again to make the distance. The support on the course was amazing with singing, dancing, water spraying all the way, it was carnival time for the locals. “hop hop hop” was the chant (don’t ask me what that means, I certainly wasn’t going to translate it literally!)  My run plan was to walk through each feed station (every 2.5k) and take on water and coke and some food. The walk was to rest and also to make sure I consumed the drinks rather than spill them down my top. Mentally I liked the idea of counting down the feed stations.  11701214_996938273690483_1523970770641574866_n

I saw my support crew at 7.5 mile, they nearly missed me due to the purchase of the biggest ice-creams I’d ever seen. I took the opportunity to take off my bib shorts, revealing the full splender of…….my Off That Couch Fitness tri suit and give them an up-date on how I was feeling. I managed to keep the first 13 mile lap at about 10.5 mins per mile. I plodded on but saw my pace dropping and started to realise I’d put too much effort on the bike. I came back round to the support crew and and replaced my cold sponge wedged between my neck and tri suit, it was really hot now. My pace continued to drop and my mind convinced itself that I was way of my target 12.5hrs. The miles from 14 to 20 were the most painful and mentally challenging and I have to say I was in a dark place (I know another cliché). Thankfully I saw my amazing family at 19.5 miles, I was overwhelmed by emotion and couldn’t even speak to them. It was now almost impossible to eat or drink anything, I force down a coke and some water. I listened to their encouragement, come on dad just a cheeky 10k left. I set off again and Ben ran along for a while encouraging me all the way. As I got to 21 mile I suddenly felt my legs and head come back to life. I glanced down at my watch and saw I was at 10.5 per mile again. I ignored the remaining food stations and ploughed on towards the finish.

I was back in the park now and the crowds were still cheering. This time coming to the final feed station I could turn left towards the finish and just in the grandstand at the finish straight were Ali, Josie and Ben. I had the biggest grin on my face and they were going crazy, I went over, this was more important than my time now. We had a few moments together and then I ran up the red carpet to the finish and heard those words – Gary Baugh you are an IRONMAN. 12hours 36minutes 47seconds.

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Just wanted to say a huge thank you to all the people who donated to Charlies Challenge campaign, everyone was so generous and we managed to raise £3000.

Thanks to Steve Clark for the coaching that got me to the start line in the best shape I’ve ever been  and getting me to press the enter button.

Also a Massive thankyou to

My family and most of all, Ali, my wife who has been so supportive throughout this journey (over 12 months worth). Never complaining or moaning about the hours of training, and the next bit of new kit that I’ve just ordered. X. Anyway never again….actually if I hadn’t swum off course or gone so hard on the bike then maybe I could have……

 

Jordan Skelly “The Man In Form”

Deva Triathlon (Chester)

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To date 2015 has been a resounding success, coming off the back of 2014 there were a few choices to make in which direction this year would go. Having made my Half Iron Distance debut at Vitruvian Triathlon and relatively successful outings at all my other races. I was faced with the question of going longer and hitting the Ironman 70.3 & Full distance or sticking to the so called ‘fast’ game on short course.
Fortunately I’d qualified for the European Championships in Geneva which made the decision much easier, in knowing I would want to do myself justice. So short course it was…sorry Ironman… but you’ll have to wait!
Triathlon as many of us have found you have to be planning your races early. So late 2014 once British Triathlon had released their list of Championship races it wasn’t long before my entries were going in. Chester in all honesty I knew very little about as a race, it just fitted in the calendar well. With good timing for a prep for Geneva. And with it hosting the English Champs what better place to be testing myself than in a strong field.
Early season my first few championship races had largely varied fortunes, the British Champs for Duathlon at Clumber Park had gone far better than I had expected. Going into it I knew Steve had brought me into season in great form after a huge personal success at my locally hosted Gainsborough 10k (33:07).
I would leave Clumber..my first proper Duathlon as British Champion in my age category. And with that a qualifying spot for the 2016 European Duathlon Champs. GREAT!!!!
Next up St Neots, British Sprint Champs….probably the less said the better. My equipment (bike) failed me, and left me frustrated with not being able to come away having really given a good race. I did however manage to resist giving the local rowing club a new friend as my bike got put back in the car rather than the temptation of letting it sail down the river.
Which leads me now back around to Chester…. As I had earlier said I knew very little about this race. And despite usually wanting to be incredibly prepared going into a race. I had done little research before rocking up on the Saturday ready to register. And what a pleasant surprise it was! The race has a great venue, set near the race course, castle, and around the city centre. Entering the castle to register you just had the feeling everthing was taken care of with the tremendous organisation that had clearly been set out… a welcome addition to any athletes race preparation.
For anyone wanting a Standard Distance Triathlon in their calendar next year, I would consider Chester amongst any event.
Round to raceday morning we came, and the regular early alarm and a night of reduced sleep had set me up nicely for the day. Into tranisition and as many of the Mallorca Tricamp may know I am no friend of the cold… so setting up your bike rack in the tropics of 12°c and Chester sunshine at 6am whilst reading back home had cold and rain was very satisfying!
The cold can be a enormous factor in my race. And as the chap who was performing body fat percentage test in the registration on Saturday found out I’m very much on the lean side. So much so that he was commented I had been the lowest score out of any athlete so far at the race… a good or bad thing?
With my test results of basically eat more pies, what better way to get things going then a flying leap into a river with potential for hypothermia! Fortunately for me I had taken my ‘man up’ pill that morning and despite the vast complaints about the water temperature, I was feeling warm.
The start claxon sounded and to be honest everyone knows what follows… a vast fight of arms and legs for the next 20 or more minutes of your life. Feeling half drowned and wondering what on earth was flying directly above me, (turned out to be a drone filming for the C4 coverage of the race) eventually the spaces opened up. As expected lesser swimmers who had overcooked the start dropped back over the 1.5k, possibly due to the fact of swimming upstream tiring them or a pacing strategy. Either way it felt good to be taking places back quickly.
Exiting the water I felt good, no cold feet, I could feel my hands and still was still alive! Things were going well!
Onto the bike, quite frankly I hope C4 wasn’t filming my bike mount as unlike my better attempts in recent races this time I completely missed the saddle. Never mind only 2 seconds lost!
The bike route as far as me and biking goes, suited me pretty well. A tougher first half with a few climbs soon saw me take out many of the field being found out by their lack of theresold fitness. Before returning back from Wales like a rocket on incredibly quick roads.

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Bike done and no mechanical problems! Seeing a few familiar faces on the bike course who have previously been far too strong bikers for me to catch, gave me great confidence. Especially as I knew what was to come, by far my favourite of the three sports the RUN!
My mindset was good knowing the recent bike work Steve has had me doing in training had helped neutralise the advantage other athletes could gain before entering the run. A swift bike dismount, running shoes on and it was showtime.
Straight away I got stuck into my plan, keep good form and let the legs do the talking. It wasn’t long before those ahead of me were insight, and with a short section of out and back I briefly had a viewing of who need to be hunted down.
I have to thank Dan Guerrero for giving me the heads up on positions when I caught him on the first of 3 laps. From that I knew there were only 3 in our age group ahead, and every one I would catch would be a spot on the podium. GAME ON!
Before long the gaps were coming down quick, and I soon moved up into 2nd after taking 2 spots in quick succession. Come the last lap of the run that 1st place was firmly in sight, feeling still very comfortable in my pace I went by without having to lift the effort. Another just short of 2 miles to run and I knew if I’d keep hitting that rhythm it was going to be a good day.

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Shooting down the blue carpet and over the finish line, I felt great! NATIONAL CHAMPION in my age group and qualified for Lisbon in 2016.
I now go into Geneva next month full of confidence after a good race in a competitive field. Being a realist I have to limit my expectations for Geneva, after all it is a European Championship. My sole aim is to enjoy the race and the atmosphere surrounding the GB team. So regardless of finishing position I want to simply go out there and give absolutely everthing and finish satisfied I could do no more…as well as getting a fancy european championship finishers medal in my collection!
I now have been coached by Steve (Offthatcouchfitness) since the end of last year. And quite honestly I cannot thank him enough for the progress he has brought to my training, and not only that but my mindset to how to train. The progression I’ve made is hugely down to his knowledge and I’m looking forward to continuing this into future races. Along with representing the Offthatcouchfitness Race Team at as many high profile events possible.

Ben Baughs Season So Far

Season so far

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This year so far has been full of excitement and challenges. My first event of the year was the Clumber Park Duathlon on Saturday 21st March. This was a big event for me as I was racing with the hope of qualifying for the GBR Age Group European Championships, so their was no pressure.

It was a very cold morning and I wasn’t feeling my best, probably a mix of nerves and the early morning start. I set up in transition and got ready for the race however, with not having much race experience I had only a few minutes to get to the start line.

We set off on the first run, which was 5k; I started off full of adrenaline and found myself running 5.20-minute miles. I then started to ease off as I didn’t want to ruin my race and I knew I wasn’t capable of keeping that pace up. The run course was fairly hilly and I found myself very dazed when running into T1. The transition area held a lot of people and I had a long run to my bike. Prior to the race I had been practicing my transition and I had no problems in T1, apart from that my vision was blurred.

Out on the bike it was very cold and it took me a while to get into a rhythm and to finally get a feeling back into my toes. At this point I wasn’t really aware where I was in the race or who in my age group was ahead of me. The wind was very strong and I finished the bike in 32:49 for 20k.

The final discipline was another run, which was 2.5km. I started off with the heavy leg feeling and heavy breathing. After about 5 minutes running I started to feel stronger and I found my rhythm. At this point I was trying to spot out who was in front of me as the run was an out and back course. I got to the turning point and it was mostly downhill back to the finish. I gave it all I had and came in at 1 hour 2 minutes and qualified for the team GB duathlon team by finishing in second position in my age group.

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My next event which myself and my coach Steve had decided to target was the Nottingham Sprint Triathlon at the National Watersports Centre as this was a qualifier for the GB AG triathlon team. Before this event I had raced Grantham sprint, the Keyo Brigg Bomber (swim only) and the Belvior Castle open water sprint. I felt good about this event however the competition was tough as their were some top athletes in my age group. Me, Dad and Ali went up the night before the event and registered on the Friday, making the whole experience a lot less stressful and allowing me to get a good nights sleep.

I set my alarm for 5 AM so that I could get up and eat three hours before the start of the race (8 AM). We got to the venue at around 7, which left me stress free when setting up in transition. There were two transitions for this race: one for your bike after the swim, and then another for your trainers. This worked well as it meant it was more spread out and gave everyone more room.

Swim

It was a great morning, however the race officials announced that the water was only just 14 degrees but that didn’t put me off. I got straight into the water and let my body acclimatize to the temperature. I was in the first race of the day with around 250 athletes, which meant it was crowded. Previously at Belvior Castle I swam 10:35, which was a PB so I was looking for a time around the same.

As we set off, it became clear that it was very crowded and it took a few minutes for the bunching to clear but eventually people started to spread out. I felt confident in the swim however, I finished and crawled out the water to look at my watch and I swam 11:30, which was near a minute slower than my PB. Into transition I wasn’t happy with my time and quickly got my wetsuit off while putting on my helmet. I got my bike then started to run out of transition. After a few yards I realized my race belt was still on the front of my bike so I had to stop and, very aggressively, I stepped into the belt.

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After not having the swim I planned for I wasn’t in the best of race moods and decided that I needed to push on and put in a good performance on the bike section. The bike route was 4 laps around the venue and was a fast course. I worked out before hand that I needed to roughly complete each lap around 7 minutes to get a good time, so each lap was a race against time.

Throughout the bike I seemed to pass quite a few people and over took athletes from my age group. I was 40th out of the swim and after the bike I was 10th overall as my dad shouted to me letting me know on my last lap. I finished the bike in 28:20, which was roughly my target time and gaining 30 places gave me a good chance.

Run

At this point the weather was brilliant and the sun came out. I arrived at my trainers and I had trouble getting them on, as I had no feeling in my feet. I then raced out of transition with my bottle in my hand having a drink. I was still in transition when I placed my bottle on the floor out of the way of any athletes but when I got to the end of transition one of the race officials told me to go back and get it. I didn’t think I was littering because I would collect my bottle at the end of the race but I would rather have 20 seconds added to my time than 2 minutes from a penalty, so I went back and moved it.

The run wasn’t as bad as I thought however a few athletes did pass me, but I was expecting that anyway. The run seemed to go very fast, not because of my running but because you were able to see the finishing straight in the distance. I ran as hard as I could around the course, which was a flat course, and came to the red carpet for the home stretch. I saw an athlete about 20 meters in front of me and decided to sprint as fast as I could to the finish and over took him before the line. I finished the race in 59:57, qualified 2nd in my age group and placed 16th overall. Team GB triathlon team qualification secured.

ben nottinghamI started training with Steve from off that couch fitness last November, and through hard work and following the training plan Steve set for me I have achieved my goals so far. I will be continuing my training and hopefully will progress further in the sport.

Thanks for reading Ben

Middle Distance Triathlon European Championships, Rimini Italy

Rimini was my first big triathlon race of the year and one I had been targeting to be in top shape for. All was going to plan training wise until I picked up a soleus injury during London Marathon which meant 2 weeks of rest apart from swimming and lots of treatment with Ian from Mcbride’s Physiotherapy. I have to thank Ian as he got me running again and I managed 3 good runs in the 10 days before the event.

Me and Emily flew out to Italy on the Thursday morning given us both plenty of time to do what we wanted when we got there me recce the course and Em’s Sunbath but unfortunately the weather was horrendous and it was storms all day Friday and Saturday so we was confined to Cafes along the sea front all selling nice Italian Cakes like Tiramisu I just starred at them thinking come Sunday night I’m having one of them and one of them etc. (but only if I do well)

Race Day

One thing the Italians do get right when putting on a race is that we didn’t start until 11am as with Ironman racing I’m used to 4am alarm clocks for a 6 or 7am race start so been able to have breakfast at 7:30am was rather nice.

We headed down to set up in Transition at 9am with the rain starting to ease off and even the Sun breaking out.

Swim Start

IMG_2987 We was all set off in 5 minute intervals against the people in your Age Group and it was a running start into the Adriatic Sea from the Beach (Pic Above)

My swim went ok but with the waves in the Sea made siting the buoys pretty difficult and It was either a few hundred metres longer than it should have been or I swam the long way round. As my New Garmin 920xt got it at 2.3km as did everyone else’s.

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I exited the Sea in 33 minutes and In 6th Position so not a bad place to be in after probably my weakest leg in a triathlon progress in the swim has defiantly been made and wearing the Xterra Wetsuit definitely helps to improve my swim.

Transition 1 which was over 500m long (pic below) had no problems and I decided to put on arm warmers as heavy rain was forecast for when we got up In the mountains and I didn’t want to get cold on the descents. This proved to be a good decision as when the heavens opened and I was pushing on the slippery descents I stayed warm.

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The bike was a tough out and back route taking in 3000ft of climbing in the first 50km before turning and descending for 43km and thankfully avoiding a few of the 30% climbs we had done on the way up as these would have been really tricky in the wet. On the bike I rode the inclines hard as I knew with so much descending to come I would get a bit of rest bite for the legs before the run. Descending in the wet is never fun but it was made easy by the smooth handling of the Claud Butler TT01 and coming into T2 I had moved up into 4th position as I counted only 3 bikes racked in my AG transition area.

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Into the run and a whole different climate the Sun was out and it was red hot totally different from a few miles away in the mountains. The half marathon run was 3 laps of 7km and was along the sea front In Rimini so pretty good for spectators. I ran the 1st mile harder than I had planned as I over took the athlete in 3rd place within the 1st 500 metres of the run so my thinking was I wanted to put as much distance into him and me as possible in a short space of time as I was now in a medal position!!. After 2 miles into the run I got a timing check from Em 27 seconds behind the Italian athlete currently in Silver position. Game on I was feeling pretty good and clocked him in my sites after 1 lap of the run the gap was down to 10 seconds and I managed to get past him after the 6 mile mark. Into silver!!. The Belgium athlete who was well in the lead after the bike and who I knew was the main competition for the Gold was well ahead but on the last lap I started to gain on him big time. He was obviously starting to struggle from a combination of his effort on the bike as he went from 10th to 1st on the bike and the heat. I caught him with 4 miles to go and decided to run past him as hard as I could he came with me to start with but thankfully dropped off and with 3 miles to go when I looked over my shoulder he had gone but the Italian was in my sites. I saw Emily and shouted at her I’ve overtaken the The Belgium and that I thought I was in the lead but as it was a 3 lap run and all the other Age Group runners on the course she wasn’t 100%. Coming into the finish straight was a strange feeling as In my head I knew I was in Gold position but because of the way the run was set up I couldn’t be 100% sure until the awards after.

At the awards it was confirmed AG 30-34 in Gold medal position Steve Clark team GB!!

A great feeling as I walked up to collect my medal pictured below

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I like to thank everyone that has sponsored, supported and helped me over the years from when I first raced abroad back in 2009 this medal is for you!!

Chase 2 Race The Dream

Steve