I’ve done Hever’s GAUNTLET Half-Iron distance triathlon a few times now.
I seem to be losing the ‘5k’ in me somewhat. I actually enjoyed a quarter of a day of race fun throughout the beautiful Kent countryside and, also beautiful, Hever Castle grounds. I was even looking forward to the race despite running VERY little since IMUK because of an injury. I suspected this lack of running might be this year’s excuse for under-performing … but I did a PB.
I did the race ‘old skool’ style, which is why I probably got the PB. Basically that means ‘sod the gadgets and stick to jelly babies as race fuel’. Well, I lie a little as I did use the ASSIOMAs, WAHOO’s BOLT and HRM-TRI, but that was it. The Garmin went walkabout.
Here’s a picture of the podium. I’m not on it but I did go and inspect it in a brief moment of age-group hopefulness
— Calum Johnson (@caaljohnson) September 25, 2017
I’ll cut to the finish.
I felt OK on finishing. Plenty more in the tank, which was nice. I probably could have done another 13 miles at that speed but a serious amount of bribery would have been needed. As I enjoyed some freshly cut watermelon I heard the announcer announce someone in my age group who was just crossing the finish line as being ‘currently in third place’. This suddenly peaked my interest. I looked at my Garmin on my wrist; only, once again, to remember that it wasn’t there. Grrr.
I never normally bother with those post-race results printouts as I’m pretty sure that checking it isn’t going to affect my time in the slightest. However now I was frantically looking for the race results man. Could this finally be the chance to get a podium that was either NOT at my local village fete or NOT at my local parkrun ie a proper event medal with more than 4 people in my age group. And if the aforesaid finisher had come third then that meant I hadn’t got bronze. EXCITED, OF TUNBRIDGE WELLS.
I found the race results man. Actually it was a woman. She was handling numerous mini-printers with great dexterity. And yes there were going to be podium presentation for people like me who didn’t really deserve it (age groupers). Yay.
And the sun was even shining. Brilliant. I had my best tri-suit on.
Sadly, the numbers on the printouts didn’t make sense. They DEFINITELY didn’t say I’d won a medal and neither did the computer monitors nearby 🙁 (And yes I do win a prize for a judicious use of double-negatives)
It seems that age groups were split between start waves. Hmmm. That’s a new one.
So the aforesaid medal winner probably started something like 15 minutes after me but finished 10 or so minutes after me. ie they beat me.
- Did I need that bike wee stop (I could have waited from the run…30 seconds)
- Did I need to walk through those feed stations? (not all of them, no…2 minutes)
- Should I have not faffed about quite so much drying my feet before putting my lovely socks on? (You know the answer…30 seconds)
- Could I have swum faster? (Probably, I was slower than last year despite being ‘in the clear’ in the moat bit…3 minutes)
- Could I have biked faster? (Yes, but I was pacing it and wasn’t much more than a minute under my target pace…which was pretty good…1 minute)
- Could I have run faster? (Yep…5 minutes)
- Would my super-light road bike have been faster? (Not sure, originally I thought not. Now I think it would… 1 minute)
- If I keep going I will eventually have a virtual gold medal …
- Could I still have won a real medal? Probably, yes. But reality would have reared its ugly head at some point to stop me with cramp or a mis-placed skid.
Nevertheless I was as delighted as a grumpy old so-and-so can be. I might even do it again 😉
If, like me, any of you reading this were less than 115% of the age group winner’s time then I believe your performance can be used as a qualifier for some ITU and ETU longer distance events. (link to; the5krunner.com). Probably for the Middle Distance ETU and ITU triathlons AND for the middle distance ETU and ITU duathlons (Powerman?). Even if you didn’t finish you might be able to qualify for the ITU Aqua Bike world champs (seriously). I’ll have to figure out my holiday plans before I check the races for more details.
Summary: It’s a really good event. It’s popular and quite large. With a great buzz. The event village probably had more stalls and atmosphere than IMUK but the route is only well supported by ‘crowds’ in the grounds of Hever itself (IMUK is better for that). People say the course is challenging. And it is. But any Half Iron distance race is going to be challenging.