Sunday, 9 October 2011

Have you been inspired by the Ironman World Chamionships?

Did you see any of the Ironman World Championships on Saturday? Our Brit Chrissie Wellington delivered the goods in the women’s race for her 4th title and Craig Alexandre took his 3rd World title. The times were phenomenal and these guys show just what the human body is capable of.
The Best
Craig Alexandre crossed the line in Kona in a time of 8:03:56, 12 seconds quicker than the previous distance best. His spits were; swim 2.4M - 51:56, bike 112M - 4:24:05, run 26.2M - 2:44:03. Let’s just put these times into perspective;  in the Speedo Open Water Swim Series swimmers raced for 2.2 miles along the Thames, downstream. The winner finished in 00:45:06. For 2.4 miles this would have got a time of about 49 minutes, only 3 minutes quicker than Alexandre and they didn’t have to worry about a 112M bike and 26.2 run after.
Craig Alexandre crossing the line to take the win in08:03:56

Correct me if I’m wrong (which I might be) but I think the World Record for 100M bike time is 03:27:05. That pace would give a 112M time of around 03:51:40. That’s only around 30 minutes quicker than Alexandre’s effort and for those who know anything about cycling, things like course and conditions are very, very important – the slightest headwind makes a massive difference. I’m not saying that this world record was done in more favourable conditions or on an easier course because I don’t know. But, if it was, it again makes Alexandre’s time even better.
Finally, Alexandre’s marathon time of 02:44:03. If you know anything about marathon times I know you will already be impressed. In this year’s Berlin marathon, the fastest marathon on earth and against marathon specific trained athletes, Alexandre would have finished a hugely respectable 226th. And that’s after he’s done an epic swim and a quad-busting cycle.

Chrissie Wellington - smiling, as always

Chrissie Wellingtons splits looked like this: swim - 1:01:03  bike - 4:56:53 run - 2:52:41. I could just as easily go through the ever-smiling Chrissie Wellington’s splits and show just how good they are but I won’t, you can just see for yourselves.
These figures are truly incredible. If you are an athlete or keep-fit enthusiast of any sort, you can’t look at those times without being in awe. The winners and top finishers of yesterday are inspirations, but so is everyone else who took part.
The Rest
First of all, I admit, I did not watch the whole race from start to finish without a break. That in itself would be an endurance event and if anyone out there managed it, well done, that is an achievement accomplishable only with training and dedication.
Of what I did see of the race, the part I enjoyed the most was the finish. Not the finish of the pro’s, but the finish of the people that were just happy to finish. Some of these people were amateur triathletes, some were just amateur athletes, and some were just ordinary people, some with a great story.
The person that was put in charge of welcoming and commentating on people over the finish line was great. He was enthusiastic and helped to make each person’s moment of triumph that little bit more special. As people crossed the line he addressed them by their name, cheered them on and called each an Ironman as they finished. He also shared a little bit of a back story of a few.
A couple of the stand-outs for me were a 71 year old man and a women that used to be overweight. The man was an Asian chap who clocked a respectable time of just over 14 hours. To be honest, I don’t think he cares about the time. He had this beaming smile as he crossed the line and was greeted with a huge cheer from the crowd.
I know that the women I mentioned used to be overweight because the commentator said so, not because I’ve got a biography of every finisher. I’m sorry that I can’t remember how much but the commentator said she had lost a lot of weight in training for the event and as she crossed the line she did this funky little foot shuffle.
If you’re reading this, first of all, thanks, but second, you can’t help but be inspired. I imagine that some people will see this and say, “well I couldn’t do that”. Fact is, you can. Most people could do this. The elderly Asian man and the overweight women didn’t have anything else except will and determination.
Whether you are an athlete that is stuck in the middle of the pack or someone that’s overweight or someone that’s clocked up a few years under your belt, this Ironman World Championship can’t help but motivate you. It has definitely put the thought in this writer’s mind about trying that little bit harder in training and even slighted tempting them to dabble into the world of triathlon.
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