Four Team JMC athletes took part in the Trentham Gardens Half Ironman on Sunday 1st July.  Read on for Nick Isherwood’s race report:

Four Team JMC athletes took on the Trentham Big Half Triathlon this year, a solid turnout for a classic half Ironman distance race over 70.3 miles in Staffordshire countryside.

After an early start from the hotel (5am) we rode the short distance to transition and began the traditional routine of laying out our equipment for quick transition between disciplines. Before we knew it we were being hurried down to the lake for the 7am swim start, 400 metres from the transition area.

Following race briefing and entering the water for the mass start, it became clear that the swim was going to test the best. A muddy, shallow lake and 250 adrenaline fuelled bodies ready to kick up the silt meant that water visibility was very poor, making sighting more difficult than usual. Before we knew it however, we were off and fighting for personal space but our times were slower than normal due to the physical contact. Out of the water, and into the additional shoe transition to take us over the hill into T1 where we would then pick up the bikes and hit the roads. I was shocked yet relieved to see teammate Adam Critchley’s bike still in T1, but sure enough Adam was hot on my tail and I left T1 only slightly ahead.

The bike route started with a 3 mile climb to the start of the 2 lap 25 mile rolling course and after 40 miles of racing Adam rolled up by my side with an “alreet”, staying with me (but not drafting!) the remaining 15 miles back into T2. After switching into our running gear, Adam and I were still together as we left T2 diving into the nearest bush due to the call of nature. After leaving the bushes together (much to the surprise of some local Trentham Garden walkers) Adam’s running talent kicked in and his electrifying pace took him all the way to the finish line 13 miles later in just 1 hour 29 mins. I would follow him 15 mins later with both of us finishing in the top 10%, gaining 8th (5 hours 2 mins) and 20th (5 hours 18mins) respectively. A very satisfying result giving us at least some reassurance for the full UK Ironman distance in 3 weeks’ time.

Sadly, Paul Bowie had experienced technical difficulties on the bike and had retired cold and weary in T2 whilst Steve Green who had faired a little better had also experienced issues in the swim but managed to carry on with the event coming in at 6 hours 44 mins. A very respectable time in his age group category. All in all, the weather had been kind enough to us and despite some rain throughout the morning we all live to fight another day having gained the half Ironman completion medal – a distance that takes some doing.