Here at the Tree House, we have two Ironmen – well and Ironman and Ironwoman – in our midst. Katie Coomber, one of our National Account Managers and Neil Guyton, our Finance Controller, both completed the Bolton Ironman on Sunday 20 July 2014, each in just over an incredible 14 hours!
Here they take us through their action packed day…
Waiting for the swim was the most nervous part of the day. We had both done open water races before but we were both apprehensive about swimming with 2,000 other racers, all of whom were looking for the same bit of water as you!
The first loop of the swim was pretty brutal – you couldn’t swim more than a few strokes without someone else swimming over your back, hitting your legs or smacking you in the face (unintentionally, of course).
After the first loop you had to get out, do a short run, and then dive back in again for the second loop. Running through the crowds was our first experience of the amazing support that would be with us throughout the day, not just from family and friends, but from total strangers as well. We both completed the swim in around 75 minutes and it was on to the bike…
The longest part of the day but probably the element we both felt most comfortable with. We can’t begin to describe the number of people we saw supporting every athlete on every corner, but the highlights were seeing our friends and family dotted around the course yelling support at us wherever we went. This was an unbelievable help and definitely kept us going through the seven plus hours we spent on two wheels.
Another amazing experience during the bike was climbing the hills – especially the infamous Sheephouse Lane – which at one point you could only go up in single file due to the number of supporters on the roads, ringing cow bells and screaming your name. We can only imagine that this was what the Tour de France riders must experience, though on a much smaller scale obviously. Despite almost nine hours of exercise, we were just two minutes apart at the end of the bike challenge.
While we never thought getting off our bikes and doing a marathon was going to be easy, it’s difficult to describe the fatigue and pain you feel in your legs! We both found the first 9-10 miles ok, despite sore and tired legs, but hit the wall at different stages during the last stretch.
Neil was the first to go and struggled between 10-15 miles, but once able to get some energy gels and adopting a ‘walk uphill’ and ‘run downhill’ game plan, started to feel better. Katie started to feel it around mile 17, when her stomach didn’t want to play ball anymore, and walking two steps was agony, let alone the last 9 miles!
We were helped through the marathon by some amazing support, especially Neil’s wife, Sue, who ended up running almost 9 miles along side Neil, and Matthew and Tony from the All About Food team doing the same for Katie.
We cannot put into words how amazing our families, friends and friends from work were as they cheered us every step of the way, ran a few miles (in flip flops) and handed out sweets to keep us going – their support was invaluable!! In the end, it took each of us just over five hours to complete the marathon.
In addition to the personal challenges the Ironman presented, we have also managed to raise an amazing amount of money for charity thanks the incredible generosity of those who sponsored us, giving a huge total of £3,589.38!
Congratulations guys! We’re all incredibly proud.