I really like this race as it’s a really honest course, you often get courses which might have a tough run but an easy bike course or a tough bike and easy run course but I’m sure anyone who has completed Wimbleball will testify that the bikes bloody tough, and the run course is even harder, I think even the swims up hill!
When the race started a group of around 4 maybe 5 got away straight away and I found myself at the front of a chase pack. Not much happened between then and the finish of the swim apart from with about 100 meters to go people started coming around me but I wasn’t that fussed as I knew I was in the pack.
Out of the swim I ran really hard up the hill towards transition as I wanted to distance the guys I was with in the swim before we started the bike. Then once on the bike I overtook a few people going up the first hill out of transition and I found myself in 5th place. It stayed like this until about 3 miles before the end when I Harry Springhall caught me up so we were now in 5th and 6th place. I was getting time splits throughout the race and new I was catching Will Clarke and then when I arrived in transition Will Clarke was also in there although he was leaving the tent as I was in there.
Onto the run and Harry had a slightly quicker transition then me, my plan was to just settle into a rhythm on the 1st lap and then really push the 2nd lap hard and then hang on for dear life on the 3rd lap. Harry was suffering with cramps on the run and stopped about 2 miles into the run which left me in 5th place again. Will was about a 1 minute 30 ahead at this point and on this course you never know what’s going to happen so I carried on pushing but once we got to the dam for the second time which is about half way he now had a 2 minute 30 lead so I knew he was out of reach and 6th place was about 3 minutes behind so I knew 5th was safe. I then decided to just cruise the rest of the run as I was racing the following week in a half and I knew a higher position wasn’t really going to happen unless Clarky blew his doors off.
Now this is where the drama starts, I finish the race and get announced as 5th place but when I turn up to the presentation expecting to get the 5th place prize the guy who finished 6th is called up instead. I’m thinking what the hell is going on so I say something to them and then the referee tells me apparently I was drafting. I clarify with him and he assures me it’s drafting and shows me the sheet of paper which says drafting. I was shown no yellow card during the bike, which I should have if this was the case (apparently the motor cyclist forgot I’m told), I was also not listed on the penalty bored in the transition tent which I should have. As you can probably understand I’m pretty pissed off, especially as I was by myself for all but the last 3 miles of the bike. I tell them I’m appealing it as I wasn’t shown a yellow card and told during the race as had I known I would have gone harder on the run to ensure I finished 5th place. Anyway once I get home I appeal the decision and obviously the referee must have looked at the race split and seen that I didn’t draft and so I’m then told that they made a mistake and that the real reason was because I littered on the run, however this is a disqualifiable offense and that I should be happy with a 4 minute penalty!
I tried taking this further with the BTF and by appealing but it was like getting blood out of a stone. It’s really frustrating as I feel I have been very unfairly treated and that Ironman didn’t follow there own protocol with regards to the rules. Why have rules if you are just going to make them up as you go!? Anyway I’ve just had to take this on the chin and forget about it as it just annoys me thinking about it.
Just want to say a quick thank you to the Lawrences for putting me up for this race, great hosts and much appreciated!