2018 Triathlon Challenge

In the dying days of 2017, a couple of friends and I decided to do Tough Mudder in September 2018. The reasons? Firstly, it should be a (muddy) laugh. Secondly, it seems like a decent challenge. Thirdly, it’d encourage us to get fit.

But it was in September. Nine months away. I could have a child in that time (well, in theory – actually, not even in theory. Perhaps you could have a baby in that time… if you have the parts and the inclination. Anyway, someone, in theory, could have a baby in that time. In fact, I’m sure someone will. It’s a long time frame, that’s my point).

Nine months was long enough away for me to think ‘oh I can wait until March to start getting fit’… and March could slip to April, April becomes May, May becomes June – and that’s fine, because that’s still three months, right? Then, all of a sudden I’d be stood in a muddy field in September 2018 wishing I’d started training in December.

So I started looking into a little mini-challenge for myself for earlier in the year. This slowly developed into list-making of duathlons in my area, then some triathlons I’d fancy doing, and then that strange voice in my head which is usually saying ‘just eat the pizza, David’ piped up – why not try to do them all?

Some were impractical – I would be stupid to think I could do a triathlon the day after the PSA conference in Cardiff, or the week after my trip to Lisbon. Some came too soon after others, so they got cut. Some were a bit too far away, some turned out to not be running in 2018… but most were doable.

So here I am, in December, with a list of 11 events (edit: now 16) – Tough Mudder, a duathlon, and nine fourteen triathlons. The whole challenge cumulates in a trip to Sardinia for the Forte Village triathlon – I’m not sure if I’d be able to finish the middle distance, so I’ve put both down for now.

Past Experience

I’ve finished two triathlons in the past. In the first one, at Hever Castle, my timing chip fell off in T1, so I have no idea how I did. It was a 400m swim, a 20km cycle, and a 4k run, which I was hideously unprepared for, and finished in about 1h45.

The second triathlon was the 2016 Liverpool Tri, which I’d actually put some effort into training for. I managed the 750m swim in 17:02, the 20km cycle in 45:45, and the 5k run in 20:40. The total time in transition was 10:18, making a race total of 1:33:45.

For those who are not sure how this times stacks up, I’ll be honest – it’s not a good time. In fact, because I like tables, I’ll show you.

Overall Men M20-24
Entrants 285 190 14
Overall Position 136 108 12
Swim 126 95 7
T1 169 122 10
Bike 210 155 13
T2 226 156 13
Run 30 29 4

Clearly I was ok on the run, with the 30th fastest time out of the field. My swim was middling, my bike time was awful and my transition times were… sub-optimal. So there is scope to improve in future, with some low-hanging fruit there. Nevertheless, I’ll be using these times to make rough goals for each race, but my main goal will just be to finish.

I’ve also completed a handful of half-marathons, and one marathon (the 2014 Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon, which I struggled round in 3:19:23, coming 190th, or 6th out of the M0-24 group), so I have shown some level of dedication to training in the past.

Anyway, I’ll be using this page to post race reviews, but my main reason for putting this online is for some sort of accountability. Let’s see how that goes!

EDIT #1:

EDIT #2:

I am weak-willed, and also signed up for the Capernwray Mid Week Events series. That’s a sprint distance triathlon a month from June to July. I’ve also jibbed off Cholmondeley Castle Tri and replaced it with the Coniston Standard Triathlon. It’s cheaper, a bit further away, and I think it’s good to support local event organisers.

I also accidentally booked the standard distance version of the Southport Triathlon, instead of the sprint. Pray for me.

Distance (km)
Date Name Swim Cycle Run
18 Mar 18 Oulton Park Duathlon 4.30 (run) 22 4.3
08 Apr 18 West Lancashire Spring Triathlon 0.40 20 5
29 Apr 18 Lincoln Triathlon 0.40 24 5
20 May 18 Southport Triathlon 1.5 40 10
03 Jun 18 Deva Triathlon 1.50 40 10
06 Jun 18 Capernwray Mid Week Events – 1 0.5 20 5
17 Jun 18 Notts Triathlon 0.40 15 5
24 Jun 18 Coniston Standard Triathlon 1.5 40 10.5
04 Jul 18 Capernwray Mid Week Events – 2 0.5 20 5
22 Jul 18 Bosworth Triathlon 1.5 42 11
01 Aug 18 Capernwray Mid Week Events – 3 0.5 20 5
19 Aug 18 Castles Challenge (Northumberland) 0.75 20 5
05 Sep 18 Capernwray Mid Week Events – 4 0.5 20 5
08 Sep 18 Tough Mudder 19
30 Sep 18 North West Triathlon 0.50 21 5
26 Oct 18 Forte Village (Sardinia) – Sprint or 0.75 20 5
28 Oct 18 Forte Village (Sardinia) – Middle 1.90 90 21
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