Ironman 70.3 Edinburgh 2017

July 9th, 2017 by

5th place – 4:06:42

I said it countless times over the months and weeks leading into this race, and I will say it again now: I never believed I would get to race at home in Scotland at this level and so to actually have a day out in front of family and friends, on ‘home’ roads and barely a stones throw away from home… well, it was very cool. It genuinely was. We had a cracking little Pro field assembled too, and although a podium would’ve been the icing on the cake, in reality I was always going to be more than pleased with a top 5 result to show for my efforts, which all said and done – is what I achieved.

The half marathon through Holyrood Park, with Arthurs Seat behind was demanding to say the least!


swim exit

Given the swim venue was the North Sea, we were always going to be reliant on the weather to ensure a safe swim course was possible. Nobody (well, very few!) want an event to be shortened but last weekend I think we were lucky to be able to swim at all. In the heat of the moment (well, there was a distinct lack of heat around 6am on Prestonpans beach to be fair…) it’s all too easy to stomp your feet and wonder why ‘aren’t we able to do the whole thing’ … but with the magic of hindsight, I’m just glad Richard & Paul and their team were able to ensure a triathlon took place at all. Scotland has fickle weather – for days beforehand (and no doubt afterwards too) the water had appeared perfectly calm and swimmable, but the winds which whipped up over last weekend were gusty to say the least! I’ve raced a few lumpy swims, and I didn’t much enjoy this one…

High cadence and turnover is an absolute requirement when trying to swim fast in choppy waters. I’m not the best at this and coupled with a fast front group of guys including Harry Wiltshire, Stuart Hayes and David McNamee who all know their way around a speedy swim, I lost 25-30secs and had to make sure I rode hard as soon as I jumped on my bike to limit those early losses to the front on the race.


EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JULY 02: <> on July 2, 2017 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images For Ironman )

I had spent a lot of time through in Edinburgh doing my best to recce the course and learn the roads. I felt that by race day I knew the course very well, and hoped that this would be some form of small advantage over my competitors. I think it helped. I knew that after the initial 5 or 6 rolling miles along the coastal roads we would head inland and uphill towards Haddington, and that this might be a good place to try creating some gaps. As luck would have it, all round superstar (eventual winner) Andreas Raelert came past me just as I connected with the front of the race, and this to me appeared as the ‘ticket’ out of there. For the next 10 miles I hung on for grim death (as pictured above) and even started to become a little excited that I might manage to hold on for much of the bike ride, and towards T2. Alas, Andreas was turning a gear far too big for me to keep in touch, and slowly but surely he became a smaller and smaller dot in my vision. However, it’s encouraging that I was able to ride with him for even those early miles… it is how I used to race much more regularly and I’m taking the glass half full attitude away from this, rather than being down that ‘I was dropped…’

Mid way through the hilly and technical bike course (I thought it was a great ride by the way) I was caught by a large group of guys, and we stayed as one all the way back to Arthurs Seat and T2, ready for the half marathon ahead. Given this was the inaugural running of this event – and lets not forget, we were riding back into a major capital city, I thought the organisers did a great job of creating a bike route. It has truly opened my eyes to the enormity of the task at hand to actually manage to bring an event like this to fruition, so once again – thanks to Richard & Paul for your vision and hard work.


EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JULY 02: Athletes compete in the run section at Ironman 70.3 Edinburgh on July 2, 2017 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images For Ironman )

As per the bike course, I had spent a good amount of time making sure I knew what to expect on the run course. Although we had already endured a rough sea swim and a challengingly technical bike course, you would be forgiven for thinking it might’ve been an ‘easy’ half marathon. Err, not the case! A multi loop and hilly course (taking in a 45om long tunnel complete with semi darkness!) around the side of Arthur’s Seat and into Holyrood Park (right past Holyrood Palace no less) made for a tough finale to the event but thankfully gave plenty of opportunities for spectators to see us doing our thing (suffering!)

Coming off Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire two weeks previous, where I had a slight wobble during the run, I was hoping to be able to stay strong and work into the hills on each lap. As I said, we came off the bike as a group of 8 or so, which meant I needed to work hard to collect another top 5. Through the first half of the run I had a little battle with Harry and a young Aussie, Lachie Kerin, and I was pleased to work hard to pull away from them both. In doing so I was content with 6th place on the road – but as is often the case with racing – I suddenly realised that with a mile or so to go (almost all downhill) I was within grasp of 5th place. I dug deep, pushed on and nipped on by that Austrian athlete, which is always a satisfying way to reach the finish chute.

finish pic

Thanks to everyone out there cheering on the route; I do my best to try and make eye contact / say thanks / engage… but sometimes I don’t quite have the energy, time or ability! However, it’s always lovely to hear your name being cheered (especially out on the bike whilst going in the opposite direction!) and I do reckon its a wee advantage over the guys I’m racing against too. So, once again – thanks to all those out there supporting last weekend. I hope you enjoyed the day too, and here’s to plenty future successful Edinburgh 70.3s.

Thanks to Iain Macintosh and James Mitchell for the pictures in this blog post.