A team of 28 GTC athletes headed to Ironman Wales to take part in what many described as the toughest but most amazing experience of their racing lives. They were joined by many friends and family, who provided impressive support before, during and after the event.
The GTC members included: Alan Anderson, Philip Burns, Alan Brunton, Annibale Coia, John Conlin, Maggie Darroch, Jeremy Deveney, Alan Duff, Tony Evans, Stuart Gillepsie, Hilary and Paul Glen, Viv Gough, Cat Hirst, Ian Hockey, Tom Kemlo, David King, Jim Lockhart, Gregor Love, Nathalie Jones, Stewart Milne, Neil Pentland, Lochlan O’Sullivan, Ian Ramage, Claire Robertson, Gareth Treharne, Sean Webster and David Wilson.
While for some, it was a second or third time competing in the event that takes place annually in Tenby, for many others it was their first Ironman. Most had dedicated a year of training to the race.
Many club members thanked Alan Anderson for encouraging them to sign up to the race and over the months they gained a great deal of support from being part of a large group of people aiming for the same event.
A number of the IM Wales team also raised money for charity. Thousands of pounds have been donated to various causes, including Beatson Cancer Charity, Reverse Rett, Simon Community Scotland, MIND, the Butterfly Trust Smileawi and the Rohhad Association.
Here are a few comments from some of the GTC members that took part in IM Wales.
Hilary, who wrote a blog about her training and the race called Why am I doing an Ironman?, said afterwards: “I am completely thrilled with my achievement and I did much better than I expected. This was certainly helped by having a great team of us all there and spurring each other on, not to mention the training we were able to do together.”
Hilary and her husband Paul had enjoyed a lot of the training togther and on the day the finished just six minutes apart.
Another GTC couple Viv Gough and Gareth Treharne has similar finishes in their respective age and gender groups. While Viv was 14th in her division, Gareth was 15th in his.
Viv was more than an hour faster than last year, finishing in 13:46:38.
Jim Lockhart described the race as “the best day ever”. He said: “It’s the closest I’ll ever get to feeling like a pro. Town – ace, support – ace, swim – ace, bike – ace, run – ace.
“I took longer that I had planned at 14.07 but every minute that went into the preparation and every penny spent was worth it.
Annibale wrote on Facebook after the race: “I loved it all and the support was unbelievable, especially from GTC friends and family.”
“I made some brilliant friends along the way and the resulting event was pure joy.”
Gregor added: “What a support, what an atmosphere, what a race, what a brutal course. I was ecstatic to finish and I did as well as I could on the day.”
Maggie, who came an impressive fifth in her age category, wrote: “Behind every achievement, there are so many people who help to get you there.
“I have to thank my fabulous, multitasking husband, who has been Team Darroch mechanic, chauffeur, head cook and bottle washer and cheer leader; my neglected children; Angela McArthur for just being there when needed; Vicki McLaren for being the best training partner, along with the many others who got me out the door including Annibale Coia, Alan Kennedy, Nathalie Jones and Cliff Brown.
“Thank you to all the coaches at Glasgow Triathlon Club and the marvellous team mates for the support, belief and encouragement.
“I can highly recommend the event. ‘Unbelievable’ doesn’t do IM Wales and the town of Tenby justice.”
Lochlan, who shared his experience on his blog Ironminded, wrote after the race: “Sickness, pain, exhaustion, sugar-caked teeth and elation. I had completed this epic event.
“The Dragon wasn’t tamed, but I had a new-found respect for it and I’d like to think the Dragon had a reciprocal respect for all of us who tackled this incredible event.”
Philip also wrote a blog, Phil Does Ironman Wales.
For David Wilson, a hamstring problem from half-way through the bike section meant it wasn’t quite the race he had hoped for but he still enjoyed the experience.
He said: “It was a brilliant race and atmosphere. Once I had got my head around the race not going as well as I had wanted, I did enjoy the last three-quarters of the run.”
Sean suffered with a few mechanical issues. He said: “I had to stop to pump up my tyre four times and then I fixed the tube, nicked the tube and then replaced it so I lost up to an hour on the bike section.
“I had a great race overall though and I felt much better than the previous year. I also took more than 40 minutes off my run time, which I was very pleased about.”
He added: “It was great to have so many club members at this race and all the GTC supporters, too.”
Next year, there is a growing team of people signed up to compete in the Yorkshireman Tri half.
- Many thanks to Hilary Glen and Pete Soden for allowing us to use some of their photos for this article.