Forestman - Iron-distance triathlon

Sprint-distance triathlon.  Done.

Olympic length. Done

"What next?" I wondered.

The following summer I decided to undertake an Iron-distance triathlon.  This long event consists of a 2.4 mile (3.8km) swim, followed by a 112 mile (180km) cycle, ending with a marathon run - 26 miles (42km).

There are a variety of Iron-distance triathlons in the UK and I chose the Forestman in the New Forest, Dorset.  The TriRadar says it is one of the best Iron-distance races in the UK and one that it "will test the toughest legs" with the hilly marathon on a gravel trail at the end.

I prepared for it by cycling from Land's End to John o' Groats via the cardinal points of mainland Britain, racing the Paris marathon, and swimming in the Serpentine lake regularly.

Come the weekend of the race in June and I headed to Sandy Balls holiday park.  Iron-distance events always start early and on my morning the fog sat thick on the lake.  It wasn't possible to see as  far as the buoys we would need to swim around, but luckily on the swim I was able to follow the fellow athletes in front.

The cycle was long, of course it was, but it was terrific.  The fog cleared quickly and the temperature soared, but I blasted on around the laps, along wonderful country roads.  Before long it became the hottest day of that year so far.  The marathon was tough, and my slowest marathon time ever, perhaps unsurprisingly!


Swim - 2.4 miles (3.8km) - 1:16:58

Ride - 112 miles (180km) - 6:23:37

Run - 26 miles (42km) - 5:28:31

Total - 13:08:05 - 56th out of 117 athletes

I was frustrated I didn't quite finish under 13 hours, but I was very glad to finish.  It was an amazing challenge that pushed me far.  It made me feel more alive.

The Forestman has become the Gladiator race.  I recommend it.