Ironman China Race Report


 It's almost been two weeks since Ironman China, we've been home for just about a week and a half. The journey home was a little difficult to say the least, what with extremely sore feet, post race stiffness and the staff of China Southern airlines being a complete pain in the rear (I will never fly with them again, it almost cost us 380 sterling just to get the bike home!). We arrived home at 3.30am, only to be in work at 7am that morning, oh well international Ironman racing was never going to be easy.

The race itself is a funny one really, weather conditions on race day, which were due to be hot and humid. However, on our arrival it was very and windy, not what we was expecting! The hotel was nice, but I was shocked to see how the local people lived. A couple days before race day I headed out on one of my prerace sessions, only to be met with a dead cow on the side of the road with loads of rats feeding of it, now I understand that this happens in all walks of life but this was situated in the garden/paddy field of a family how were working in it, a different world, trust me.

The other side of the coin meant that I had the pleasure of visiting the hotel spa a couple of times for a rub down. It was a slightly different experience that I've had before what with paper pants etc.

The swim course was in a river, it was 4 laps with age grouper setting off 5 at a time with a 5 second interval. It became quite physical, but mostly due to training with tri2aspire on Saturdays I felt I was ready for it. However, I was kicked in the face, pushed under the water and punched by accident a number of times by the other athletes.

I was slightly disappointed with my swim time 1.03, which was down by 7 minutes to what would have been happy with. Into T1 I went where I changed into my gear. Due to the weather improving 40C and with a humidity 84%, completely different to the weather leading up to the weekend, I had to make sure I was suncreamed up and fully hydrated for the bike.


  • Heading out onto the bike and it was always going to be windy, as the Island Hainan, as there was a strong sea breeze coming in (I even saw one athlete being blown off his bike!). The bike section flew by, as it is the part I most enjoy normally and we also rode through some really cool old Chinese towns and villages, where all the locals where outside supporting us as we rode by. The locals would shout out go fast in the local tougue. I did started to feel the heat toward the end of the bike section and in the back of my mind I really was not looking forward to run, which was going to really hard due to the increased humidity and the heat.

    After 5.10 on the bike (which I was over the moon about, beating Justin Granger) I entered T2. Throughout the whole of the bike I had been drinking well, but eating aswell as I'd like, maybe I need to look into this. I really struggle to get solid food down when racing, maybe in the future I need to switch to just gels and maybe ones without a taste as they just get so sweet. I knew heading out onto the run that I was well hydrated, therefore I should be able to put in a good time on the marathon run leg.

    However, the temperature was so hot and it was so humid that I really started to struggled, as did many of my fellow athletes, some of whom I saw sitting on the side of the road after pulling out of the race. I started out at 4.30mins/km, but after 2 km I was blowing big style, my heart rate was at 92%! So because of this I pulled it back to 5min/km then 5.30min/km and from then on I kept it at that. However I did also decided to walk the aid stations and then continue for a minute afterwards, just to lower my heart rate which was way too high. The heat got worst as did the race continued. I did not want anymore carbo drink, so instead I switched to flat Coke (beautiful. There was no support on the run course, apart from a stretch in the city and, so because of this in was really easy after 30 odd kms to find it a lot harder than you really were. It was a real mental battle to keep yourself going one foot step at a time to finish the race.

    After 10 hours 29 minutes, I finished, I don't remember too much of it, because as soon as I crossed the I collapsed and ended up on a IV dip in the medi tent. After 45 minutes I was back on my feet able to get all belongings etc and celebrate finishing what is meant to be one of the hardest Ironman courses in the world. While I was disappointed with my time (as I wanted to go 45 minutes faster ) I can be happy in the fact that I beat at least 3 full time pros and that I was first home in the British team. Even though I have now raced a number of Ironman throughout the world, it was extremely hard and the most physically demanding and mentally taxing race I have ever done in my life due to the heat and the humidity.

    In my bid to qualify for Hawaii I fell short by 10 minutes and, therefore I will not be going this year, which is a huge shame and I was very disappointed. Every cloud has a silver lining and, although I missed out on qualifying for Hawaii, I have two weeks off training then it’s all go for the Challenge Roth in Germany this Summer and hopefully a 9.40 time, which I am very much looking forward to. It also means that next year I can try my hand again at getting to Hawaii, somewhere else in the world, Ironman South Africa has a nice ring to it..........
  • Nice report Iron Snorks, and congratualtions on a great performance.

    You obviously gave it your all in nightmarish conditions.

    Well done !

  • Respect- sounds brutal.
  • Pah! That's nothing - we've got to ride an extra 5k at IMDE......... image

    Fantastic racing, Snorks.  Amazing time in those conditions (well, amazing time regardless of conditions).  Don't think I'll add that to my To-Do list! 

  • Sounds tough, but good on ya for doing it
  • Well done again Snorks.

    Definitely not one for me though

  • Well done snorks! Sorry about not qualifying, but that sounds like a really tough day. Good luck at Roth!
  • Snorks, most famous Pirate in Asia, nice bloke, met him once, could have sworn he was a fat blokeimage

    I can't even begin to doff my cap here...

  • how are you doing DB? did you race dorchester last year?
  • Respect! Good report Snorks!

    However, I be might thinking twice before eating rice again....

  • well done Snorks, sounds tough, well slogged out and what a bike time, superb result.

    Those 10 mins will come, and the expected time in Roth with your pedigree is a no brainer if things on the day work out, its a fast course and you whould be looking at below 5 hrs for the bike and a good strong run is a better prospect on that course as its very easy on the feet.

  • Congratulations Snorks image  I'm in awe!  Enjoy your two weeks off!!!
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