Ireman 226 challenge

Just entered this last night as by chance it is on when I am visiting my folks in N Ireland.  Possibly not the most inspiring bike course being 6 loops for the full distance event, but a sea swim with beach start and a mixed surface run including roads, coastal paths and the beach shoudl hopefully make up for it.  At £100 doesn't seem bad value either.

So has anyone done it?

Lots do the half but only 14 finishers for the full last year, so probably my best chance of a top ten finish!



  • BudjudeBudjude ✭✭✭

    thats crazy cheap but a tiny field of people taking part.

    i like your thinking about a top ten finish image

  • image Very interesting. Will have to check with the boss but think just found next years A race. image

  • looks lovely..I need to keep focusing though on IMWimage

  • Entered rather rashly last night and now in a panic that I have bitten off more than I can chew after the Outlaw.  Back to training sort of normally this week so have another week of training and then 2 weeks taper.  Could get messy! image

  • A few people have done back to back IM's and from what they said you will have enough in the tank to do it just might not be the same time. I'd ask around the threads to the likes of DK and co.

  • barley has done them a  week apart......image

     relax and enjoy

  • Excellent, that puts my mind at rest. image

    I wouldn't fancy a week apart myself though.

  • Darkness asked GFB on the mundane thread if she had any local info on the race.

    gingerfurball wrote (see)

    I think there are some hills on the bike - but the roads are good because of the motorway (dual carriage ways??) On the swim you start on the beach and you have to go against the waves to get out a bit but MrGFB didn't think it was too hard.

    The run is hard (he fell over a few times because the fields were very rough!) and it's hard to run across sand.


    gingerfurball wrote (see)

    Cake - MrGFB did the Ireman a couple of years's pretty tough (the run is over pavements, a beach and really rough fields) - the swim is in a lovely harbour/bay kind of place and the bike is pretty good with mostly motor way as far as I know.

    (I got my first ever points on my licence driving there trying to follow road re-directions and not noticing the speed limit - they come off next month so that means it's 3 years since he did it image )

    Itwas very well organised and the scenery is gorgeous!!


  • image That is great Cake - thanks for asking for me.

    Think I will take the opportunity to walk the fields!

    I should be ashamed of myself worrying about it being too close to the Outlaw given that DK is doing the thunderun solo this weekend. 

  • Don't forget DK is a beast. I'm very interested in this one can you let me know how you get on because I'm already plotting for next year. Good luck mate. image

  • For Cake and anybody else who may be interested I am very happy to recommend Ireman as a great value, good craic, really friendly ironman distance event. The setting is great, very scenic and the course is interesting.  Triathlon Ireland have some pictures up of this years event on their FB page (including yours truly!)


  • Race report:

    As I mentioned before I had not planned to do the Ireman until a few weeks ago, the timing just worked with a holiday. There were 6 weeks between the Outlaw and the Ireman and I didn't manage a single long bike ride in this time, but did fit in a 13 mile run, with everything else being relatively short by IM training standards. So not well prepared but I hoped my Outlaw fitness would carry me through.

    I registered on Saturday evening at the harbour boathouse and collected a very nice Regetta softshell gilet which was rather better than the usual t shirt, and given the entry fee was £100 I was pleasantly surprised. There were 20 entered into the 226 challenge and about 130 in the half.  The 226 is a bit of an add on to the half which is the main focus, with the 226 starting about 6.15 and the half at noon.  This works well as you get a lot of support at the end of the bike and on the run from those doing the half. Organisation was really good and the setting is beautiful. I wandered down to the beach to look at the swim course and it looked flat and calm.  No racking to do as all done in the morning in the traditional way without the need for transition bags etc.

    Race morning came and up at 3am after very little sleep.  My Dad had got up to make my breakfast and I forced down what I could. After saying goodbye to the family I loaded the car but it was dark (of course) raining and windy so I was preparing myself for a difficult day and went back to find some armwrmers and a gilet. The forecast had promised dry but windy so this threw me a little. However as I drove to Groomsport the rain stopped and I was grateful! In transition with just 20 racing it seemed very personal but everyone was very friendly and the organisers were there offering help and clarification. Transition was on grass and there was plenty of room and the organisers had provided a small changing tent beside the racking for the 226 competitors.  The race briefing was a friendly little chat and the race director made it clear that while it was a race they also saw it as a challenge event whether it took 10, 12, 14 or 16 hours and they wanted to help get everyone around the course and would help however they could so if anyone needed anything, even a fish supper!, just let a marshall know and they would do what they could. He also said if someone wanted a supporter to run with them to help them finish they wouldn't mind, but just to let them know and they would provide a hi viz vest for the supporter so other competitors knew they were not in the race. A very relaxed and beginner friendly event. 20 was also the biggest entry they had had for the 226 challenge so far.

    As a result of the wind which was moving the buoys and causing some fairly big waves the organisers changed the course to 6 laps sending us less far offshore, with a short beach run between laps over a timing mat. It was very calm and sheltered close to shore and the water quality in Groomsport is excellent, but by lap 3 at the outer limit of the course there was a big swell and when you turned the first buoy you were swimming against some big waves until you turned about 50m later to turn back to the shore.  There were a lot of wobbly legs at the end of each lap and a few comical  falling over moments. I felt I had held my own on the swim but knew I would be a long way back on at least 1 absolute rocket I couldn't follow at the start. I was out in 1 hr 23 in 7th place which was fairly slow for me (1hr 10 at the Outlaw) but it was a tough sea swim and the beach run interrupts the rhythm and I was happy I had swum as well as I can. First out of the water had 6 minutes on 2nd place. It was a first for me to be able to think about placings and time gaps but that is the joy of just having 20 starters and made it a real rac

  • Just lost my report twice now on the iPad so am giving up in a huff for bit before I start over yet again! image

  • image Well done through mate did you finesh ok? A fish supper!!! mmmmm 

    I think this one is definatly on the bucket list now and the dates work well for me next year.

  • love reading these real race reports, sounds fantastic so far ( sea swim is a target for me ) cheap enough, and friendly sounds great !!  Is 16 the cut off, may be a bit close after a near 15 at Outlaw?

  • BudjudeBudjude ✭✭✭

    i cant wait for the end of this post - the event sounds great - like a striped down commercial beast back to the exercise and pain

  • That's what I'm thinking mate and it's near some mates of mine so I can say hello. image

  • BudjudeBudjude ✭✭✭

    its also cheap as chips image

  • What to play? This will be slightly harder than the outlaw because not as many people doing the bike with you and a sea swim but you get a fish supper? You cound realistically do both as darkness did as long as you get your training together and don't mind the pain? If you want to go that way mate talk to will don't listen to me as I'm sometimes a little to enthusiastic about these things.image

  • I did thanks Cake. Out with the family and phone about to die so sorry for the delay!

  • Continued...

    T1 was slow as I hadn't found my land legs and was running like a drunk, having to sit down to get my wetsuit off and get my cycle shoes on. I downed some flat coke to settle my stomach and wasted time messing with my Garmin which had given up the ghost before setting out on the bike course. My ambitions were growing and I hoped I could move up to a top 5 place.

    The bike course was 6 loops described by the organisers as flat and fast on good surfaces.  While that was right for parts of the course there were certainly some up flats for which I needed to drop off the big ring and I think rolling is a better description with some longer drags and some bad utility company repairs in places. I think the route is great though with a mix of quiet rolling rural roads and a return along N Ireland's gold coast with magnificent properties,small yacht clubs, bays and golf courses.  There is also a little dual carriageway.

    lap 1 was a fairly solitary affair and there were few marshals but the route was well signposted (although the eventual winner must have gone wrong as his split for lap 1 was 20 mins faster than his subsequent laps!, but at least his winning margin was higher than this). On lap 2 I began to overtake a few of the slower swimmers so was a lap up, but I think it was lap 3 before I was able to move up the field overtaking two to move into 5th.

  • It began to rain a little and the wind remained strong which made the 8 miles of each lap up the coast back to Groomsport challenging.  Towards the end of lap 5 I caught and passed the water rocket and we exchanged encouragement both wishing the wind would ease. At the start of lap 6 there were scores of bikes ahead of me as  we joined up with the half ironman. I was surprised to be passing lots of them with 100 miles in my legs but I had paced it well and was maintaining a very consistent speed over the course.  About halfway round I spotted a competitor ahead with a number over 150 which I hadn't passed before (a 226 competitor) and pushed on in pursuit. As I passed he asked if I was doing the 226 and when I said I was he told me I had just taken second place, which gave me a massive boost. There were now marshals at every junction and the PSNI were policing the major junctions so there was nothing to slow me down, apart from the wind and a growing pain in my left ankle as my posterior tibial tendon began to make its presence felt. Turning back into T2 my family were there to cheer me on and there was lots of vocal support from marshals and the crowd. I shouted to my family that I was 2nd but my ankle was now hurting quite badly. Unfortunately when I got into T2 there were 2 bikes not 1 racked and I was in 3rd place.

    T2 was much quicker as the race was now on for a podium position, but I feared my ankle would force me to walk more than I would want to. 

  • The run course is two laps in a figure 8, starting on a path by the road back along the bike course (where the middle distance competitors on the bike course shout their support) to a dead turn and back halfway before turning into a holiday park and onto a coastal path and over a beach back to Groomsport, then onto a twisting, hilly and rocky coastal path, across a really long beach, before getting back onto Tarmac to another dead turn and back on the road to transition. A bit of everything which is tough but keeps it interesting.

    At the first dead turn I was holding third and started calculating the time gaps back to 4,5 and 6. I didn't have much on 4&5 but had quite a few minutes on 6. Problem was that 4th was a young gun (the water rocket!) who was running really strongly so realitically I knew I would lose 3rd and decided to try to make sure no more than 2 passed me. I lost 3rd at about mile 6. My ankle got worse throughout and my hip flexors began to hurt badly too but the course made it easy to keep a check on those behind me and I managed to keep running for most of the marathon.  I was delighted to hold onto 4th but had no idea of my time as my Garmin wasn't working.  Finished in 11hrs 22, 2 mins faster than the Outlaw and my new PB.  

    Great event.  The bike is long at over 115 miles but I think the run was 1mile or more short (but I will ignore that and claim my sub 4 run!).

    Most importantly I got to run over the finish with my daughter making up for the disappointment at the Outlaw.

    I may well be back.

  • BudjudeBudjude ✭✭✭

    why wouldnt they let you cross the line with your daughter at outlaw?

    Cracking read by the way - its on my potential list for next year - but its a very long list at the moment

  • It's a fairly new rule at Ironman so may have been expanded to cover other non-branded events. IM don't let you run in to the finish with any family members or friends. FB would know if it's a BT rule, he's a marshal.

    well done, Darkness! Sounds like a cracking event, wish I had known about it before I was retired from 226.

  • Bud if I remember rightly from Darkness's other race report his daughter wasn't at the finesh line when he was fineshing. Darkness brillinat mate well done!!!!! imageimage

  • Yep, like Cake says. the Outlaw is really family friendly do no problems with rules, just with spotting each other!

  • Oh, and thanks all! 

  • If a few of us go for this we could may be make up half the field?image

    well done on being 4th. Is that 1st in your age groupimageimage

  • BudjudeBudjude ✭✭✭

    i am only going if the field remains small and thus enables me to either be top 10 or first in category image

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