A relative newcomer to triathlon has become an Ironman at his first attempt.
Belvoir Triathlon Club member James Britten only took up the sport last year and soon decided the longer distance events suited him best and, this season, entered The Outlaw Ironman competition in Nottingham at the weekend.
He began triathlon at Sprint Distance and moved up through Olympic and on to half-Ironman in his first season last year.
James said: “At the end of that first season, I decided that the longer distance events were where it was at for me, and I started planning my next year of competing, with an Ironman being the ultimate goal.”
He employed the services of coach Mary Hardwick, of inspire2tri, who helped him both physically and mentally for the almighty challenges of the Ironman challenge which comprises a 2½-mile swim, followed by 112 miles on the bike, after which competitors run a marathon.
James worked on his base training through the early months of this year and in June completed the Half Outlaw triathlon as a warm-up for the full event. He was blighted with technical issues in the bike leg of the half-distance event, but still finished in a very respectable 5hr 39min 29sec.
All the hours of relentless training took their toll six weeks ago when James suffered a herniated disc. Doctors recommended he forgot about the Ironman but following two spinal injections, James said he felt “100 times better”.
He said: “My running wasn’t quite right but the good thing was that I was pain free, so The Outlaw was still a definite maybe.”
By race day at Holme Pierrepont on Sunday, James was race ready for the 6am start and ingeniously put himself in with the faster swimmers, guessing they would leave him behind in open water which would protect his back from further injury in the frenzy of a big bunch of triathletes.
He stayed calm through transition to the the bike stage on which he cheered on by his clubmates en route.
James said: “The bike leg went perfectly to plan. The support of my fellow Belvoir Tri Club members, who’d arranged their Sunday social ride to see me passing through Orston, was just what I needed.”
The final marathon leg was a double out-and-back into Nottingham and was when James started began to get some pain from his back.
He said: “It was here where my back began to crumble, but I’d come this far and I wasn’t about to let it stop me. With one lap of the lake to go, I saw my family, friends and coach cheering me on. I just put one foot in front of the other and switched to auto-pilot.”
James crossed the finish line in a time of 12.16.13 to officially become an Ironman triathlete.