Lanzarote Ironman 2014
Lanzarote Ironman 2014, a stunning event and a triumph, as always, great atmosphere, superb athletes, in some cases grandparents who provided thrills and entertainment as they gave their all in a challenge that defies belief in mere mortals like myself.
Every superlative must have been used a thousand times and there is nothing one can say that truly expresses the admiration these competitors deserve. They are virtually superhuman!
Over 2000 entrants registered this year from all over the world, professionals and amateurs including first-timers, one blind competitor, some with other physical challenges to overcome, men and women, old and young, who have all trained with dedication and a dream of ‘Ironman’ success.
But there is another group, even larger, that is essential to the success of the event. The Organisers, Marshals, Crew, Vigilados, Police, Medical Crews, Cooks, cleaners….. over 3000 volunteers in all!
Briefing at the turn around point, on the marathon course, in Playa Honda, 15 May 2014.
‘We are all organised.’ decides Henning, ‘Of course we will have a few situations. If nothing goes wrong we will have nothing to do! Someone is bound to forget the bananas, run out of ice or water at the aid stations, nothing we can’t handle.’
(The bananas were the first mini crisis of the day, in fact, when it was discovered that they had not been delivered! Organisation Team to the rescue!)
Ready, steady, cook!
An amazing, cheerful, pleasant team worked hard all day in ‘tents’ in the heat to provide breakfast, lunch and an evening meal for the athletes and feed all the staff and volunteers. I bet paella has never tasted so good for those coming in from completing the days swim, the gruelling cycle ride around the island, and the full marathon. (It was excellent by any standards!) Thanks guys.
Our alarm went off at 5am. We were were on the beach in Puerto del Carmen by 6.50 to see over 2000 orange hatted competitors line up and file into the sea at 7am, while it was still barely light. It was actually quite emotional watching them and imagining what they must be thinking.
Ready, Steady, Go!
It took 3 minutes 50 seconds for them all to get into the water for the 3.8k swim. As they spread out to swim two circuits of the course the water looks as if it is full of piranhas!
They come out and run through the showers to an area on the beach where they each collect their numbered blue bag with their cycling kit and run up to collect their bike, most of them in their socks! The shoes are on the pedals!
After cycling 180.2k all around the island (Lanzarote is generally thought to be the toughest cycle leg of all the Ironman courses) the first runner was on the track for the full marathon (42.2k) at 12.52pm.
As they deposit their bikes they have to collect their red bag with their running shoes, and follow the red carpet to the changing tent and off again, ably guided by Christina and friends who worked so hard to keep them on the route, to shoo away the thoughtless folk who, apparently oblivious to just how important keeping their momentum going and moving in the right direction is to these guys at that point, seemed determined at times to act as ‘formation getting in the way team’! Well done girls. Super job!
Runners do two laps along the front, from the start in Puerto del Carmen to Playa Honda and a third lap that is a little shorter, turning at Matagorda.
Many congratulations to Romain and to his team-mate Lucy Gossage who was the first woman finisher this year.
At midnight I was clapping and cheering madly with friends Lyn and John as the real heroes came in 17 hours after they started, some almost on their knees but still game, many joined by family members, including grandchildren, for the last few metres. We were enjoying the fantastic atmosphere, while Henning, Steve, and Lee were out in the van, checking the course, starting to clear up and collect in the equipment. They had the unenviable task of telling those still out that they had no chance of making the 12.00 deadline and should come in with them. Some refused and some were in tears. There were not many but so awful for them, really sad and a reminder of just how tough this race is for them all.
Over 2000 entrants and 3000 volunteers to be fed and watered, months of planning and organising, stamina and effort beyond comprehension from the runners and riders. Great event, memorable day.
On the road for home soon after 1am! All over for another year.
See last year’s event here
Stop press: 2258 registered to enter this year. 1906 finished the race which means that 352 either did not start or did not finish. (Information provided by Coach Cox via discus .com)
Category: Lanzarote.Tags: Journalism, Articles