Hever Castle Gauntlet Half Ironman Distance Race Report – 27th September 2015 by Guy

12038270_10153628793532179_2453317655208358846_nSo Hever!! (prepare for a long read)

An early start from the nearby Premier Inn and we traveled in convoy to a very small country lane to wait and wait and wait until the Car Park ( read muddy field) was cleared.

All the Marshals kept shouting not to stop, as the ground was so muddy (the forward crew of Matt and Lee had warned us).
So the first thing you notice about Hever was not the stunning view but the smelly Portaloos!! They boost 7000 people are going to do the tri’s this weekend, so they cater for that but positioning a dozen loos (for everyone) nowhere near the Transistion area or the entertainment!

So the race was delayed by 15 minutes (car park issues!) and then onto a great race briefing (slightly to long). Into the water with another 300+ like minded people, a cheer a count down and then off!! Wow!! The water was cold (very cold) but the punch -up was epic! even when I was at the furthest point away I was still being punched and kicked. Round the last buoy and then I got beached on a sand bank (the sun was so strong and low I was unable to see the biggest yellow buoy in the world). So into the cold river (more punching) and eventually I was out in 45mins (my time). A stagger to T1 with Ryan + support crew shouting at me (thanks guys) and then I saw two more familiar faces Caroline and Lucie, who shouted some encouraging comments like “bout time” and “you forgot your water wings” or something (but thanks again).

Exit for bike on a muddy track.

The bike course!! I didn’t look at the profile, and to be fair it doesn’t look bad (compared to the Little Woody in Chepstow) but what a hard course. No flow at all. With hills that just kept giving. not steep but very tiring. We rejoined the Olympic guys at about 35K and all of a sudden the world became very busy!! No drafting! you’re having a laugh.You couldn’t move for Lycra.  So eventually i finished (3,58)

To the run.

I looked at previous results and warned the others that i thought this one had a sting in its tail. It did. It was ALL OFF ROAD. Once again the Olympic distance guys joined us for the 1st 1 km then we where off into the Kent countryside. And it wasn’t to bad. 1st lap done, pass the stinking toilets again for lap 2.  It was getting hot BUT the aid stations (3) had enough stuff whilst i was out there (i heard later they ran out of water- 7000 athletes – joke).

Finally the finish line in 7:33 – A long day!! I had estimated 6;30 ish.

Half distance suits me, but 6 weeks training after my cracked rib, was not enough.

So on reflection would i do it again . NO
Value for money – NO
Well organised – NO
Smelly toilets – YES.

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