Outlaw Half Holkham 2019 – 7th July by Trevor

Get a beer or drink of choice and have a sit down.

My journey starts twelve months ago when I went to support those mad Bandits doing a half. It was one of the hottest days of the year and on the three lap run everyone looked completely wasted…….surely I could “look” that bad and get round? Entries for 2019 opened and Steve was signed up, I’m sure alcohol must have been involved but clickety click and I was in!

I was thinking 6 hours was a realistic target: swim 45 mins, bike 3 hrs, run 2 hrs, leaves 15 mins for transitions and “slippage”.

Swim is only a little longer than standard; bike, I’m sitting down, what could go wrong (note to self: obviously need a new bike); run, oh shite, in recent years I have only run one 10k a year in my annual standard tri and haven’t run more than 10k since I was a teenager! The run was always going to be my problem.

January comes round, bought a new bike (derr that was always the priority) and started ramping up the running. To be fair I did consistently manage 20k+ per week, slipped in a number of 10k races and even a half marathon in mid May (1 hr 55 mins).

As the event got closure I started to get considerable more nervous and adjusted my target to 6 hrs 15 possibly 30 mins, 90k bike at 30kph might be possible but expected to slow and lose say 10 mins somewhere and 2 hrs for the run was clearly deluded. Start times published and Steve was starting 24 mins behind, very good chance he would catch me, couple of minutes in the swim, probably not a good benchmark but based upon Ashwell TT potentially 15+ mins on the bike and another 10 minutes on the run.


I had camped on site, slept really well and up for breakfast at 5am. It was only at this point that I started getting nervous about the swim! Finalised kit in Transition, bumped into a few Bandits and then the short walk to the start…..don’t panic, it’s not a race just get round it. Deliberately started near the back of my wave and OK for the first 50/100m and then the really tight chest, right arm really heavy (possibly excess water in the wet suit) pulling me down, not sure I can do this and seriously considered DNF. Had a word, “IT’S NOT A RACE JUST FINISH”, 50m of breaststroke and finally started to calm down and got into a steady crawl. Turn point was round an island and I actually enjoyed the second half. I can’t really focus on my Garmin without glasses, but pretty sure it said 42mins, eh that’s ahead of schedule? (Garmin says it was over 2k, so happy with that)

I had deliberately made the decision to take transitions leisurely, very slow jog/walk. Gel, socks and walk to the mount line and straight into a long drag up hill out of the estate. My Garmin bleeps on 5k segments and I can actually read the enlarged time, first 5k 11 mins, not 30kph but that will do, keep it steady. Next ten 5k splits all under 10 mins and two under 9….. perhaps this is a RACE after all. Great road surfaces, minimal traffic, undulating but fast and was overtaking far more than overtook me. Overall, almost 91k, 2 hrs 55 mins, 31kph, WELL happy with that!

And then the run. Just get it done, four and a bit parkruns and DO NOT WALK. The first 2k+ overlaps with the bike in, managed to spot Steve (I had been running for 11+ mins, plus his last 1k+ on the bike and T2, must be approaching 15 mins down on me, could I hold off 5 mins a lap?) and heard Jane shouting what I assume was encouragement at me!? I needed a pee (tmi) so stopped at the next feed station (NB Garmin auto pause) and then walked through the feed station. Had a good old swear and got going again, it hurt, everything really hurt. Plenty of encouragement from marshals and spectators and from Mrs Duracell on each lap. I did walk through another feed station on the final lap and whilst not much quicker than walking pace at times, I didn’t do any material walking. First parkrun 31 mins, 10k 1 hr 3 mins, next parkrun 33 & 34 mins, had nothing left for the final k so no big push. Orange carpet & collapse! 2 hrs 19 mins.

Overall, official time 6 hours, 1 min and 12 secs. “Moving Time” according to my Garmin 6 hrs and 3 secs. FFS if I could pee quicker or hadn’t sauntered through Transitions perhaps I could of got under 6 hours.

Gathered my composure found Mrs Duracell and clapped in Jane, Steve & Hayley (apologies but managed to miss the big finish for Graham & Vic).

For the record Steve beat me my 4 mins, 23 secs, approx 4 mins on the swim, 2.5 mins on the bike (only 2.5, how did that happen?) and I somehow managed to recover a couple on the run.

It is incredibly well organised and a stunning venue so would definitely recommend it if you are ever inclined to consider a long event. As for me, immediately afterwards “never ever again”, now 24 hours on “maybe”.

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