Sunday 8th September started at 3am, consuming large amounts of food in preparation for the long and gruelling day. The bags were checked for a final time and all the food and drink needed for the day were loaded up and I made my way to Tenby for 5am.
Transition opened at 5am, so it was a very early start in the dark; but it was dry and there was a huge buzz amongst the 1800 athletes. Everyone was formally marched from transition down to the North Beach where the swim would take place. The swim consisted of a 2.4 mile swim, taking in two 1.2 mile loops of the North Beach Bay.
Following on from an emotional National Anthem, the gun sounded and the day was under way. The swim was hectic and I was surrounded by feet, arms and rubber hats. The sea was fairly calm and the first part of the day was complete. One down and two to go.
The bike was made up of 112 miles around Pembrokeshire’s wonderful countryside, beach fronts and bustling villages and towns. The crowds were incredible and the local support was hugely appreciated. Every town and village was lined with supporters cheering, screaming and shouting as athletes from all over the world went past.
The bike section was long and tough going, but completed in 6 hours 35 minutes. Two sections down and one more to go. As I came off the bike, the legs were feeling heavy and the thought of a 26 mile marathon to finish the day was mentally tough.
As I got changed in the transition marquee and looked out on to the marathon course, I placed one foot in front of the other and remarkably began to loosen up and start the four laps of Tenby’s walled town.
Once again, the support was incredible and really pulled me through the gruelling final section of the day! Completing four laps of the town was mentally challenging, as I was amongst people on their final lap whilst I was on my first. However, I kept my head down, and kept ploughing through the pain barrier to enter the red carpet and cross the line in 4 hours and 31 minutes. This gave me a total time of 12 hours and 49 minutes for the whole day.
I crossed the line to the famous sound of “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”. It was an emotional end to the day as I crossed the line to receive my finisher’s medal. The hard work and 12 months of training had finally paid off and the day was complete. I was surrounded by so many friends, colleagues and family on the finish line. The day was something special, and a day I will never ever forget.