Indie Man – An Ironman Journey

Date: 14.10.2019

Written by one of our very own Indie Family, Elliott Clark about his journey to completing his first full Ironman in Barcelona.

After giving up playing rugby back about 5 years ago following a series of injuries and the inability to get out of bed for a few days I needed to find a similar pastime with the same adrenaline rush, just without the bone crunching risk. After reading up about triathlons I decided to sign up for a local sprint triathlon, I was then hooked and within 30 minutes of completing it I signed up for the Outlaw 70.3 (Ironman half distance) that same year.

This involved
∙ Swimming 1.2 miles.
∙ Cycling 56 miles.
∙ Running 13.2 miles.

After some serious training and finding a local lake to swim in I managed to complete the Outlaw 70.3 and subsequently entered the next 2 years in a row. Throughout this time I had made a decision that I would like to complete a full Ironman 140.6 by the age of 40. On October the 6th, 2019 this became a reality. Although I had turned 40 it was still within my 40th year.

The challenge consisted of,
∙ Swimming 2.4 miles.
∙ Cycling 112 miles.
∙ Running 26.2 miles.

The day started with a special breakfast hosted by the hotel at 5am, followed by a walk to the all important start. Whilst the nerves were starting to kick in, I greased up and put my wetsuit on for a practice swim at 7.30am. In true Ironman tradition before my start at 8.20am, the organisers were blasting AC/DC Thunderstruck on the beach of Calella to get everyone
revved up. It then began, the 2 mile swim took me 1hr 8mins which is my personal best.

Next I had to run back to the start area, where I took off my wetsuit and put on my cycling gear, grabbed my bike and headed for the roads. This consisted of a 2 lap course which pretty much took me to Barcelona and back. The total time for my cycle was 5hrs 36mins where I averaged 20.5mph. Another personal best.

After completing the cycle, there was only the marathon that stood in the way of being branded an Ironman and it started very well. I got off the bike to be pleasantly surprised that my legs worked and felt good. The run consisted of 3 laps and half way round the 1st lap it hit me that it was not going to be easy and what followed for the next 10 miles can only be described as some of the darkest places I have ever visited.

I saw my wife and boys on numerous occasions throughout the ride and the run shouting and cheering me on and each time it lifted my spirits and there was no way I wasn’t going to make it. I knew they would be waiting at the finish line.

Finally after 11hrs and 23mins I made it onto the magic carpet to be greeted by the sound of ‘Elliott Clark , you are an Ironman!’ This has to be the toughest personal challenge of my life and it amazes me what the body and mind are capable of.

Thanks for all the kind messages of support.

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