Martin Cain - Ironman UK



With having taken a break from long distance last year I wasn’t sure how I would fair in my first professional race at long distance, but in for a penny in for a pound!!

After a solid winters training I was confident I would at least achieve a sub 10 hour finish, there was a strong Pro field on the day but I managed to block this from my nervous system which was already hitting top note.

All my preparation and homework was centred around achieving a 9 hour finish, this was certainly ambitious but achievable.

My splits needed to be 50 minute swim, 5 hour bike and a 3 hour marathon to give me some leeway and time for transitions.

At 6 o’clock the horn sounded and all hell was let loose as 1500 competitors hit the water it was a 2 lap swim each being 1.25 miles with a short run in-between laps, I managed a 54 minute swim which reduced my safety margin.

Onto the bike I knew I needed to average 22mph to get a 5 hour bike with Sheep House Lane appearing 3 times on the laps it was going to be difficult keeping my average up but with the rest of the course being undulating I dragged my average up to 21.9mph which I was happy with. With the support out on the course the atmosphere was electric in places and compared with some of the scenes more common on the Tour de France.

As I rounded the last lap and passed the crowd one last time I knew I was close to my anticipated time finishing the bike leg in 5 hours 8 minutes.

As I collected my run transition bag there was a familiar face in Sam Baxter who I have raced against twice this years and we have taken a win a piece. We ran out together and I felt strong I had set myself the target of 6 minute 30 seconds per mile, this was slightly ambitious but for the first 5 miles I was well below so decided to ease off to conserve my legs.

In previous years it has always been during the run that the wheels have fallen off and I have lost a massive chunk of my lead and was determined to not let it happen this time.

True to form though 18 miles came and so did the light head and stomach upset, I ended up resting on all fours for a minute to recover rather than falling down but spurred on by the crowds and the knowledge that there was a feed station close by I got back to my feet. It was a difficult 500 metres but after some refreshments and a visit to the portaloo I continued and managed to pull it round to finish fairly strong with a marathon time of 3 hours 24 minutes giving me a total time of 9 hours 30 minutes and 7th place overall, a 50 minute improvement on my previous attempt.

Again the crowds lining the street into Bolton were fantastic and probably what kept me going when I hit the wall.

Next up will be Ireland 70.3 where I will be looking for a top 5 finish.

As ever a huge thanks to all my supporters of whom there were loads on the day all encouraging me on and my 3 sponsors CNP Professional, and Surosa cycles without these I would not be where I am now.