[Report by PJ Dunne]
The build up:
The road to London started back in Jan ’12 when Frank kick started an email to Don.
It grew from there to eventually include all 4 of us, me, Frank, Don and Fintan.
2012 was spent chasing valuable national series points around the country.
The competition seemed to be up for it as standards jumped hugely from the previous year.
When we all got word in June this year (except Don he knew from June ’12) the plan was coming together.
Roll on September 15th for the Olympic when Fintan and myself would line out in our country’s colours.
For me the start of the week didn’t go well. The vomiting bug was doing the rounds in our house and I was the only one left. On the Monday it hit me and it was Wednesday in London before I was ok again.
Up to this point I had been putting in pbs in the swim and run so wasn’t that concerned.
When we got settled into our lovely apartment there was a lot of coming and going from Hyde park for reg and briefings and what not.
Going down on the Friday morning to cheer the lads on in the sprint Fintan and I agreed it finally hit home. The nerves hit us and we still had 2 days to go.
On the Saturday evening after eating a feast prepared by Tracy the packing started.
Bikes already in transition, I can confirm the rumours are not true, no teddy slept with my bike. Alarm clocks set for 4:55 am so we could stuff more food in and get the 5:25 am bus to Marble arch. Of course we missed this bus and had to wait until the next one. Leaving us with only 15 mins in transition before it closed at 6:30 am
We both then had a long wait around until our start times of 10:10 & 10:15am.
I think despite the many toilet visits we both were relatively calm. While sitting over a pot of tea at a lake side cafe we noted the first waves were swimming the wrong course. What the fu€@ ? We soon found out the swim had been cut to 750m because of the ambient air temp.
It was cold at 7am but by the time we were off it was warm hence the elites being allowed to do the full swim distance.
Just 5 mins separated our swim waves. Me off first.
We had decided earlier that we would place ourselves on the middle of the long pontoon. And that’s what we both did. It took me the first 250m to get into my rhythm , Fintan saying he had a good swim. Neither of us experienced the usual kicking and boxing you get in Ireland apart from at the 1st buoy. It was over before it started really. I’d hoped with the shorter swim that I wouldn’t be passed by the next wave, in the end there was just 2 who passed me and that was in the last 50m. Fintan had 10mins before another wave got in the water.
We exited the water with only 7 sec separating us, me ahead barely.
If we had been in the same wave Fintan would have passed me here as he had a lightning quick (pardon the electrician pun) T1.
Out onto the bike and the reason we both picked the Olympic distance.
We started with a lap of Hyde Park then out through the Queen Mother gates and sharp right and through Wellington arch. Then down to Buckingham palace ,Big Ben London Eye, Under London Bridge ( which isn’t falling down thank god) and turnaround at Tower bridge. We came back via Downing street and Trafalgar square. Cycled up the Mall and Constitution hill and back into Hyde Park and then did it all over again. Despite being down on the tri bars for most of it we still could take the sights in. The first lap had lots of bike traffic but the second lap was nearly empty.
The wave after Fintan was the last so not much joining the route on lap 2. The wind was significant at times. Coming across us as we turned 90degs . I had a couple of hairy moments. As I mentioned before Fintan’s wave started only 5 mins after me, on lap 1 of the bike the big boys passed me. I was bombing along at one stage on the flat only to be passed at speed by 4-5 in the space of a minute. I looked down at my speedo thinking right you may push harder, to see I was doing 40 kmph. Fu€@ they must have been doing 50+ kmph! As we passed Fellow Irish or indeed were passed by Irish there were words of encouragement. This was nice.
Frank ,Don & Daniel, Paul & Carol Mimnagh and family set up an “Irish corner” on the straight just past Buckingham palace. This was great all the roaring and cheering.
Apparently the flag flying means the Queen is in residence. I heard she was shouting for the Paddys
Yvonne & Lia and Tracy moved from Swim exit to T1 exit and then onto entry/exit of Hyde park. This was great hearing familiar shouts.
No much separating us on the Bike either.
PJ 1hr 7mins 48sec
Fintan 1 hr 8mins 13 sec
Both avg 35 kmph aprox
Back to T 2 and I got me transition mojo back recording the fastest T2 of all 4 of us.
The run was 3 laps of a 3.33km circuit around Hyde Park.
Mainly flat just 2 little digs each lap.
At this stage only 1 sec separated us virtually.
Running as we all know is Fintan’s strongest discipline so this was the part he most looked forward to.
It didn’t take him long to get into his stride and was putting in solid sub 4 min kms.
I started well and got into a good rhythm and found myself passing a few people but also being passed. The crowds along the run route were absolutely amazing. Shouts of c’mon Ireland ,Dunne , Redmond etc it would make the hair on your head stand up ( not Fintan’s of course!!). Not only from Irish people but from the Brits also. I had a Welsh couple sing Ireland’s call to me!
On the second lap I started to struggle and having followed my nutritional plan to a tee the only thing I can put it down too is the bug I had earlier in the week.
We didn’t see each other until the last km when Fintan passed me and bounced off to finish very strongly on the blue carpet.
Putting in a savage 38:09 10km.
My 10km time was a disappointing 43:47.
2 weeks before London I had ran a sub 40 min 10kms (a season goal) so the running was there. I had hoped for late 41 or early 42.
Overall it was a great experience and well worth the work involved.
My disappointment has faded already.
Well done to Fintan strong all-round but a savage run.
Fintan age group placing 106th 650 th in Olympic race
PJ 143 rd in Age group and 840 th overall
[for detailed results see this post]
A big thank you to my Family for all their support in the hours spent training in the last 18 months.
And to Don, Frank, Paul, Carol and kids, Tracy, Yvonne and Lia for all the shouts cheers high fives photos etc along the way.
Running down the finishing chute with the Ireland flag at the World triathlon Championships will be a memory that will last a long time.
But one thing that wasn’t far from my thoughts at any stage, most particularly the finish line, was how he’d have loved the whole thing.
Edmonton Canada next year or Chicago 2015 anyone?
From everyone who was over in London a big thank you to everyone in the club for their good wishes and help.
Niall O ‘Muiri was right when he famously said London is a big city.