RACE REPORT: Co-Founder Rich On His First Ironman 70.3

RACE REPORT: Co-Founder Rich On His First Ironman 70.3

Post Ironman 70.3 Thoughts - Runderwear Co-Founder

This weekend saw a classic Ironman 70.3 in Weymouth as we witnessed inspiring performances from everyone! Someone we kept a close eye on, in particular, was Runderwear's Co-Founder and CEO Richard Edmonds. We spoke to him last week and caught up on his training and how he was preparing for his first Ironman 70.3. Today we find out how he got on!

On Sunday 22nd September myself and 2699 other hearty soles left the Weymouth beach to embark on a journey of 70.3 miles around the Dorset countryside. This was my first Ironman 70.3 triathlon and my fourth triathlon since I decided to train for this in October last year. 

Why did I choose to enter Ironman 70.3 in Weymouth?

Weymouth is 45 minutes away from us at Runderwear HQ in Poole so I thought this would be a good first Ironman event to do without the stress of travel etc. I was really excited to challenge myself and test my potential and it was really supportive knowing that my family were able to come down and see me race. With my training working really well and my confidence building, I was race-ready but still had things I needed to work on.

I have never been a strong swimmer. Like a lot of kids, I did my badges up to 25 metres and then didn’t really swim after that. Growing up in Leicester (the furthest point from the sea!), I didn’t have much opportunity for open water swimming and my school didn’t do any swimming at all. So in all honesty, from the age of 5 until last year, I barely did any swimming!

On holiday last year, I asked my wife (a very competitive swimmer) to film me doing a couple of lengths in the pool. I watched it back and asked her “why did you film it in slow motion?” When I found out this was in fact in real-time I was genuinely shocked. I thought I was going so quickly! On that day I made it a mission to learn to swim properly. If I’m honest, I was quite scared of swimming in open water too, perhaps because I wasn’t a strong swimmer, so I wanted to learn so I could be comfortable enough to swim in a lake and even the sea.

Training for an Ironman 70.3

I come from a running background and although I had focussed on CrossFit training for the last 7-8 years, I felt running would still be my strongest discipline. Therefore, I knew I needed to attack my weaknesses in swimming and cycling.

I have mentioned my lack of swimming history but I was also brand new to cycling. My training had mostly consisted of 2-3 swims a week, including a group session with the Tri Purbeck club over in Wareham). I tried to cycle 2-3 times a week but this was sometimes difficult, however, I didn’t miss any longer cycles at the weekend every week.

Finally, I ran once a week with the occasional week where I got another run in. People asked me how I fitted this all in around work and family but I really believe if you are passionate enough about your goal, you will make it happen. I always swam between 9pm and 10pm in the evening, I’m not a TV person so this was fine and kids were in bed! Then there were loads of early mornings before work or at the weekends. I managed to hit most of the sessions and actually really enjoyed training the 3 disciplines!

Race Day!

My alarm was set for 4:00am, but with pre-race nerves, I woke at 2am and was ready to go! After checking the weather forecast for the 3,000th time and fuelling on a couple of pieces of toast and a cup of tea, I left to drive the short 45 minutes to Weymouth. After walking to T1, the rain really started to come down heavily and my mind soon wondered, “why did I pick Weymouth instead of somewhere with lots of sunshine?” After convincing myself Weymouth was actually better than California, I did my final checks on my bike and was ready to go.

As I headed to the swim start, I heard an announcement that the swim would be cut shorter due to the weather and that there was also a delay of half an hour. Being a newbie to the world of Ironman, I wasn’t sure when I would need to be in the pen for the start so I was in nice and early with everyone else. Spirits were high amongst fellow competitors but the rain started to get people feeling cold and ready to get on with it! Finally, the pros left the beach and stormed their way around the swim course whilst us mere mortals watched on. They then started to release the other 2,650 of us in 5 people bursts which took a lot longer than I realised. Unfortunately, there was also a break in the funnel ahead of me which allowed people to filter in ahead. Finally, we entered the water around 7.45am and the race was on!

The swim went pretty well, especially if you take into consideration where I was at with my swimming a year ago! Just to finish an open water swim was a win for me so I was pleased. I would think I can go faster but with the number of people in the water, it was a bit of a scrum all the way around… and I’m always happy to see dry land! 

I took my time in T1 and put on a cycling top and arm warmers, as well as my socks, shoes and helmet and headed off to explore a rain-drenched Dorset. The bike course was great! A good mix of flat sections, 1,000m of climbing including one big hill and some amazing scenery. The problem was it was very wet and slippery so everyone had to be quite cautious on the road. I was very lucky to not get a puncture as there were lots of people on the side of the road changing tyres. I really enjoyed the bike route and the fellow competitors all looked after each other on the way round. In the last 20km, I could feel my back was very sore but it’s normal for me to feel a bit of soreness in my lower back on a longer cycle, so I thought it would be fine…

As soon as I entered T2 I knew I had a problem with my bike. I tried to jog with my bike but my lower back seized up immediately! Ouch. I docked the bike (not sure if that’s the technical term!?) and headed for the transition tent - walking slowly. I tried to put my socks and shoes on but I was in a lot of pain. I decided there was no way I could run so I lay down on the floor to try and relieve my back pain. A very kind competitor helped me get back up and I tried to jog in the tent but still couldn’t run! I started to panic a bit; how would I run a half marathon?! I stretched again and again and tried to jog and eventually was able to leave T2 to the run course. I had spent 10 minutes in T2 and I was asked by a friend later on if I had stopped for a cup of tea and a hair cut!

I was in pain but I wanted that medal! The first few miles were ok but I soon had to make short stops to stretch my back to try and make it more comfortable to run. The run route is a 3.5 loop journey along the Weymouth promenade with great support from the spectators! The rain had stopped by this point but it was into the wind one way and behind on the other. I have never been happier to see a finish line! I had the biggest smile on my face as I entered the red carpet and finished to receive the medal! My final time was 5 hours and 16 minutes – a long but great challenge.

The three main things I took away from the race:

  1. Just how good Runderwear™ products are! My fellow co-founder, Jamie, and his product development are absolutely incredible. I wore the Men's Runderwear™ Brief under the Runderwear™ Trisuit and Runderwear™ Anti-Blister Socks on my feet. All were fantastic, even in the conditions, and I had no chafing or blisters at all. Brilliant!
  2. The volunteers are absolute legends! Standing out in the rain for hours to help give us the best possible experience - thanks to you all! You are incredible people and I really appreciate all of you for your help and support.
  3. Spirit. The conditions were not good but the spirit remained high always. Positivity and determination shone through all day. Well done to everyone who took on the challenge and completed it, it was a hard day but you are all heroes in my mind. Well done everyone!

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