What made you initially decide to take part in the IronMan event?
“About a year ago, I decided to take on the challenge when I caught myself talking to my two boys about what “Daddy used to do”, rather than what “Daddy can still do”. So as I sat there with my 1kg bar of Dairy milk, Frankie and Harrison were messing around with some old medals I picked up in what feels like the mid-80s. It was at that moment Frankie asked the most cutting question, 'Daddy why don’t you do these things anymore?'
I didn’t have a good answer at all, so I figured I’d make the call to try and show them that from a Dad that was pretty out of shape, I could bounce back (quite literally at first) and achieve something. Crucially it’s at a time in their lives where they’ll hopefully remember it and with any luck it’ll be good for them to see. My daughter is nearly two, so she won’t remember this at all so I’m really hoping she doesn’t ask me any of the same cutting questions when she’s a bit older!”
Tell us a bit about the charity, BeMoreOscar…
“Along the journey I chose amazing charity close to home called the BemoreOscar charity, which is dedicated to the nephew of one of Roc Searches Directors. Oscar has a life limiting disease known as Battens disease. He’s my eldest sons’ age so it really hits home and I figured it would be good to try and raise sponsorship for him along the journey. So far around £1200 has been raised for the charity, so a great, great result.”
So what actually is an Ironman 70.3 Triathlon?
“It’s a 1.2mile swim, 56mile bike ride followed by a 13.1 mile run. Combine the numbers, and that’s where the 70.3 comes from. Believe it or not, they run events that double that distance!"
What was it like training for such a big event?
“It turns out you can’t blag it, I know that much. So the early mornings started, the 5am bike rides, the lake swims in March which were pretty fresh, the runs etc. and you know what? It started to snap me into shape and I loved it.
But It didn’t come too easily, or without drama but I don’t think they ever do. I struggled with my calves a lot, combination of inactivity and a broken ankle 18 months ago being the catalyst, so I wasn’t able to run the race distance before the day at all, or link the bike to run training, which is an important aspect to practice. I was a bit behind the curve due to that, but the cherry really was catching Covid two weeks before race day, which physically and psychologically hit me pretty hard. With these type of events you ideally want to go into them feeling at the top of your game, with no concerns but all of sudden I had quite a few of them.
My isolation ended on the Thursday before the race on Sunday, and I had to make a call on whether to race or not. I made single-handedly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made which was to turn up and see what happens. Pulling out I think would have been respectable, but all I could think about was telling the boys I didn’t go, and I couldn’t do that to them."
How did it go on the day?
“Now to be completely transparent, I certainly wasn’t the fastest Ironman out there that day, in fact far from it I came 823rd out of 1200 or so that started but I finished the course within the cut-off times to officially be classed as an Ironman, and got the medal to take home for the boys, so was I happy? Absolutely I was.
The only thing that tarnished the day (apart from capitulating on the run) was the family not being able to be there to watch as they were all still isolating. So the boys didn’t get to see Daddy on the day, which was kind of the whole point.
So I’m rolling the dice in September and doing it all again! The difference being that the kids will be there to watch this time, and they are even allowed to cross the line with me for the photo finish - so that’s my new motivation for the next 6 weeks.
I’m just hoping I don’t make them cross the line last…. But let’s see!”
If you’d also like to support Oscar through the BeMoreOscar fund, the family’s fundraising link can be found here: https://gofund.me/93994e8e.