A YEAR OF CHANGE
13 February 2018
He has helped tons of long distance runners to achieve their goals of either crossing the line of a marathon or even conquering the gruelling Comrades Marathon. He himself has crossed the finish line of Comrades 13 times, so it is fair to say Eamonn McCann passion for running – and helping others - is second to none.
But the year 2018 was going to be different. It was time for a new adventure. “I was always sitting at the club after a run listening to the guys talking about Ironman. So I wanted to find out for myself what this Ironman thing is all about,” said Eamonn.
And so, when Run24 in conjunction with Glen Gore, Race Director of the MiWayLife 226 Brick Challenge, ran a competition for an entry worth R2800 into the inaugural 226 race, Eamonn entered with these words: “I am 56 years old and I have done 13 Comrades. I am looking for a new challenge so I decided to enter my first Full Ironman in April 2018. Winning this competition will help me on my way to achieve this".
The 226 Brick Challenge, which is a unique event and the brainchild of Gore, consists of a 3.8km swim on Day 1, a 180km bike on Day 2 and a 42.2km run on Day 3. Participants could also choose to go ‘half’ the distance: 1.9km swim on Day 1, 90km cycle on Day 2 and 21.1km on Day 3.
Eamonn chose the full distance. Below he tells of his experience of the race weekend.
Firstly a huge thank you to Run 24 for the chance to enter the competition and then winning it! What a fantastic weekend.
My longest swim up to date
My wife and I left Jhb for Midmar Dam on Friday morning with nerves all over the place. That afternoon would be my first long open water swim of 3.8km.
Shortly after 3pm, we started the swim: a double lap of 1.9km. All went well in the first lap, but then on the second lap, the weather took a turn for the worse and all of a sudden we were fighting the waves. Turning for home after the last buoy was the greatest feeling as we were now ‘riding the waves’. The closer I got to the jetty, the more I was desperately trying to feel for solid ground. Eventually it came and I stumbled out of the water - ever so happy to have completed my longest open water swim to date.
As I tried to recover and find my bearings, a cup of the coldest, iciest, Erdinger Beer was thrust into my hand and I have to say it went down like a bomb!
Come the morning of Saturday, we were lined up for the 180km cycle. This was going to be another first for me; the longest ride that I would attempt to date. I have done a lot of training with my fellow club mates but never something this long. We were to do 4x 45km loops.
Off we went. Out of the resort and up past Piggly Wiggly and Granny Mouse, turning back at the 18km mark. Back past the entrance to the resort and down to the dam wall. A little further on we made a U-turn back to the entrance and back into the resort.
Get yourself over the timing mat and head on back out on the same route.
After the 3rd lap and heading out for the last time, thoughts of ‘you got this’ came into my head. I finally crossed the finish line of the cycle in 7:09 and I was in a good space.
The run consisted of 4x10.5km laps within the resort. I thought my legs would be tired from the cycle but surprisingly they were feeling fresh. The resort is very well looked after which made the run very pleasant. No traffic! After 4 loops it was such an awesome feeling coming home to the finish line with the music playing and a whole lot of excitement and entertainment from the announcer. I finished the marathon in 4:06 and my weekend was complete.
My overall time for the three days: 12:55.
I cannot tell you what a confidence booster it has given me on my journey towards Ironman PE on 15th April. I am really looking forward to that weekend.
To Glen Gore, MiWay and all the sponsors: a huge thank you for making this weekend the huge success that it was!
I would highly recommend this weekend to anyone training for Half or Full Ironman.
I look forward to participating in another one, hopefully in Gauteng, if Glen and his team take the event nationwide. No pressure Glen!
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