What an adventure!
Last week I was wishing I had joined the lads on the Pyrenees trip instead of the triple.
But then I would have missed the most incredible and humbling support of my best friends and family.
The swim was a doddle; even though I hurt my duff shoulder. The bike was no big deal; so I thought. Until after the luxury of 2 hrs sleep on the first night I realised I was going to struggle with the bike cut off. Greg Powell has regularly trained with me for the past 6 months and was my wingman for a pathetic measly 210 miles. Rob Taylor joined us through the first night; which for all three of us was a magical fair weather cycle. John Mainwaring stepped in to assist 6 am sharp with Rob Taylor failing to catch up with us for a full 29 mile lap after being fed some duff info. The last two laps were by myself in shit weather; which really took its toll.
John M. was there waiting to mother me on the Snowdon ascent; with random rocks taking on the guise of everyday objects which was a bit weird? 2 hrs sleep then on to the dreaded 68 mile run. 1.10 for the first lap in shitty weather; this is going to be fine? Mike and Simon ran with me for the next 4 laps, with Captain ‘B’ancroft making a guest appearance to join Mike and I for a lap; still going well with a run flats and walk up hills. Did the next lap by myself 1.25 ish. Was just setting off for next lap with Mike when Rob T. and family turned up; the relief on Mike’s face was comical. Mike last ran in December due to an injury; he had narrowly escaped running a hilly full marathon with no training. Rob had brought along two running dollies; his wife Lyn and her running mate and Lyn’s son Osian. This was a very entertaining lap; which really lifted my spirits. Next to turn up was Chris & Sian Lord; another good and very entertaining lap. Waiting for the next lap was John M. having needed to take a nap due to old age. John stayed with me through the next 3 laps to the finish; which he did as if it was just another day in the office. To my surprise Rob, Lyn & Osian joined us for another lap; rather than watch celebrity big brother. Rob & Osian on Mtb’s. I struggled with this lap which meant the final two laps were 2 x 2hr walks. Rob & Lyn joined John and me for the final lap; walking poles required for balance and a slight problem with my legs; blisters constantly annoying me and a very sore shoulder for the last 60 hours.
Capt. ‘B’ancroft made the trip to the 6 am finish along with my mum. I am so overwhelmed by the support and interest from everyone. I didn’t ask anyone for their help or support beforehand; they just turned up or offered as they felt fit.
I haven’t mentioned my younger brother Mark, what a star! Supplied and put up the tent on the Friday night, returned 5.30 am before the swim start at 7 am. Returning for the last two days and nights to make it all possible; I only asked to borrow his tent!!
My friends and family are the stars; I just had to swim, cycle, run & walk: I am so lucky and extremely grateful!
Paul Ward.