Rotorua Half Ironman

It was a huge effort from the six lads who headed down to Tikitapu on the weekend. On Saturday morning we woke at the blessed hour of 4am and made our way to the race start. There we racked up and were faced with a freezing southerly bringing some good chop to the lake for the swim. The sun came out for the ride and the wind seemed to swing and make 60% of the bike course a headwind. But we didn’t curse the wind too long because it brought welcome relief to the scorching sun on the run leg.

Todd Calkin showed his class with a solid performance across all disciplines – even without much distance training. He brought it home in 4:54:44. He may now be regretting his quote to Dave Robbo and me the day before “If I crack 5 hours, I will do the Ironman” but we won’t forget, and will be the loving friends he needs to hold him to his word.

I was aiming to break 5hrs after coming tantalisingly close last year. I raced strong and smart, eating very well and not getting my heart rate too high in the ride but ultimately didn’t have it in me on Saturday. I finished in 5:08:35 and was still satisfied with a good race. More fast rides and more long runs is my prescription for next time. Perhaps less calf injuries too.

Next home was Sam the Thominator. A great swim and bike for Sam – we had a great battle out on the ride. Sam backed this up with a solid run to get a PB in 5:18:18 – a big jump from his Auckland half time and on a harder course with fierce conditions – fantastic. Sam raced Marae-style – a full contingent of his hapu came down to Rotorua to give support – love that!

Sam Tyler was next – as usual he swam like a fish. He backed this up with some consistent and strong riding and running to finish his first half ironman in a great 5:26:38. Great support from Mary and his whanau too.

Charles was a standout performer on Saturday. He recently returned to endurance sport and has already worked himself into a great state of fitness. He raced well, pacing himself amazingly and then finished the half marathon on an injured foot – hanging on to bring home a first half ironman in 5:46:20. Charles must also be acknowledged for his efforts in securing accommodation close to the venue for several of us at the last minute. Shot brother.

Josh Branch rounded out our posse with another great first time half ironman. His 5:52:51 saw him come in well under the 6hr mark and his recent start in the sport shows great promise for more success next year.

A great success eh – all 6 fellas in under 6 hours and all within 1 hour of each other. Brilliant.

Wrap Up 2009
Its been a great year and I have loved seeing this whole band of brothers draw together over endurance-sport. We have a great mix of comradery and good natured competitiveness. I got my Christmas pressie early and was blown away with the Apex 2 suit. You guys are great and I really appreciated such a generous gift. I hope to use it shortly in defeating as many of you as possible in the next stroke n stride : )

Next year Im keen to see this ‘fellowship of the run’ develop further: Ideas include a 2009 highlights/celebration/awards BBQ, a facebook page, perhaps a twitter account of the training plan for the day. I reckon a good name would be the first thing we need. So, on that note I charge you to enjoy your holidays, have a great Christmas and put your keen minds to use thinking of some ideas for a brand for our brotherhood.

Till 2010, Peace

Mike

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