T3 at Ironman 70.3 Pula

Eight T3ers plus a welcome guest Janey proudly represented the club at what turned out to be a very tough 70.3 in Pula, Croatia on Sunday 18 September.  Two sets of parents, Chuck’s wife Meriel and baby Daniel made up the happy group.  Most of us arrived in Pula on Thursday night, in good time to acclimatise and rest up before Race day.  We used the time to check out the bike course, local cafés and countryside, restaurants and explore the old Roman town of Pula.  We also went for a few dips on the swim course: there were rumours the swim would be wetsuit-free but these turned out to be unfounded.

Sunday dawned dry and cloudy.  The swim turned out to be very difficult due to a combination of high waves and poorly laid out swim buoys: most of us swam well in excess of the 1.9km distance, well done to Jenny O’Connell,  the fastest T3er in the water (39 minutes).  After a slow swim for all, the forecasted thunder storms came to pass: the heavens opened on the bike,  making conditions slow and very dangerous, with lots of spills including our own Lizzie who crashed at a junction about halfway round.  Chivalry, defined as the code of behaviour of a knight, proved to be alive and well in T3 as Oisin stopped to make sure Lizzie got some help before hopping back on his bike.

Further ahead, John O’Leary, having saved some energy on the bike in a bid to stay aboard, turned in a stunning 1:36 half marathon in monsoon conditions to be the first T3er home in 5:23, a full 6 minutes ahead of Ed Crotty in second and Gary McCarthy a few minutes further back in third.

For posterity a video of the rain during the run has been embedded above.  Thanks to Chuck and Meriel for booking a decent restaurant for the post-race banquet, thoroughly enjoyed by all (except Baby Daniel who was a bit tired after the long day).  Lizzie made a heroic transition from Pula Hospital via her hotel to the restaurant to join us for dinner, nothing broken thankfully.  All in all it was a great trip, a great group of friends and a great end to the summer.