Benjamin Cartwright is pleased to announce that he has successfully completed Ironman Wales in a time of 11 hours and 42 minutes and an overall finishing place of 188 out of 1700 athletes. He would like to thank everyone for their support and generosity for the two worthy charities he has supported. Please read on to find out more on Ben big day....
It’s difficult to describe in words how I felt on the start line at 6.55am on Northside beach of Tenby. Hearing the Welsh national anthem and the starting gun fire filled me with excitement, nerves and exhilaration as i ran into the sea with nearly 1700 other athletes.
The swim was as rough as I had expected and reaching the first buoy was a frenzy of arms, fists and feet. My plan was to remain on the outside of the pack and stay out of trouble; however I was soon engulfed and found myself in the middle of chaos! I kept my head down, stayed calmed and managed to make good progress.
The frenzy continued right up until the first buoy resulting in a bottle neck of swimmers but once through I was able to regain momentum and continue past the wall of local boats setting the path to the next buoy. I continued to make good progress back to the beach to finish the first lap. Running out of the water left me feeling dizzy and I almost head planted into the sand! It was straight back into the water to do it all again for lap 2!
The 1km run through Tenby to the transition tent to collect my bike was a test in itself, as the dizziness caught hold once again upon leaving the water and it took a little time for my body to regain orientation. However, the cheers from family and friends within the crowd spurred me on.
A quick change from neoprene to Lycra and I headed back through the crowds and embarked on the first leg of the 112 mile bike ride. The first leg takes you out towards Angle along the coast before turning back and heading towards Pembroke. The support in all the villages was amazing with banners flying and crowds cheering. The stunning scenery was a great distraction from the cold and wet weather.
Once out of Pembroke we headed east and started the second leg towards Narberth before heading back down towards Saunders foot. The crowds there were amazing and gave me a sense of the atmosphere on the Tour De France through the narrow alley of spectators out of the village.
Heading back towards Tenby the crowds continued to give tremendous support and encouragement for the third and final leg of the ride. I felt good throughout and managed to pace myself well to conserve some energy for the marathon.
Heading back into the transition tent I felt excited and ready for the run, I knew this was where my race really began! The course consisted of 4 laps out of Tenby and back through the town centre where the crowds once again gave tremendous support and the atmosphere was electric. This hilly course was a test of strength but seeing my family each time I passed through Tenby gave me the focus to maintain a strong and competitive pace.
Upon collecting my final lap band I was overcome with excitement as well as pain, as I increased the pace for the last 6 miles to the finish line. Holding back the tears through the crowded streets I came round the final corner and headed for the red carpet where I knew my family were waiting to see me cross the line. It is a moment that I will never forget and cannot be described, as all the hard work and months of training were finally within this dream. I savoured every moment with high fives to the line and the realisation that I had just become an IRONMAN!!
Firstly I would like to thank my wife for putting up with me on the turbo trainer in the lounge during the evenings, eating at a faster rate than a race horse and getting up at ridiculous times each morning to head to the pool!
I would also like to thank my family for all their support in Tenby and for all the messages of encouragement from friends.
Last but my no means least I would like to thank my coach Gary McCaffery' of www.resultsfitnessandswimming.co.uk for all his training and support.
On that final note……………………………………….. I can’t wait for the next one!!