Elliott Cole Update: 8th August London Triathlon

In racing there are bad days and then there are bad days, unfortunately for me the 2010 Challenger World London Triathlon was a bad day.

As this race marks the 12 month anniversary since my first ever triathlon and with it being the biggest triathlon in the world I’d been looking forward to the race for weeks and had done some solid training on the build up to the event but unfortunately the day just wasn’t meant to be.

With the London Triathlon being the biggest triathlon in the world people often feel as though the organisers are simply chasing entries and therefore money but the events are usually so well organised that this doesn’t really make much difference. Unfortunately 2010 was different and the wave numbers in excess of 550 per start time were far too big for people to enjoy.

The gun went off at 3.10pm on Sunday to let the 312 athletes in my wave out into the murky waters of the Royal Victoria Dock. With the wave being so big I knew I had to find clear open water near the front of the pack in order to stay out of trouble and get through the swim with no problems. As there were so many competitors in the water though this was easier said than done and I placed myself on the inside of the course right against the course marking ropes in the hope that as there was no way of getting across any further I would avoid the chaos in the middle of the pack. The plan worked on the run up to the first turnaround buoy with only a couple of issues with having to swim over slower swimmers that had started at the front rather than further down the field. Arriving at the second turnaround buoy I got stuck right on the inside of the buoy though and clattered by 4 or 5 competitors all looking to save time by cutting across the buoy. This led to me being pushed under the water and taking on board 1 or 2 mouthfuls of the Dock water (which for anyone that’s been anywhere near the Royal Victoria Dock will know isn’t a pleasant experience given that the water is only just safe for swimming.) I finally got into clear water again and headed down the back straight to the final 2 buoys chasing the back of the lead pack after the chaos. I eventually caught the back of the pack and exited the water in a large group and a time of 00:28:40.

Heading in to T1 I felt strong and everything went entirely to plan helping me pick off 4 or 5 places before we headed out onto the 40Km 2 lap bike course.

Heading towards Tower Bridge away from the Excel Centre I took my first caffeine gel shot and got my head down picking off competitor after competitor before reaching the first dead turn and heading back towards the Excel Centre. As I headed back towards Beckton roundabout and the next turn I started to feel really unwell which I knew was because of the water I’d ingested during the swim. I tried my best to stay focussed and think of anything other than my upset stomach but with 20km gone and the start of the second lap I was eventually unwell. I stayed on the bike though and carried on, using my fluids to clear my throat and stay hydrated. I felt unwell for the remainder of the course and knew that the run would be difficult given my upset stomach but I came off the bike and headed in to T2 in 01:01:54, a great time given the situation.

Coming off the bike and running in to T2 my stomach felt exactly as I’d thought, cramping up and very uncomfortable. I grabbed my trainers and gels though and headed out onto the 10km 4 lap run course.

Heading out of the Excel centre and alongside the Royal Victoria Dock I immediately knew this was going to be the hardest 10km I’d ever run during a triathlon. I kept an eye on my Suunto wrist watch that I use to measure my km pace and saw that I wasn’t anywhere near my comfortable 10km pace of 3 minutes 30 seconds per km, stumbling along at just 4 minutes 20 seconds per km.

The entire course was sole destroying, the run is and always has been the part of the race that I get my head down, push through the pain barrier and eat up the miles but I just couldn’t stay focussed as my stomach was doing flips and I was having to take on water at every opportunity. I kept a steady pace of 4 minutes 20 seconds per km and was making ground on hundreds of competitors but in the knowledge that I should be running at least 1 minute per km quicker that I was able to.

By the last of the 2.5km laps I was really struggling to stay focussed and the thought did cross my mind that I’d have to pull up for my first DNF of the season but with the huge support of the crowd that had turned out and were lining the run course at the Excel Centre (in excess of 55,000 people over the course of the weekend) I just couldn’t do it and I eventually stumbled across the finish line in 00:46:47, by far my worst 10k pace this season but a finish none the least.

My overall finishing time was 02:23:11 and 9th position. A solid top 10 result given the problems I had but by far the biggest frustration this season as my usual 10km pace of 38 minutes would have put me 2nd.

Next race – 21st August Orca Classic Triathlon

About the Author

Hi, I'm Tom Burkinshaw, I co-produce the Maximise Your Potential Podcast and Website and my goal is to help as many people as possible be successful in life, careers and business, by offering free coaching and mentoring through a series of unique interviews from inspiring people who all display exceptional self-belief, mental toughness and desire to achieve. Thank you for taking the time to visit Maximise Your Potential!