Jed’s Ironman Race

Jed wanted to help his local charities and also the MCF by taking part in the Frankfurt Ironman Mainova Triathlon. The event entails Swimming 3.8 KM, Riding 180 KM and Running 42.2KM. This is his Ironman story of how he made it through the event.

We knew from the weather forecast that it was going to be hot in Frankfurt, but we weren’t quite prepared for the 34’c + heat in the days running up to the event. To cut a very long story short, it made for hard work checking in, the registration and bike transfers to the lake.

Sunday 26/06/2022. Race day was upon us, we were up at 3:45am. We grabbed a quick breakfast and left the hotel at 4:30am to get a taxi that would take us out to the lake.

It couldn’t have gone any worse! Road closures on the initial road, with a police barricade diverting us to an alternative route which proved our second challenge. A car crash stopped our chances getting to the lakeside. Flip flops on, we covered the last 3km by foot, arriving at the lake with just 4 minutes to spare! In quick time, I pumped my tyres, put my drinks on the bike and jumped into the wetsuit.

With no time for a leisurely warm up, I found myself in middle of 2500 + competitors.

Jed Watkins Ironman bike section
The bike ride!

The canon went off and we hit the water, with arms and legs everywhere it made for a comical start. The swim at Frankfurt is a 1500m loop, followed by a ground exit, then onto a larger 2300m loop. The sun was low, and I had no chance of spotting any buoys in front of me. No problem, just follow the guys in front, they’ll be heading in the right general direction (I hoped).

TRANTISTION:1. I took my time here as I knew it was going to be a long day, so made sure I got all my nutrition in my pockets, put some extra sun cream on and headed out on the bike.

Rolling hills, fast descents, a couple of ‘bigger’ climbs, along with “The Heat” awaited me. Things didn’t go my way on the day. An early mechanical problem with my derailleur set me up for a tough day, not allowing me to use full gear selection for majority of the ride.

Accepting this, I knew loads of guys (and gals) would be passing me on the bike, this was devastating, but I changed my plan and had to stick to it. – an uncontrollable event in life.

On the second 90km lap it was getting hot, the wind was picking up slightly and the bigger hills started to have a bite too!

You could feel the heat bouncing off the tarmac, I needed to keep cool and used several water bottles at each aid station, squeezing it over my head, chest, shorts, legs and feet, everything got a good dousing.

TRANSITION2: I picked up my run bag, ran straight into the transition tent, poured the contents on the floor, and started to change. I donned my cap, put my trainers and socks on, slap some more sun cream on and I was ready to go.

The crowds in Frankfurt were massive! As I left T2 and started the run, the noise was deafening, this crowd support was going to prove pivotal in the next 26 miles.

Without overestimating it for effect, it was boiling! Most reports say it was 36’c with 0 Breeze. To felt well over 40’c. The run is a 4-lap course, through the city, and along the river Main.

Jed Watkins Ironman race v crossing the Finish Line
Jed crosses the finish line

Somehow before I knew it, I was end of the 3rd lap. The support here was amazing! Both of my children now in the zone to cheer me on and show off their ice creams, whistles and shake their maracas. The final lap was heavyweight! I just had to keep on moving forward. I was running from aid station to aid station in search of water and salt. With about 5km to go I really had to dig deep and took note of the final sign “You’re going to be an Ironman today”.

The feeling when you cross that line is simply amazing, all the pain, suffering and hard work somehow seems worthwhile.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to a little emotion after crossing the line. I had trained hard for this race and the Ironman journey is a long one with many twists and turns; crossing the finishing line is success.

The goal was to complete the task and raise money for Masonic Charities via the Relief chest scheme.

To date I have raised £2,550

Thank you all who have supported me and gave donations. It really helped battle the challenge. Now, on to the next mad idea.

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