Lanzarote Ironman 2013 (Spectator, obviously)

In Which I Forget To Mention Things, Or People, Or Stuff, Or Funny Happenings, Because It Was A Long Day!

Last year, Father-In-Law Tony and Uncle-In-Law Rob both entered the Lanzarote Ironman event.

Both Tony and Rob finished the Lanzarote Ironman event.

Afterwards, both Tony and Rob said they wouldn’t do another Ironman event.

Both Tony and Rob did the Lanzarote Ironman event again this year.

(Both Tony and Rob are signed up for the Bolton Ironman event in August, too)



We had an early flight out to Lanzarote with Jet2 on the Thursday morning. Check-In was quick, security was a breeze, and before too long it was time to board. The flight was meant to take 4 1/2 hours but took just under four. Who says budget airlines are rubbish?

By 2pm we had arrived at the hotel, checked-in, dumped our bags and were drinking in the hotels pool bar. Roughly 20 or so of us had flown out to cheer them both on in the Ironman and both seemed relaxed.

Before long evening had arrived and we all went out for an all-you-can-eat chinese buffet. (Table for 20?) Myself and Sarah were tired as had had a late night followed by a stupidly early morning and so went back to our room and did a search for cockroaches. (Last year when we went to Lanzarote, I’d gotten into bed on the first night and a cockroach ran across my chest, causing me to scream like a girl and jump out of bed. Not having THAT happen again!)

Checked everywhere, everywhere clear. Decided to get us a bottle of water each out of the fridge, and there was a cockroach INSIDE the fridge. It was so big that it could’ve opened the bottle of water and passed it to me. I went to reception to tell them about it and someone came round with a 2 foot can of spray. He killed the ‘roach, then left us the spray. I sprayed so much of it around that when I was going to sleep I got a headache and felt sick. Still, no more cockroaches were seen all holiday.


The Friday was spent relaxing and not really doing much apart from eating cheap food and drinking cheap beer. The best thing about being abroad in the heat (it was about 27 Celsius) is that they keep the beer glasses in the freezer so you get an ice-cold brew every time. The bar had been taken over by new people since our last visit, Mark (7 time Lanzarote Ironman finisher), Lauren and Grant. Not sure if Lauren or Grant had done any Ironman’s. (Ironmen?) (There’s a joke there about ‘Doing an Ironman’ but I’m rising above it.)


‘Early to bed, Early to rise, Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.’

‘Late to bed, Early to rise, Makes Marc want to sit down and cry.’

We were up at 6am.

Myself and Sarah made our way up the apartment complex where Susan (Mother In Law), Tony and Rob were. They all looked nervous, as you’d expect. Not many words were spoken apart from ‘Good Luck’ and ‘See you on the beach’ before Tony and Rob made their way down to the start line.

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In case you don’t know, and were expecting this to be a review of Iron Man 3 or something, the Ironman events consist of:

2.4 Mile Swim + 112 Mile bike ride + 26.2 Mile marathon run, one after the other, with a 17 hour time limit.

Take a second to read that again.

Go on, I’ll wait here.

Done? Good.

The event starts at 7am and finishes at midnight. There are cut-offs too, for the ones at the back.

You have to have the swim done by 9.20 or are told to stop for the day. You have to have the bike finished by 18.30, or again, aren’t allowed to carry on. If you aren’t back from your run by midnight, you don’t get an official time. No pressure then.

We all made our way down to the beach at around 6.30 and got down the the sea shore, then edged our way across to where the Ironhopefuls would be getting in and out of the sea. It was warmish, but was raining on and off for a while. They do 2 x 1.2mile laps in the sea before running up the beach towards the bikes.

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This is the view from near where the bikes are. The yellow thing in the distance on the right is where the swim starts and finishes. So between swimming and biking, you have to run all this way too!

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All of a sudden, they’re off. The elites go in first, with about a 30second or so gap before the regular people go in. It takes ages for them all to get wet, as there were about 1800 people (guessing all with a screw or two loose.)

Watching the swim and trying to recognise who you’re there to cheer on is like trying to spot a needle in a hay stack. If the needle was made of hay. And the hay stack was about a mile square. And on the moon.

Pretty much everyone is wearing goggles, a black wet suit and an orange swim cap. They all look the same. You have no chance really of spotting anyone tha….

Oh there’s Rob. And Tony. Huh.

Turns out that even though they finished the first lap at the same time, they didn’t know the other one was that close!

We all cheered, not sure they heard us, then they both jumped in for lap 2. Both took just over 44 minutes for the first, so we guessed a little longer for the 2nd lap and positioned ourselves on the part of the beach where they’d be running up to Transition 1 (Where they get changed into bike gear.)

Rob was the first passed, with a 2nd lap time of 43:47 (quicker than his 1st!) and followed 3 minutes later by Tony. Both looked happy to be on dry land and vertical. They definitely heard us cheer this time. After they’d gone into T1 we ran across the beach, climbed a wall, and positioned ourselves next to Tony’s bike. Transition took him 11 minutes (a LOT quicker than last years transition of 18minutes)

He came around the corner from T1, got his stuff sorted with his bike, and then was off.

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We went for a full english.

The thing about Lanzarote Ironman bike course, is that it pretty much takes in the whole island, in one continuous lap, so the people you’re cheering on can be away for up to 7 or 8 hours, so you need to entertain yourself. We went to the Ironman shop and Sarah bought herself an Ironman T-Shirt. I didn’t want one myself, because when wearing it people would assume I’ve completed one and I haven’t.

We walked passed a shop that printed T-Shirts though, and they had one that said ‘IRONMAN LANZAROTE’ with little pictures of each discipline underneath and the respective distances. Entering the shop, I approached the woman there and asked if instead of ‘IRONMAN LANZAROTE’ could I have ‘IRONMAN IN TRAINING’? She said ‘Of course!’ I paid my money and was told it’d be ready later that day.

On our way back to the apartments we heard a siren going off and realised the leader was coming back from the bike course already. It wasn’t even 1pm. He finished the 112miles in little under 5 hours. Average speed of 22MPH. Bearing in mind there’s over 2500metres of climbing on the bike. We cheered him on, then crossed the road and cheered him when he came out of T2 and started on his run.

Later found out his name is Faris Al-Sultan and he completed the 26.2mile marathon run in 2:55. Sub 3hr marathon after 2.4mile swim and 112mile bike ride. Mental.

Faris Al-Sultan - Quick

Faris Al-Sultan – Quick

We made our way back to the pool bar at the apartments (via a frozen yoghurt shop) and watched Bradford City win at Wembley.

We knew that Rob would be back a bit quicker on the bike, so positioned ourselves at the bag changeover stand so would be able to have a quick word when he came in. There were a few other people waiting for their family members too, but got a good view. While we were waiting a bloke got his bag from near Robs and a woman (wife or girlfriend) started cheering him and talking in French. He smiled and laughed and waved, and then started to move off to the change tent.

His wife/girlfriend wasn’t happy.

She shouted something in French, (Guessing ‘where’s my kiss’) He stopped in his tracks, ran to the fence, kissed her and ran off again. We all cheered and clapped and she did a little curtsy. Bless ’em.

A short while later, another person ran for his bag and got cheered on by his wife or girlfriend. Think these were German. A smile, a laugh, a wave, followed by him starting off to the change tent.

A theme was emerging…

Something was shouted in German (Guessing ‘where’s my kiss’) So he stopped, turned, ran to the fence, kissed, ran off. We cheered again. No curtsy though. Moody.

Rob arrived off of his bike at around 15.30, having completed the bike course in 6:56. He looked quite fresh, and set off for his marathon.

Last year Tony came back from his bike an hour after Rob, so expected him around 16.30. Sarah said that it’d be quicker than that so we waited by the fence near his bag. Susan, Hannah and the other sat behind us in a bar that was right on the edge of the path. At around 16.00 Tony arrived, knocking a massive one and a 1/2 hours off of last years time so far.

“HE’S HERE!” Shouted my lovely wife. “HE’S HERE HE’S HERE!” Bit loud.

Everyone jumped up from the table and came to the fence to cheer him on. He looked quite fresh too, and before too long he’d got his bag and was running to Transition 2 to get changed.

Everyone was amazed at how quick he’d gotten around the course and everyone was buzzing.

The marathon course of Ironman Lanzarote consists of 3 out and back laps, the first is pretty much a 1/2 marathon, followed by 2 x laps of just over 10k. The marathon is a lot more spectator friendly as is goes from the start/finish line and back 3 times so you see the person you’re cheering on six times. Cheering on two people means that you don’t have to wait for long to see one or the other.

Myself and Sarah positioned ourselves on the other side of the road to the runners, where all the bars are, and had some food. Sarah had pizza and I had a steak. It was lovely. Before long most of the others had wandered down to where we were and we took over the roadside tables of two bars that were next door to each other, but open plan so our tables were together. Rob Novis and his wife Claire arrived too and got on the cocktails.

I had an app on my phone called ‘Irontrac’ which recorded all the split times on their run so we could have an informed guess as to how long it’d be before we saw them. When it was getting close to the time, we were positioning ourselves on the running side of the road ready to cheer and whoop. We saw Rob arrive and about ten minutes later he passed us again having completed half the marathon. Everyone cheered, I whooped.



I figured that Tony would be back from the first 1/2 of the marathon at around 18.30 so was surprised at around 17.50 when Hannah shouted that he was here. We all ran across the road, but it wasn’t him. At about 18.00 Hannah shouted again that he was here, so we all ran across the road, but it wasn’t him again. I checked the app, and he was still on for arriving about 18.30. Surprised again at about 18.10 when Norman (Tony’s Dad) shouted that he was here, so across the road we ran. Wasn’t him.

The staff in the bar must’ve thought it was some kind of drinking game, running across the road then not cheering anyone on, before running back and having a drink. Or that we were REALLY shit at doing a runner from the bar bill.

About 20 minutes later Tony came passed, so we all cheered (I whooped) and then cheered and whooped again as he ran off to batter the second half of the run. Because they were both on the first of 2 10k(ish) laps, we saw one or the other without too much time between. On Rob’s 2nd time back, he walked a bit and said he felt sick but seemed to push through it. The sight of a runner throwing up at the side of the road wouldn’t’ve helped, I guess.



We waited for Tony to come back from his 2nd lap (Cheer! Whoop!) and after he set off we settled up at the bar (Ah, I knew they’d chicken out of running away Alfonso!) then made our way to the finish line. We cheered on the people that were finishing the Ironman, and spurred on the ones who were starting out on another lap. If you want a big cheer for your Ironman finish, run with a child or your wife, as the crowd go mental for these. There was a tense moment when a bloke was on his way to finish decided to bow, and almost tripped himself up. Straightening himself the shock on his face was obvious, as was the relief when he put his hand on his heart.

Before long we saw Rob making his way to the finishers chute and he finished with a time of 13:25:35, beating last years time by around an hour and a half.

Keeping an eye on Irontrac we roughly guessed what time Tony would be back and wasn’t too far out when he got back from the end of the marathon. As he approached where we were cheering, he grabbed Norman’s hand (His Dad, aged 83) and along with Hannah they all ran across the finishing line together. Official finishing time was 14:52:13, beating the previous years time by almost TWO HOURS.

Before you say it’s mean making a man in his 80’s run down the line, Norman regularly walks 40+ miles a week and is in training for the Skipton Sprint Triathlon in September. On one of the mornings in Lanzarote he went for a 5k run followed by a 20k bike ride. (On another morning he fell off his bike because he was eyeing up the Senoritas.)


The people at the pool bar organised a BBQ on the sunday afternoon which we all took full advantage of. Plenty of drink and plenty of food. (Rob Novis had FOUR burgers in a bun at one point. The same Rob Novis that I ran the Blackpool Marathon with.) Towards early evening talk came around to, as it obviously would, Ironman Lanzarote 2014. Nigel said that he was giving it serious thought as he’s done a few short course tri’s, plus multiple 10ks and a half marathon. I said that I wouldn’t be fit enough for next year, but am giving serious thought about 2015. At one point Tony told Mark behind the bar (who’s best time for Lanzarote is 9:57!) that myself and Rob Novis were considering.

“Big Rob?” Asked Mark.

“Yeah,” Said Tony, “They both did a marathon in April.”

“Four burgers Rob did a marathon?!”

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We had another week in the sun following the event, going to the zoo and carrying on eating and drinking too much. I had a swimming lesson with Sarahs Grandad and Tony, so can do a bit of front crawl now with my head under water. Not got the breathing right yet though, so need to work on that. I’ve come home close to a STONE heavier than before we left, which means I need to get back on the training ASAP.

Sarah At The Zoo

Sarah At The Zoo

Four Burgers Rob

Four Burgers Rob

We didn’t land til about 1AM so couldn’t get Indy from the cattery until the next day (Monday). All that day and all Tuesday were spent sorting out clothes, food and stuff so were too tired to do any exercise. On the Wednesday, I was still off but Sarah was working and had every good intention of going to the gym or going swimming, when this happened:

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Both Tony and Rob have said they won’t be doing Ironman Lanzarote again.

(But they both said that last year too)