This is the race report I had been looking forward to sharing with you all for ages. The one where I would write how the race went perfectly from start to finish – how I swam at the back of the front pack, made a few positions through transition, had a solid bike where I rode to the front and got in a good group before coming in to transition and battling hard for a place on the podium.

The reality was so close. I just didn’t know about it. I have no excuses. I have no regrets. My equipment didn’t let me down, nor did my training. I was fitter than ever with the ability to swim at the front, ride hard and run faster than I have done in a race previously. And yet something else happened - I had the most amazing experience. I took in the sights of London. I rode past Buckingham Palace and thought about it. I rode through Wellington Arch and wondered how fast I was going compared to the pro’s. I rode up and down The Embankment and thought about all the hundreds of thousands of people who have run along it during the London Marathon.

As I set off on the run it was like an Ironman. Everyone cheering for everyone else. Some spectators were cheering in a happy and encouraging way and others were genuinely shouting for you to run faster. Willing you on.

The swim was unfortunately cut short. I think I was the only person on the pontoon who was upset about this. Nothing too bad, but just a bit miffed. It was brutal. Arms and legs meeting legs and arms. Fists meeting bodies and heads. I thought I was a long way back. I was swimming at 60% effort but couldn’t go past/round/through the people in front of me.

Out of the swim and people around me were jogging. I mean come on JOGGING? This is the worlds. So I ran round about 3 people. The good thing about transition was it was pretty empty by then. We weren’t allowed anything in transition so it was uncluttered – or what I call NORMAL! My Zone 3 Vanquish came off with extreme ease – this truly is the best wetsuit I’ve swum in. I’ve used the Vanquish for the past 3 seasons and this is the best incarnation. It fits so well. Has good buoyancy and amazing flexibility in all the right places. Many thanks to James at Zone3 for the continued support.

I have touched on the bike already. But my confidence started to wane here. A two lap affair. The first lap went well settling into a good group and pacing nicely off each other. I felt good and the only person to leave me was Matt Ellis who went on to win the age group. At the English Champs Matt rode up to me at around the 30km mark. This time it took about 10 km for him to catch me. I had no chance of keeping up with him for that long and he drifted into the distance. About half way through the second lap two people in our group of four made a jump and I missed it. I had chased down the gap a few times and my legs were starting to feel it so I made the choice to dig in and let them go. I immediately thought I had ridden badly. Without much overtaking or being overtaken I thought I was way down. Once again my bike didn’t let me down. Primera in Bournemouth have supported me for the majority of the last 8 seasons and I am very greatful for all the help this year with kit and fitting with the bike.

I came into T2 with a chap I was chatting to at the beginning of the race. I had found out later that he came third. He gave me a taste of my own medicine and hammered out of transition. Again my head went down and I had forgotten all about my hard training had done over the last 2 months. All those bricks where I had run the first 2 miles at 5min 20 per mile. All those 1 km reps run at sub 3 minute per km pace. As I said – I was ready but I didn’t believe in myself. But it didn’t matter I was loving it. The support was awesome. I was running well and feeling comfortable. My Scott Race Rockers are perfect. Light, responsive and fast. My legs felt fresh thanks to the Compressport ForQuads. No tiredness at all – just the unwillingness to run faster than 3:40 minute km’s. I was having too much fun! High5’s, smiling and all the things I normally don’t do.

Just as I was about to pick it up a bit I ran past my good friend who comes to my training group. I thought it would be a nice memory to cross the line with her but we still had a mile to run! So with a lot of shouting by me, we finally crossed the line. Massive smiles. Waving to my amazing family who were literally the only people in the grandstand.

So while 11th in my age group wasn’t the result I set out for I can’t complain. I should have done better and I could have won. But everyone above me deserves their place and Matt is a deserved winner. Maybe if I had believed I was capable of it the tone of this would have been a bit different. It turns out I was 4th off the bike in my heat and if I had run 90 seconds faster I would have been on the podium. As an experience and event it am so happy. I helped coach 9 athletes taking part, including a World Champion in Sarah Barratt. She is a phenomenon and I am so proud of her achievements.

I have had a brilliant season. Great results over sprint, standard and middle distance – duathlon, triathlon and time trial. I have had 2 weeks off now and I am keen to get back into training. Next season sees me return to long distance racing. And I am looking forward to it. As a coach I like to lead by example. Tell people what it is like to race/train and live the distance they are doing. It will have been 3 years since my last Ironman and I feel I need to refresh my knowledge.

Thank you to all my sponsors, all my friends, family and allies for giving me such an amazing opportunity. Let’s hope next season is just as successful.