Written by Ade Fowler

Back in 2012 I had this idea that I wanted to do a Triathlon and I won’t forget how tough it is to do your first. I decided to enter Blenheim and give it a try but I was struggling to learn to swim and get the kit together. Still wanting to be a part of the day I drove up with my daughters to spectate and admire all these awesome triathletes enjoying the beautiful course. Returning in 2013, I completed my first triathlon and I was delighted to have swum 750m in open water. After this I took another year to build up to Ironman distance. In 2014 Blenheim offered twenty Weekend Warriors slots and I jumped at the chance to enjoy more from this event managing. It involved eight sprints, yet achieving the same again in 2015 was incredibly tough. For two days afterwards I was sick and this was after fourteen Ironman races over 2 summers without a problem.  There was something about this weekend that was tough, give me any Ironman or Norseman any day.

So 2016 felt different. I was in better shape having completed the Marathon des Sables, and Ironman Lanzarote two weeks before. I knew I was a bit quicker this year and I could push the limits a little closer to the edge. I had also pledged to do 9 after completing the 8 in 2015, so I had to go for it.

Five sprints could be done on day one, if I allowed myself a strict 1 hour 30 from start to start and then I would need to ‘negotiate’ with the swim safety crew to allow me to jump in and get on with it, rather than wait for the next wave to start.

By Sunday I would hopefully return and do my usual 4 Sprints, achieving a first for any staged triathlon event with a total of nine sprints.

I had one important friend in transition, the wonderful Richard Burville. Richard’s efforts to look after me in transition were amazing and essential in helping me speed up. There were also guys in there kindly turning my wetsuit around, I was winning over the support!

The water was cold, it was 14 degrees but after getting started the only problems I faced were my calves cramping and my goggles steaming up. The run out into transition didn’t wreck my feet as much as I had expected and coming on and off the bike I decided to keep my bike shoes on for as long as possible to protect my feet. Time seemed to be going well, on sprint four I had to wait on the pontoon, so I was behind schedule trying to start number five, but I was soon able to crack on and complete that one too. I was still in good shape after five but knew that didn’t have permission to carry on, sadly.

Day two went according to plan and I didn’t rush Sprint nine. Instead, I took the time to thank all the marshals and safety crew on the course doing a great job of looking after us.

After three years of Weekend Warrior Sprints at Blenheim I am proud to say that I have now totalled 25.