On Sunday 11th of December, I competed in the Ballarat Half Ironman (IM70.3), which consisted of a 1.9km swim, 90km ride and 21.1km run. I've enjoyed racing on the course and I must say, the volunteers were outstanding all along, the best support I've ever seen in my years of racing!
I started the day a few minutes behind the professionals and several minutes before the first Age Groupers. This was very thoughtful from the organisers (many thanks!) as I could do a swim without being hassled, because every time someone bumps into me, swims over me, etc, it takes me more time than a fully able person to get back into a pace, which means time and energy lost...
The bike leg was rather pleasant, I cruised nicely with the tail wind and tried to do some damage control coming back in the head wind.
Back to transition was always great with the crowd cheering. I started the run strongly, maybe too strongly in insight, I think I was just too excited with the ambiance around. There were plenty of trees to get some shade and many aid stations on the run course, which was fantastic. And again, lots of people cheering and clapping all along. Checking my time quickly, I saw that I would break the course record but also that I could, maybe, make it in the "golden time" of five hours. So, I went for it, gave it all I had, right to the line! This was the hardest part, physically and mentally, because I had no time to spare, the cramps were getting the better of me, so I had to endure some serious pain right to the last second of the race! The satisfaction was therefore enormous when I crossed the line. The official time was 5h00:49s, which is a new course record by 35mins.
I enjoyed mingling with everyone in the recovery area and meeting new people. I discovered after the race that this was not a World Championship qualifying event for para athletes, although it is for EVERYONE else...this is my only disappointment. A great experience for next time though and good memories for my first Half Ironman.