Monday

Ironman Lanzarote

It's 5:30am, and outside it is as silent as can be, but behind the apartment doors are 2200 participants all getting ready for one of the most challenging days of their lives.

We are all about to meet by the swimming pool.
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run


With their bags packed, wetsuits on and all stretched, they wander down in the quiet night to the sea front to check in.

When we get there, there is the odd few getting into the water.
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

Throwing water over their bodies to get used to the temperature, their minds going through what they are about to encounter over the day, thinking about the swim, the bike, the run.


This is Ironman. An all day triathlon where you swim 2.5 miles in the sea, cycle 112 miles and then run a marathon.

Non. Stop.

These two happy chaps are about to put themselves through the Ironman paces... again.


Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

My Dad and his friend Mark.


Dad is taking part in his 11th Ironman, and 9th one in Lanzarote. Him and Mark have been taking part for years, and every year line up long with the other 2000+ entrants ready for another battle of mind and body.

This year we had 6 people in our group taking part. Dad, Mark, Jordan, Frank, Dave and James. All those early morning Saturday cycling sessions and training sessions are about to pay off.



Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

As the sun starts to rise, all the participants gather themselves for last minute photo's by friends and family, and head on over to the start. Ready to face the first part of the triathlon.

At 7am, the gun goes and Ironman Lanzarote has started!
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

All 2200 swimmers making their way into the sea for a 2.4 mile swim is a sight to see. 
It's so far out that you can't see the bottom when you are swimming along, and with 2109 other people around you it is a case of standing your ground, get in a rhythm and don't overdo it!

The leader soon emerges from the swim, to a huge round of applause. He isn't elite either (elite wear a yellow hat!), so everyone is in awe at how quick he has swam.
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

Soon enough the huge swarm of swimmers start filtering through to the end of the first part of this gruelling day.


It's time to search for a needle in a haystack for our group.

Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

Luckily for us, we are right at the barrier and Dad gave us a wave as he went by. 
Much to the delight of all of us, who are already hoarse from cheering our guys on!

The triathletes then run up the beach into the transition area, and grab their bags to change into the cycling gear. Transition takes 2 minutes for the elite, and about 6 minutes for amateurs. 
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

And get their bike from the stack of bikes.

Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

Which is enough time for us to run along the beach ourselves (flip flops off!) and get up to the top ready to cheer again.

To our left, the swim...
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

To our right, the cyclists heading off on a 112 mile bike ride around the island.
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run


Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

As they all whiz by, we are checking our watches to work out the times for the swim and then working out what time they are roughly due through on the bike.

It's only 8:10am, but it is already 27 degrees and the cyclists are lashing suncream on by the bucket load too! It's going to be a hot one.

All of a sudden, our guys start to fly past one by one. Arms waving whilst we are screaming their names in excitement and encouragement. 

Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

That is it for the next 7-8 hours. The guys are off on a cycle around Lanzarote, and we can't get in the car to drive around because all the roads have been closed.


The course involves 112 miles of just you and the bike. No music is allowed at any point, Ironman is a challenge of mental and physical strength. There is over 2500m of climbing, and the wind and heat adds to why Lanzarote is seen as one of the hardest Ironmans.


So whilst they cycle, us supporters are off for breakfast and down to the beach for couple of hours sunbathing.

Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

Which has flown by, because it's time to get back up to the front for the cyclists arrival back into town.


The crowds are back out in action, with their banners and whistles/clappers/megaphones at the ready.



Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run


Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run


Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

After 4 hours and 56 minutes of cycling, the leader has arrived to the cheering crowd that stretched on for miles.

Now for the final part, and probably the most intense. A marathon along the beachfront, in the peak of the daytime sun. 26.2 miles.


With the thermostat hitting 38 degrees, the leader went off on his journey whilst we stand here and wait for our guys to come in!


For some, a marathon is scary within itself. The distance alone is so long, but to do this after a swim and bike is absolutely incredible. These guys are machines, running along like they haven't done any exercise before this.


Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run


Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

Positions change throughout the day, and whilst Mark went out on the bike first, Jordan has come in and started the marathon first...

Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

Followed by James...
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

Who is quickly followed up by Frank...

Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

Dave is trying to make chase down Frank.

Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

Whilst Mark arrives all smiling and happy to see us all.

Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run


Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

Finally Dad, happy to be off the bike and feeling in good shape.

Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run


Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run


With the excitement of the bike being completed and the sight of us all, the guys head off with a spring in their step.

This is where we are splitting up as a group though into pairs. The course is three laps out and back to make up the 26.2 miles. The further out you go, the more sparse the crowd becomes and this is when the guys really need our support.


Mentally it is a huge challenge throughout the day. The punishing hills on the cycle, the wind which according to the locals is the windiest it has ever been, and the body ache which kicks in would make anybody throw in the towel and quit.

These guys won't quit unless they were not able to physically move. They will walk, jog, and even crawl to the finish line to get to the finish.

There are aid stations along the way to help, giving out diluted Red Bull and Coke for sugar (the sugar in Coke gets in the blood stream quicker!), and water to cool down.



Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run


Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run


Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

Ironman is open to anyone from any part of the world, with all abilities.

This guy has just cycled 112 miles using his arms. Words cannot described how amazing that actually is!



Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run


Me and Gareth have paired up and gone out to the half way point along the route, noticing the padlock row alongside the runners.

The race numbers have the names of the participants on them, so we are shouting out any name we can to encourage them.

Or as Gareth shouts to Dad, 'Put your butt into it, Nick!'


Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

An Ironman must be completed by midnight, giving 17 hours to complete the course.
If you don't make the 17 hour mark, you can't call yourself an Ironman.

With three laps of the course, we are able to see the guys 6 times before they head into to finish. Each time making sure they are okay, walking with them for a couple of minutes (any more and the judges will penalise them!), and chatting to them about anything that takes their mind off what they are going through.


As the sun starts to set over Puerto Del Carmen, the finishers start heading for the finish line and I have given the camera to Gareth.



Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run


Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

They are all at the finish line, waiting for the guys to come in. Jordan, Frank, James and Dave have all finished and now we are waiting on Dad and Mark.

I'm out with Dad, running/walking the last 6 miles of the marathon with him to get him through. Mark is walking the marathon at this point, and Dad is on a mission to catch up with him so they can cross the line together for the first time ever.

Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

I didn't think I would be running 6 miles, but all in good aid and support!

Back at the finish line, the only blind participant is crossing the line to a huge roar of applause from the crowd.
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

Whilst others are running in with family and friends, celebrating being amongst the finishers circle.
Honestly, if these guys can do it then anyone can!
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

After 140 miles of continuous exercise, the two guys who started together this morning at 7am make their way towards the finish line... together. It may have pushed him, but Dad has caught up with Mark.

Adrenaline running high, the finish line in sight, and for the first time in 12 years they are going to cross together.
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

14 hours and 28 minutes of pure endurance, and it is all over. Another Ironman completed, another medal won.

At 17 hours, the clock stopped and the crowd cheered. There are still people out on the course heading to the finish line. The hardest part is that they won't be an official finisher, but just finishing the course alone is a huge accomplishment in itself.
Ironman Lanzarote, Fitness, Lifestyle, Holiday, Lanzarote, triathlon, canary islands, May 2014, supports, sport, that guy luke, blog, sport blog, 2014, spain, blogger, swim, bike, run

What an amazing, amazing day. Well done to everyone.

I am off to bed now, being a supporter has absolutely killed me.

Though it's nothing compared to how I am going to feel when I have finished one. Yup, I have the Ironman bug and going to enter one.

Lanzarote, of course!