Monday, 27 September 2021

Iron duo show their mettle

TWO friends from Wargrave have successfully completed their first Ironman triathlon.

TWO friends from Wargrave have successfully completed their first Ironman triathlon.

Duncan Wild and Paul Kelly swam 2.4 miles, cycled 112 miles then ran a standard 26.2-mile marathon in under 12 hours.

The pair were taking part in the Challenge Roth event near Nuremberg in southern Germany.

They were among 5,000 people who signed up for the race, which took place on July 12.

Mr Wild and Mr Kelly met through the village’s Piggott infant and junior schools, which their children attend.

Mr Wild, 43, a business development manager for G4S in Banbury, lives in Hamilton Road with his wife Sabine and daughters Eyla, eight, and Lilya, six.

Mr Kelly, 42, a management consultant in London, lives in Victoria Road with his wife Georgina and children Isabelle, seven, and Ottilie, five.

Neither had been a keen sportsman until they turned 40 and decided to get fitter.

In 2011 they entered the Challenge Henley triathlon, which is run by the same company, as part of two different bicycle relay teams.

The following year they took part in the Henley Half Triathlon and an Olympic distance triathlon in Windsor.

The latter consisted of a 1.5km swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run.

Spurred on by these achievements, they signed up for Challenge Roth in December and began training immediately. To get in shape, they had to work out at least five days a week including one long session every weekend.

During the week, they would swim 1,500m along the Thames in the morning or run 15km in the evening.

Weekend training included 20km runs and bike rides of up to 90km.

Instead of having a personal trainer, they got advice on workouts and nutrition from magazines and the internet.

Mr Wild said: “I did sport at school and university but haven’t really done anything since then.

“Like a lot of people, we hit the age of 40 and decided we needed a challenge in our lives.

“It provides a useful balance to your work and home life and is a good outlet.

“It is quite tough finding the time to prepare, though. It really does depend on having a lot of support, especially from your family.

“The interesting thing about Wargrave is that it’s full of people who have decided they want to get fit and stay fit. If you go down to the river in the morning you’ll find six or seven people swimming. It’s a very motivational village to live in.”

Their bid looked set to fail when Mr Kelly caught a stomach bug a month before they were due to fly out.

He picked it up from the Thames having taken part in the Windsor triathlon in the middle of June. But despite missing about a month’s training, he felt fit enough for the challenge despite only recovering four days earlier.

Mr Kelly said: “It happened about four weeks before the race. I had a really bad week with illness immediately after Windsor.

“It meant that the training schedule went out of the window because I couldn’t do much in the month before. I was surprised that I finished.” The pair flew out to Germany with their wives two days before the race was due to start.

More than 100,000 spectators descended on Roth, a small market town about the size of Henley, on the day.

Challengers swam along the canal that runs through Roth before cycling and running around surrounding villages. The route then took them back to the finishing line in the centre of the town.

Mr Wild finished in 11 hours and 35 minutes.

Mr Wild said: “I think we both went into it with our eyes open; we knew it was going to be tough.

“Physically, we both held up well. We were concerned that we would finish it and think ‘that was a horrible experience’ but in fact we enjoyed it.

“I was relieved to cross the finishing line to some extent but mostly proud of what we had achieved.”

Mr Kelly, who finished two minutes after his friend, said the race was tough.

He said: “For me the swim went really well but the temperatures on the bike was much like it is here in the UK, about 30C and meant for a very energy sapping race and I had about six to seven litres of liquid during the bike race.

“The run went well and I was please to finish within my target of 12 hours.”

The pair now plan to enter other Ironman triathlons including Challenge Henley.

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