The ironman race in Copenhagen is finished, and what an impressive event! The guys from Challenge took up an enormous task when they decided to host the race in the middle of a major city. And, as if that weren’t enough, they were hit the heaviest rain Denmark has received in 25 years. The roads were flooded, and there were blockages throughout the city. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be in the organiser’s shoes. They did everything in their power to make the race a success, and they persevered.
The course was a little unusual for an Ironman. I’m used to small country roads and big hills. This was entirely different, but still very challenging. Instead of dealing with long climbs, we faced sharp turns and a single 72 metre hill we had to climb twice. When you added everything up, this wasn’t something that was going to be won easily.
I’ve also gotta hand it to the organisers for managing to cram every scenic destination in Copenhagen into the course while still giving us a run for our money. We passed by Amalienborg Castle, New Harbour, and the Opera before finishing at the Danish Parliament. It was truly great to take everything in.
Copenhagen is one of the few big cities where you can actually swim in the harbour. More and more people are doing swims there every year because the water is so clean. The swim course weaved its way under crowd-filled bridges. This was unlike any other Ironman swim. We could hear the roar of applause as we swam between the pylons. Adam Molnar and Martin Jenson made an early break from the swim and proceeded to put 2 to 3 minutes on the rest of the contenders. I put in a good effort and came out at 49.28 in 5th place.
The day started off overcast, and It was raining by the time I got onto my bike. My pace was not as fast as usual. There were a lot of smaller hills that were difficult to climb because you were slipping all over the place. What a difference the weather makes! We expected sunshine this time of the year, and we got one of the wettest Ironman’s yet.
It was kind of funny. A few of the guys were actually crashing on the slippery roads! We all had to contend with the highly technical course and infuriating “Denmark Flintstone.” It wasn’t going to be easy to get through this. Guys like Jimmy Johnson, Martin Jenson, and my own team mate Timmy Reed all suffered punctures.
I was lucky enough to make it through the bike section. With Martin out of the race, I broke away from the group at the 120k mark. I felt bad for Martin. I know how hard it is to DNF and have a bad race in your own hometown. I know he’ll get through it though. You just have to suck it up when that happens. You’ve gotta move on.
I ended up building a of 2:58 into T2 and riding the fastest time of the day 4.28.01. The whole time, I remember thinking, “what the hell? I’m going off the front? Well this is unexpected” I’m always surprised when I make a big break from the pack. I believe in my running ability, but it’s an entirely different thing when you see the results of that belief. I knew I still had a good Marathon in me at the start of the run.
The crowd on the run course was phenomenal. I was feeling good. I had Sebastian playing on the iPod, and it was keeping me in check. At the halfway mark, I had a nice lead of 6.27 over Keegan Williams. I’ve known Keegan for years, and he’s always been a solid runner. He was putting forward a great effort at Copenhagen!
Of course, you can’t keep the same pace forever. It wasn’t too long before I hit the wall, and believe me, the wall almost flattened me like a pancake. It all happened around the 36k mark. My energy was so sapped that I was nearly down to a walk. It was going to be a difficult recovery.
Thankfully, there were 125,000 people cheering me on. With that kind of support, you simply can’t stop running, no matter how you feel. It’s truly exciting to be a part of something so big. If it weren’t for that crowd, I wouldn’t have made it to the finish. It just goes to show how important your support is for all triathletes. You don’t need to do much. We just like seeing your faces at our events.
With 2k to go, all the pain went away. I started to pump my fist and blow kisses to the Danish girls! ha-ha. The organisers setup the most electric finish I have ever seen. Everyone was going crazy, and guess what song they played? I’m too sexy! Ha-ha. Genius! This is the same song they played when I won the Ironman in W.A.
I broke the tape in 8 hours, 7 minutes, and 38 seconds. My total run time was 2.46.54. Keegan Williams also ran brilliantly with a 2 hour 46 minute marathon. He came in 2nd place. Jens Grobeck took 3rd with all around solid performance.
I’ve gotta give a shout out to my girl Bek Keat for winning the women’s race. Her performance was fantastic, dipping just under 9 hours for the 2nd time in a few weeks.
Thanks again to the organisers. Thomas, Andreas, and Kim, we couldn’t have done this without you! The Challenge crew certainly know how to look after their participants, especially their professional athletes. They put on a very memorable race. I know I’ll never forget it. Well done guys!