by Andy Tan

On 11th Sept, Andrew Jones and myself, joined a crowd of 2000 strong to attempt the formidable Ironman Wales, recognised as one of the toughest Ironman brand races in the world – fact. But on this day, after three years of pent-up anger and frustration – and it being the 10th year anniversary of the race – the Welsh Dragon was not in the mood make it easy for us.

As the sun rise over the horizon turning the sky red, a minute of silence was observed followed by the British and Welsh National Anthem, making it a very emotional moment for many, myself included. In keeping with tradition at Ironman events, AC/DC’s Thunderstruck filled the coastline as we charged the choppy sea for our 2.4miles swim. It was a washing machine and many did not make the cut. For those who did, it was a 1km run up the “zig zag” through town and into transition.

The bike segment was equally challenging, 112miles route on 2600m elevation with a side of cold wind and heavy rain added to the packaged tour of Pembrokeshire. The course was very technical and there were some serious crashes but fortunately, no fatalities were reported. Still, following the harsh swim and the relentless uphill climbs, 10% of the participants DNF-ed.

Bike done and survived, all that was left was the run, easy … well. 26.2miles with 400m elevation to climb – or actually, the same hill, climbed 4 times. Oh, did I mention the wind and rain? As we plodded through the night, Tenby continued to cheer us on. Supporters were everywhere. children had their hands out. Some had “Tap for Power” boards, and this was 11pm at night in the cold wind and rain. No one stopped for fear of letting these little super supporters down.

Out of the 2000 that started, 1700 (both Andrew and myself included) completed the Ironman or as the locals say, “slayed the dragon”. It truly was an amazing atmosphere and one must be in it to experience it. I felt honoured to be among the class of IMW 2022.