He was back! After last year’s catastrophic fall from his bike, Nick Kenney had a score to settle. The disappointment from the previous year behind him, he was ready to reset the clock and restart the challenge. Not only to complete the Ironman, but on the toughest course in Europe.
His displaced fractured distal clavicle fully healed, Nick had 140 miles (226km) of continuous exertion ahead of him. A 3.8k sea swim, straight into a 180k bike ride followed by a marathon to run and all within the cut off time of 16 hours.
Set in the medieval town of Tenby on the Pembrokeshire Coast in South West Wales, the course utilises the 4km of sandy shores.
Race day…. 7am….. North Beach, Tenby.
2500 hopefuls, all wishing to test their metal in this ultimate test.
Nick waited patiently to be set off in his wave, into the calm waters on a beautiful morning.
2 laps of a 1.9km circuit, coupled with an Aussie exit between laps kicked off the proceedings.
He completed the first challenge quicker than last year, in some 74 minutes. A 1km run through the roaring crowds in the town to the transition area and he was on to his bike. The locals maintaining their reputation for being the most supportive on the circuit, turning the town into a real carnival of human endeavour for the day.
A brutal ride of 112 miles now faced him, (well….if he could successfully negotiate the cattle grids that threw him over the handlebars last year) The equivalent distance is from Portsmouth to the Severn Bridge. As if that wasn’t hard enough, it was peppered with 8000ft of twisty turny elevation. Technical riding at the best of times, but it was hot now… unseasonably hot for September.
“The cattle grid phobia remains. I wasn’t taking any chances this year… I walked around them”
2 loops, one of 70 miles and the 2nd of 42 through the town and around the surrounding area, supporters out in droves.
“The ride was ridiculously tough. 17% climbs and technical dangerous descents, it was mentally and physically draining”
Just over 7 hours later he was off the wheels and back on his feet. Just a marathon to go…. yeah…. JUST! He needed get through the last 26.2 miles of this epic journey.
The hills continued into the run. Four circuits of a 10k loop of Tenby. That’s all that stood between Nick and the finishline. Crowds were lining the streets. So deep in places that the runners had to go in single file as the locals urged them forward and gave every runner the boost they needed.
“The support was the incredible, it was without doubt the best atmosphere on any marathon I’ve ever done”
Nick was running strong despite being on the go now for 8 hours and 49 minutes. He managed to pick up the pace in the second lap, drawing strength from the crowd and from his Ironman brother Kev Winchcombe who was there to support.
20 miles in and Nick was slowing a bit now. He was exhausted, but he was still moving at a good pace. One lap to go!
Dark now, Nick finally made it to the turn off point. He ran down the red carpet and toward glory. Two years in the making… he’d done it
“Nick Kenney……YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”
Months of rehab, months of patience, months of training. His demons put to bed.
“I felt super emotional crossing the line”
A real display of determination, dedication and digging in. He tested his metal and found his inner Iron. Nick you really are in inspiration. Last words from him…..
“NEVER AGAIN! Not in Wales anyway… fast and flat next time….”