The Outlaw – Course Record

Just before the start of my Berlin prep Andy was contacted by Dan from Langdale Lightweights who were putting together a ‘Dream Team’ to represent the Karen Green Foundation with a view to setting a new course record at The Outlaw, having narrowly missed it in previous years. This is a long distnce (Ironman distance) triathlon with a 2.4M swim, 112M bike & 26.2M run based at Holme Pierrepont. As I’d be looking at 25-30 miles that day anyway with it being 9 weeks to Berlin we agreed we could fit this into my plan & settled on a ~2:30 agreed marathon time to bring the team home. So a hard training run rather than a race, but a weekend that warranted a separate post!

No pressure…but there was a ‘sweep’ operating in the shop with a large board showing predicted times ranging from 7:22 to 8hrs+ for the full distance. The current course record being 8:01.

Having been away from the triathlon scene over the last few years Jo & I really enjoyed the atmosphere on the Saturday afternoon when we went to sign on. There were a few swimming races taking place at the time (Barrow Runner’ Ollie Hatton being announced onto the podium as we arrived) & competitors signing on & generally taking in the occasion before their big day. So we got to meet Dan who had put the team together & would also be riding for the KGF ‘Underdogs’ & also Ellie Green who organised us all over the weekend, along with the rest of the Langdale team who had a large stand in the race village.

There was some excitable talk of potential times with the weather looking promising & our team all looking to be in descent shape:

Swim – Sam Dickinson (Twitter); looking at something around 48 minutes. Sam was flying back from the European Sprint Cup in Rotterdam on Saturday night to lead us off.

Bike – Ryan Perry (Twitter); current bike course record holder from 2015 with 4:20. It was good to meet Ryan on Saturday afternoon briefly, & although non-committal regarding targets Ryan was clearly in shape having recently taken the national 100M time trial title.

Run – Me (Twitter); the also-ran amongst some pretty exalted company, looking to bring it home with a ~2:30 marathon. N.b. not the 2:15 that would be rumoured at transition!

It proved to be a really quite strange experience! After an early shakeout on Sunday, I had a shower & relaxed back into bed with a good coffee & some toast. Checking the live timing & Sam was out the water first in 48 minutes – 6:48 am! At that point Jo wanted to go, so we had to remind ourselves Ryan had a mere 112 miles to ride before I got to play.

We got there in plenty of time, sorted my kit out & while I went for a jog round the lake Jo & the Spencer Support Crew setup camp on the switch-back onto the river where they’d see the runners several times each lap.

Talk was that both Ryan & Dan were going very well so I worked towards a 10.45am start. An espresso doppio, a change into race kit (tucking in the huge KGF vest) & I made my way to transition to work things out, do some final drills & strides & hope they had spotter’s in reasonable positions for the lead cyclist! Estimated arrival times immediately ranged from 10.50am to 11.10am… so I got through a good 20 minutes of strides etc & then just waited! There was a false start as an early abandon made his way into transition & was cheered in as though he was the leader…

11.15am & Ryan was in sight & it was time for my marathon time trial. As usual it was windy at HPP, so a following wind for the first length of the rowing lake meant I was immediately up on pace but feeling reasonably comfortable. I made sure I didn’t work too hard on turning back into the wind although the huge cheers as I first past the grandstands meant the pace was still a bit quick. A sharp left at the scoreboard & back past the family before the long stretch into the wind along the river to the Embankment & a very lonely first long loop.

I felt great coming back to where the family were, although I knew I was slightly up on planned pace & would be likely to pay for that when added to some fairly fast miles the previous day & a high volume week generally. The next teams & first individuals were at least starting their runs now so there was a bit of company & it did mean that the crowds had started to gather which made for a great atmosphere on & around the lake. Time to get a gel down my neck to attempt to stem the dehydration kicking in:


No pressure Jo!


Out again onto the river & by this stage although feeling strong I was aware I was getting quite dehydrated in the heat. I was struggling to take anything more than a tiny sip from each plastic cup of water as I was clearly running faster than most thought which meant a fairly hasty grab of the cup each time. Still the pace held strong & I backed off slightly but happily ticked off the miles while dodging the Sunday morning strollers…Luckily there were still very few runners on the river tow-path coming the other way so other than the odd dog it wasn’t too bad.

Back to the family support spot to great excitement & it was just 1 3/4 laps of the lake to do. Things were starting to get busy on the lake although the first lap was again fairly straight forward, but by the final 3/4 lap it was quite crowded & understanding how tough the full distance is I was keen not to interfere with individual’s race so it did mean a bit of weaving & cross country to stay out the way.


Still smiling

The final turn for home was always going to be tough straight into the headwind. It was, but all was well & I ticked off the last couple of miles easily enough. I was pleased to finish strong, although having pushed into the wind for the final stretch I was surprised at my finishing pace once I moved to the left & out of the wind to go down the finish funnel. A quick high-five with a very excited Dan & a bit of a stutter to allow Sam & Ryan to catch up along the red carpet for us to take the tape together as the fireworks went off & the record was ours!


KGF Dream Team bringing it home

7:47 to take 14 minutes off the previous record & a 2:27 run split for a 9 minute run record – Results. Job done!

It felt great to be part of the team that got the record for KGF & Langdale’s & we spent the weekend with some great people. The support from KGF & Langdale all weekend was superb. An awful interview immediately after finishing, then straight through the food tent (hot food, tea & coffee – seriously?) & back to the Langdale tent to an emotional family & some very happy faces! After a few minutes chatting with the team, a quick change & we went back to the support spot to cheer on those still out there (everybody for some time!) while enjoying our picnic.

Not a bad training run given the heat, & a thoroughly enjoyable weekend was had by all! The course record will take some beating now.

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