Mark becomes an Ironman
Airedale’s Business Unit Manager Mark Dowell is officially an Ironman after a gruelling feat of endurance in Zurich, Switzerland on Sunday 13 July that saw him complete a swim of 2.4 miles, bike race of 112 miles and run of 26.2 miles in 12 hours 8 minutes and in pouring rain.
Floating in Lake Zurich at 07.00 with 2,200 other athletes and helicopters hovering overhead was the surreal start to an epic, first ever Ironman for Mark.
Mark, who has responsibility at Airedale for the manufacture of close control air conditioning products including a Fast Track EasiCool line, says: “Triathlon swim starts can be frantic, but I managed to avoid any issues and felt relaxed swimming in such a massive lake. The swim went well and I exited the water after 1hour 23 minutes and in 1656th position.
“The bike course included 5,000 feet of climbs. Over the 112 miles I pulled back 374 places to finish the ride in 1282nd position. Some of the climbs made you feel like a Tour de France rider, with hundreds of people creating a corridor on both sides of the road. It gives you a real boost up the hills with so many people cheering you on.
“Then it was back to the transition area to rack the bike and swap into running shoes. My legs felt very heavy at this point – not a good starting point to attempt my first ever marathon! I ran well for two laps (13 miles) but by the last lap it was tough going. Every muscle in my legs was screaming at me to stop and after being on the go for 12 hours, your mind starts to agree with them too.
“The finishers’ corridor was amazing, hundreds of people shouting as you cross the line. Although I had felt slow on the run, I had still made up another 206 places to finish 1076 overall, after burning off 10,500 calories. I probably ate about a quarter of the calories I burnt off which is OK, you can go on for ages like this without hitting the wall.
“I’ve been training for nine months for the race, at an average of 11 hours per week – peaking at 14 hours per week. I’ve been doing shorter distance triathlons for four years and during that time you start thinking…. “I wonder if I could do an I Ironman?” As to would I do another? Definitely I would, yes!”
Ironman races which number twenty-one world-wide each year, consist of the best triathletes from around the world. In Mark’s race there were competitors from the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, NZ, China, Mexico as well as many from all over Europe.