Bungay Black Dog athletes take on a tough challenge in the French heat

Some of the Bungay Black Black Dog Iron ‘men’ pose for a picture in Vichy, France. Picture: Club

Some of the Bungay Black Black Dog Iron ‘men’ pose for a picture in Vichy, France. Picture: Club - Credit: Archant

Ironman Vichy, in France, on August 27, had been the target race of 2017 for a pack of Bungay Black Dogs.

Having watched the half Iron distance race the previous day they all knew it would be a non-wetsuit 2.4 mile swim to start, due by to air temps of 34C and water temp in excess of 24C.

It would then be onto the second lap a 112 mile bike ride on a cloudy, warm and windless day on a scenic well-supported course through French villages, open roads and forests.

It was then back into transition to start the 26.2 mile run in sweltering heat. A four-lap course included a few crowded streets in the town but mostly river side paths, where the shady tree lined sections were a welcome relief from the burning sun.

There was fabulous support out on the course from Black Dog friends and families which was a tear inducing sight on every lap as the triathletes ground out the laps.

First Black Dog home, finishing with a 4:28 marathon, was Tom Pullinger in 11 hours 45 minutes. Next across the line was ex-Black Dog Jane Hannah in 12:15 followed by Marcus Nicholls (with the fastest doggy paddle of an excellent 1:11) in 13:02, Larissa Smith in 15:06 and Simon Cowley in 15:07.

Sadly Lucy Johnston suffered bike problems on the course and ex-Black Dog Rebecca Wass, who missed the swim cut off by an unfortunate 27 seconds, were both non finishers, but both deserve respect for giving it their all, as do all the athletes for dealing with whatever came their way during a very eventful race.

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Injuries, crashes, punctures, extra laps, lost tool kits retrieved from ditches, this race had them all. One of many highlights of the day was Marcus crossing the finishing line to “Who let the dogs out”.

At Reepham, the 10k was rather hot but the second 5km down the lovely green tunnel of Marriotts Way was a blessed reprieve from the heat.

Results: 33 Chris Chorley 43.26, 92 Richard Dye 48.09, 168 Neil Thomas 52.51, 180 Bobbie Sauerzapf 53.11, 217 Graham Sampson 55.59, 243 Joanne Rice 57.55 with 366 finishers.

The final regular fixture of the East Anglian League took place at Bury St Edmunds with many of Waveney Valley AC’s athletes in fine form and competing hard ato score sufficient points to reach the league finals which take place on September 17.