Race Report from Mark Kelly….
On the strong recommendation from Ironman David Levison, myself and Steve Craig made the trip down to Cleveland Triathlon Club to take part in Steelman 2017 representing the black, white and blue of Ponteland Tri. This comprises of a 2000m swim, 58 mile bike and 13.1 mile part trail part road run. This is just slightly longer than Edinburgh Ironman 70.3 that I completed two weeks ago. It was Steve’s first go at a middle-distance tri. With a 10 am start we had a nice leisurely drive down to Ellington Park.
After briefing we got into a lovely lake to warm up for the swim. Steve made his way to the front whilst I tried to hide in a corner. On the hooter, Steve was off with the lead pack, it all got a bit aggressive so much so that Steve was kicked in the face at the first buoy and was so disorientated he nearly went around it the wrong way. He quickly recovered to complete the 2K in an impressive 30 minutes; I followed with a more timid 39 minutes.
On the way down Steve had confided in me that he struggled on the bike in Northumberland. I was questioning this as the miles ticked by and there was no sight of him. Luckily Steelmen don’t rust as the heavens had opened for the bike ride. However, it was still an extremely fast course (not undulating as the website had put it, well not to a Northumberland native). Finally at mile 25 I caught up with Steve and after a quick catch up I went for it as I was feeling the strongest I have on a bike.
Leaving transition on the run I started to question my decision to floor it on the bike. The run route was part trail and part road with a few bumps. I was just hanging on and spotted Steve as there where several spots you crossed paths. He was looking strong so I had to give it a little bit more. A couple miles from the end I spotted a Muckle top and was determined to take him before the end. I just had enough left to get past him with about ½ a mile to go and finished with a pleasing time of 5hours 20 minutes. Steve completed his in a very impressive 5 hours 39 minutes for his first race of this distance. I could tell he had put everything into it as he was very wobbly until he managed to fuel himself back up.
A quick drive home and a couple of congratulatory pints were had as we regaled all the bar of how amazing we were! I can thoroughly recommend this race. It’s well organised, very cheap and a PB course. The marshals were all fantastic and there was plenty of support throughout the race.