Fat man to Ironman completed, 14 months ago I was unhappy, I weighed 26 stone, I had a waist measuring over 50″ life was not horrific, I was married we were ok but it was not enough for me, I allowed myself to be easily distracted away from focusing on my ambition in life and was bogged down, I walked away from a very lovely well meaning girl, please don’t think this is a public attack, but I was like a caged bird I needed to fly, and she was scared I would injure myself if I trained.
I needed time to think, so decided to walk the coast path, I plodded, just me and my rucksack pitching my tent when It got dark, going home at weekends to work, it was very tough but it showed me how much I had let myself go, and also how much I wanted to be fit.
Had also watched a few of these TV shows with people going for surgery to lose weight, had heard somebody being warned that the operation was life threatening, but I still considered a visit to the doctors, at this point for the first time in my life I realised I really wanted to lose weight, it was time for a change.
I did not realise how bad thing were at the time but looking back I was out of breath climbing the stairs, unable to ride 3 miles without having a rest. I could not buy clothes from a normal shop, xxxxxxl t shirts don’t sell on the high street, I was unable to buy any outdoor kit, so it was tough to do the walk in a leaky coat, trust me there was also a lot of chaffing, but the weight very slowly started to come off, then suddenly I had lost 3 stone by the end of that summer and when back at work people noticed and commented it felt good, but I wanted more.
Had a gym at work so worked hard up until Christmas going to the gym and riding my mountain bike, lost a few more stone, I ordered a brand new full carbon road bike from the cycle to work scheme.
It arrived in January and I used it a lot, it was tough but slowly started building the miles 3 miles was tough at the beginning but soon could do 20 (which felt like a lot), wanted to do an Ironman so entered, there was a lot of negative feed back from family and friends who thought it was impossible.
Went and spoke to Matt Pullen from Trizone in Truro who I knew well, I expected to be laughed out of the shop, but he was blown away by the idea and could not have been more positive, he treated me as a athlete from the beginning, straight away he told me everything I needed to do and what I didn’t. It was time to change my mindset, athlete, not a fat man.
Many many many pool lengths, and miles on the bike under my belt, it was time to start running. It was April time when I turned up at Truro Rugby Club on a wednesday evening not for rugby, which I was the build for, but Truro Running Club, could not have had a more friendly welcome and I was immediately invited also to swim on a Friday morning, I initially declined as I thought it was just a polite offer but after the second week of them asking I went down, they where all so supportive and encouraging, I was convinced to take part in a 5 mile off road run race and have not looked back since.
Had a couple of races booked as a lead up to the big race but got addicted, this turned into pretty much an event a week, Triathlons, runs, swims it was great fun the people doing these races have a positive ‘can do’ attitude and it’s catching.
The months soon disappeared and I found myself packing the car and making the drive to Tenby, signed in on the Friday morning and was still pretty calm. That evening we had the briefing and sitting in a aircraft hanger with 1600 other athletes things really started to hit home, I felt sick listening to the briefing. The medical director discussing intravenous drips did not help much to be fair.
For the first time, this whirlwind of a year had suddenly come to a abrupt halt, I had joined those doubters, how the hell is a guy like me gonna do an Ironman and one which they are describing as the toughest in the world. I just wished I had never even started this stupid challenge, why do I think I can achieve the impossible.
After the briefing was a pasta party I was in the queue, and a guy I had never met came up and shook my hand, he said he had been reading my blog, an amazing moment.
There was a lot of support coming through my phone, it made me feel better, had to go and rack my bike on the Saturday morning, was one of the first to do this and it was great to get it out of the way, Tom and Katie had arrived to support me and I banned them from talking about “the race” as it just made me feel sick, we went and watched the “Ironkids” event it was amazing.
Woke up at 4 am on race day, big breakfast, then on with the big head phones down to the transition area for five, check tyre pressures and clip on shoes to bike. Was feeling pretty emotional and it was strange to walk through the streets with 1600 people at dawn all in rubber!
A five minute splash around and we were called to the start, turned around to see that there where thousands and thousands of people watching, Welsh National Anthem then the 30 second countdown started, managed to break my goggle strap at 15 seconds to go, somehow managed to re-thread it with my shaking hands then the gun went it was time, all that training was for this moment, diving into a mass of legs arms and white water, it was brutal, the first mark was like being in a mutated school of mackerel it was hard to get into a rhythm, and ended up swim the course out wide without drafting just to be able to keep a nice rhythm, half way through the swim there was a short run out of the water and on to the second lap around the same course again.
Then it was time for the 1km run to transition, people covered every inch of the town, it was amazing. Got into the transition tent and it was a mass of bodies, found a free spot on the floor to change and it was time for a 112 mile ride.
The course was one lap then two smaller laps, it was stunning the scenery was amazing it was so hard to take it easy, with supporters on every corner, they where very loud, lots of music and partying.
Started to cramp a lot around 70 miles and that was a bit annoying, but the support was so good, the steepest hill which you do on two laps was like being in the Tour DE France, inspirational.
With around 2 hours more riding the rain started, which slowed cornering a bit after watching a few crashes, people start breaking bikes and going was tough. Just kept the miles ticking away and managed to average 15 mph which I was pleased with, but could not wait to start running and detach myself from my bike.
When I got to transition my feet hurt a lot and I struggled to walk, went into the tent to change and there was a guy covered in bandages and blood getting ready to run! He had crashed his bike but that was not gonna stop him.
Just the 26 mile marathon to do now with 8 hours left on the clock, the day was going as good as I could have hoped, the run consisted of a four lap course the first part a long 2 mile hill out of town then back and a course winding its way through the streets of cheering supporters. First lap it felt great to not be cycling any more. Lap two was tougher and the cramp started again could only run 100 yards before having to walk for 20 yards, which made going tough, managed to feel better on lap 3, then on to the final lap with over 3 hours to run a 10 km took it fairly easy with the fear of going too hard and not finishing at all and that was not a option.
Got to the end of the final lap and was allowed onto the finish straight, down a dark almost deserted road turning a corner a marshal said ’200 yards, they’re waiting for you’, could see the bright lights, picked up the pace and the cheering started, on to the red carpet the noise was deafening like being in a rugby stadium, music and thousands of people all cheering, picked up the pace to a sprint and jumped through the line “Gregory Hunt you are a Ironman” as I flew through the air was doubting weather I had the strength to land, but I did and managed to narrowly miss taking out the camera man. It was amazing, on top of the world I had done it, don’t now how, but I had. Tom, Katy and my dad were there and had been supporting and cheering for the whole day. Thank you, could not have done it without you.
14:52:59, two hours before the cut off.
To completing arguably the toughest Ironman on the planet! What a day,
“Gregory Hunt you are an Ironman“
Thank you to all that have been there for me over the last year, for all your support, could not have done it alone. xxx
Dare to dream, put your neck on the line, don’t be scared to fail, you might just change your life too!
To those who doubted me, think about what you could be doing if you did not have so many excuses as to why you can’t? Get out there and do it, live it.
14 months from left to right.