Bassetlaw Triathlon Club's Darren Raines conquers Ironman challenge in Texas
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Having only competed his first sprint triathlon 18 months ago, Raines opted for the big one.
Completing the event on the legendary Ironman red carpet and to be presented with his Ironman medal by his daughter, Darren said: “I achieved my goal of becoming an Ironman.
“Finishing in a time of 11:21:59 I couldn’t have achieved my personal goal without the unrivalled support of some incredible people and some outstanding fellow triathletes.
“To be greeted at the end of the red carpet by my wife, daughter and dad was one of the proudest moments of my life.
“It was a race, a journey and an experience of a lifetime.
"It was physically the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but on the flip side the most rewarding.”
Finishing the event was the culmination of an emotional time.
Having started his triathlon journey with the Bassetlaw Triathlon club he had the constant support of his wife and young daughter plus his parents.
Sadly, Darren lost his mother to cancer during final preparations for the Ironman and this devastation only spurred him to complete the event.
“My mum supported me in every stroke I swam, watt I pedalled and step I ran,” he said.
Athletes started with a 2.4-mile lake swim at North Shore Park and dip down into Lake Woodlands before heading through a spectator-lined canal toward the finish at Town Green Park.
The swim is point-to-point with only one turnaround. Because the freshwater lake maintains an average temperature of 82 degrees it was touch and go as to whether the swim would be 'wet suit legal', with the decision only being made to allow wet suits on the start morning.
Following on from this swim is the ride section of the event. The 112-mile journey consisting of a two-loop route through Northern Harris County.
The majority of the course is closed to traffic and so made for a fast, flat course although competitors needed to be prepared to encounter some wind and be sure to wear sunscreen because this portion of the bike course was entirely exposed.
The final part of the event is a 26.2-mile, three-lap run course which made for a great spectator base.
Not surprising for Texas, the weather was hot, peaking at 33 degrees during the run section.
Starting the swim in the dark which made for poor visibility in the waters it was key to avoid the local wildlife of snakes and terrapins.
On the bike and despite the wind Darren said: “I was over the moon with my speed on the bike.
“An average of 20.3mph for 112 miles and a bike time of 5:32:23 is something I’m very proud of.”
As the temperatures rose so did the humidity making the run section a particular challenge, with Darren needing an ice pack under his run cap.
Anyone interested in triathlons should contact the local club via www.bassetlawtriclub.co.uk/ or www.facebook.com/BassetlawTriClub.