Tomorrow, on Sunday 2nd September, TRTC’s very own Ashley Roughton will be participating in the 70.3 Ironman Wold Championships in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Qualifying for an Ironman World Championships is a monumental achievement. More than 130,000 athletes from around the world vie for just 3,000 places every year and, for the majority of athletes, such an accomplishment remains an elusive dream.
‘I want to do a Half Ironman’.
In spring 2016, I was having a curry with Ash and some other blokes. I was preparing for 2 Ironman races that year and, as we got chatting, I was encouraging the entire table to do a triathlon.
The next day Ash registered for the Hever Castle Olympic distance triathlon and we began the journey that culminated this year with Ash qualifying for the 2018 70.3 Ironman World Championships.
Over the previous years, Ash had done some bike training and run a few marathons, but even though he knew how to swim, he had little technique and less rhythm. So, there was a lot of work to do. Hever Castle came, and upon completing it, Ash was well and truly hooked.
‘A dream would be to qualify for the 70.3 World Championships’.
We developed an on-going Half Ironman training programme, and in 2017 Ash raced his first 70.3 Ironman in Barcelona. Wimbleball in Exeter and Cascais in Portugal quickly followed. Ash is full of determination and focus, but the one thing that makes him a stand-out athlete is the consistency of his training. Such is his drive that sometimes I even have to force rest days on him!
2018 was a year of real learning and progress. Ash’s 2018 season began with the Dubai 70.3 Ironman in February. Planning for and acclimatisation to the heat was a major factor here. Campesche in Mexico followed in March, where he didn’t finish because his bike seat post collapsed (expect the unexpected!). Marbella in May and then Staffordshire in June was where the stars aligned and Ash earned a coveted place at the 2018 World Championships. But his racing didn’t stop there, Ash went on to race in Jonkpoing (pronounced Jern Showping) in Sweden in July.
In Ash’s own words:
By far the hardest part of the event for me is planning the energy share between the three disciplines. In addition, each race venue has its own weather and proclivities. I often go out to the event venue the weekend before to scope the bike ride as this can often pay dividends. Climbing a long climb is much easier if you know how long it is or whether you need to use your brakes on a downhill stretch. How cobbled are the roads leading out of transition and can you avoid them by pre-planning your route?
I’m already thinking about next year and whether I should do a 140.6. But if I do, it will have to be somewhere cool!
Making it to the 70.3 World Championships is a monumental achievement. No matter what happens on the day, the experience will be unforgettable. Will a 140.6 be next for Ash? Watch this space.