Ed Defeats Roth

Return to Challenge Roth for unfinished business

Two years ago I went to race at Challenge Roth in Germany but had a torn achilles and couldn’t start the run – however I did race the swim and bike and determined I would 
return. So two years on and I am not only in good shape, with a big block of training behind me, I am buoyed by being selected to represent GB at the Iron distance European ETU championships in Almere in September. In fact I heard on the Tuesday before I raced Roth.

The words were published just after the race and sum up the nature of Roth splendidly.

Thank you Triathlete Magazine and Brad Culp for this great article:

“The greatest triathlon in the world took place on Sunday. It might not be the most significant triathlon in the world, and it never will be. Kona will always wear that crown, but Roth has some things that Kona doesn´t. There´s an atmosphere and energy surrounding the entire course that you won´t find anywhere else. The support from the community is almost bizarre. The frenzy around the finish is livelier, although much of that has to do with the fact there´s better beer and food, and typically less heat exhaustion…”

If you’re reading this, there’s a 90 percent chance that you’ll never qualify for Kona. But you can go race Roth, and you should. Aside from the swim taking place in a shipping canal that I wouldn’t swim in more than once per year, Roth is nearly perfect. The professional field this year wasn’t quite as strong as in years past, with the German trio of Frodeno, Lange, and Kienle taking care of their Kona qualification last weekend and Frankfurt, and Daniela Ryf waltzing to a win at Ironman Austria this weekend.”

The local community and German people fully embrace the race, some 250,000 come to watch and the finishing stands accommodate 10,000. And the race experience as a competitor is unreal – with crowds partying and shouting at you as you swim, bike and run. In fact on the bike up a hill called Solarberg the crowd is reminiscent of the Tour de France with raucous crowds 6/7 deep, and a continuous stream of bikes unable to pass each other as they follow a narrow human corridor.  It is an experience like no other and made me very emotional even after 85 and 170km cycling across the two laps.

Briefly the swim is in a major German shipping canal – think Trent-Mersey canal and quadruple the size,  it is very green and full of who knows what – anyway it affected my sinuses almost immediately. The bike is a rolling 1500m of ascent across the 180km, and the run is mainly flat until the last 6 km when it becomes very challenging / hilly. My calves screamed a great deal in the run, thanks to these hills. The finish in the stadium was an amazing experience and one which I embraced, taking my time rather than dashing for the line.

My time was 11 hours 17 minutes placing me in the top 20% of my Age Group and broke down as:

Swim  (3.8km) 1:20:26

T1 4:08

Bike (180km) 5:42:22

T2 4:56

Run (42.2km) 4:05:45

Overall given the climbs this is my best performance in my 9th ironman, I have gone faster but only just on a much flatter course in Barcelona with a faster sea swim. That said lots to work on as I felt quite sick for part of the bike and all of the run (reviewing my nutrition strategy for my next race).

If you do one Iron distance race, do this one – you will not regret the experience, and the fantastic German spectators and atmosphere.  And the Isotonic free alcohol frei beer at the end is a must.

Club to Pub Henley on Thames River Swim. Parogon Champions

Saturday evening saw 6 members, past and present take to the river Thames to swim the 1500m from the rowing club to the Angle on the Bridge pub – the promise of a beer and a medal that would open it surly spurned us on!!

The water was surprisingly clear and warm as the ‘performance’ wave containing Dave, Ian, Andy and Helen Reader slid in for their 6.50 start. The first 400m upstream were as tough as we anticipated but as we got to the turn for the downstream leg it became clear that Ian, Dave & Helen were well up the field.

Speaking of Field – despite struggling with his breathing, chatting to the rescue canoeist, apparently she was attractive – he gamely battled on to breaststroke the whole course. A fantastic effort when many would have chucked in the towel. Despite this constant ribbing ensued for the rest of the evening!!!

Dave, Helen & Ian all finished within the 22 minute bracket with Dave 13th, Helen 14th and Ian 17th – little did we know how well we had done until later in the evening.

Next up it was our Aussie ringer Sarah in the ladies wave and she also put in a sterling effort to finish in 26:39 & 43rd female overall.

‘Reeeeeeaaaader’ was shouted in much to the amusement of the amassed crowds and it was he bare shoulders that we spotted as he powered down the home straight, the though of a beer pushing him on! 26:04 for a goalkeeper – good work chap….

Completing the line up was Mark and Christina, Mark put in a 27:04 to be in 100 / 748 over all and 21st in the open category. Christina was positively beaming when she exited the water and exclaimed I loved that – and so she should 250th overall / 748 and a strong time of 32:15

Full results can be found here: https://henleyswim.niftyentries.com/Results/Club-to-Pub-2019#

But the best was yet to come!!!! Ian was hanging round the prize giving and the announcement for the best club was due, combined time of the top four swimmers from the same club. Since the events inception in 2014 Reading and taken home the trophy – put not this year its going North – yes PAROGON are champions!!!

We will be back to defend our title and we can not leave without a shout out to our supporters on the day – Mr President, Jill, Nicky and the amassed Cartwright kids shouting us all in……

(Spence was camera shy!)

SamRossDavis Memorial Trophy Water Polo Match

The pool was very busy on Sunday afternoon with over 70 people turning up as spectators or participants for the water polo.

There were three interesting but very different games taking place, with mini polo (under 10s), the juniors (under 14s) and finally  the annual old boys fixture for the SamRossDavis trophy.

This was donated many years ago as a way of remembering two prominent figures in Parogon Water Polo history….Sam Ross and Ross Davis.

A number of former players brought their children for their first experience of the game, with young Myers, Wills and Pickford prominent. In addition, there were the slightly older Whieldon and Ibbs.

The games were competitive and enjoyed by all and inevitably they were followed by a few drinks in the Museum  pub with lots of reminiscing and ‘what if’ tales.

Thanks to Mark Ibbs for organising and to Geoff Kirkham and Tony Simms for helping on the day and throughout the season.

The junior water polo sessions are now on their summer break but hopefully we will see the large numbers return in mid September