'I crossed that finish line feeling like a bit of a broken mess' - Triathlete Blick on his first full Ironman in Italy

Hastings & Rother Triathlon Club members at the Swim Serpentine event (above), Andrew Blick with his finishers medal at the Ironman event in Italy (below), and Paul Harris and Ross Garnett (inset)
Hastings & Rother Triathlon Club members at the Swim Serpentine event (above), Andrew Blick with his finishers medal at the Ironman event in Italy (below), and Paul Harris and Ross Garnett (inset)

Hastings & Rother Triathlon Club members tackled endurance events at home and abroad.

Andrew Blick took on his first full Ironman in Italy, which involved a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a 26.2-mile run.

Blick, a local paramedic, said: “Thirteen hours and eight minutes later I crossed that finish line feeling like a bit of a broken mess.

“But the feeling of pain and exhaustion was short lived when crossing that line knowing that I could call myself an Ironman and finished one of my toughest ever challenges.”

Blick completed the initial sea swim quicker than expected, despite being stung by jelly fish a couple of times.

SEE ALSO Hastings & Rother ace wins national age group title | Triathletes tackle world and UK competitions
Although the bike course was reasonably flat with one steep climb on each of the two loops, there was a strong headwind in both directions and the searing 29-degree heat was very challenging. A lot of the professional triathletes suffered and many people were stretchered away.

The sun was still beating down during the four-lap marathon run, although thankfully it was a flat course. At this point it was a matter of somehow getting to the finish line for Blick in the hardest part of the race for him.

Gail Wright, Bill Darby and Dean Skelton, meanwhile, took part in the Swim Serpentine event at Hyde Park in London.

The Hastings & Rother Triathlon Club trio were among the 60,000 people who entered the open water event which consisted of either a half-mile, one-mile, two-mile or six-mile swim.

The team swam two miles along with friends Paul Bennett and Kimberly Kempster, who competed in the one-mile event. Wright and Kempster came in the top 10 for their age groups.

Club head coach Paul Harris and Ross Garnett took on Ironman Weymouth 70.3.

The swim was reduced from 1,900m to 950m due to the bad weather, while the bike was challenging - not because of the 3,200 feet in climbing, but the wind, rain and cold. The wind continued to blow during the run, but eventually the sun made an appearance.

Garnett finished in an impressive time of five hours and 18 minutes, which placed him 40th in the 35-39 age group, 284th male and 314th overall out of 1,933. Harris finished in 5:25 - 46th in the 35-39 age group, 362nd male and 398th overall.