Spring Challenges Prepared Sqn Ldr Penny Grayson for Tough ‘OUTLAW IRONMAN’ Endurance Test.
Earlier this year, I set my goal to complete three tough endurance challenges for 2011. Name the FIVE BIG MARATHONS – well, there is London, Paris, New York, and the Berlin Marathon and I’ve run them all. But not the Boston race… until this year!
On the 18th April 2011 I embarked on the first of the three sporting challenges for 2011, with the aim to complete the last of the ‘Big Five’ Marathons, in Boston. The Volcanic Ash cloud had scuppered my attempts in 2010 but undeterred I was determined to complete the toughest of the five marathons this year. It was not my fastest marathon but it was complete in a painful 3:50 hrs, next stop France.
The running trainers were hung up and the road bike was dusted off as I attempted to tackle the Raid Pyrenean a 720km cycling challenge from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean in 100hrs with 11,000m of ascent! The route across the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean was established in 1950 keeping as close to the Spanish border as possible on surfaced roads, not surprisingly taking in most of the big cols en route, including beasts such as the Tourmalet and Aubisque. Then, as if this was not hard enough the organisers introduced the rule that the route had to be completed within 100 hours!
On the 6th June 2011 as part a group of 12 RAF Officers we tackled the 18 Cols across the Pyrenees. From the sunny beach near Biarritz to the somewhat cooler seas of the Mediterranean the team battled through a variety of weather conditions from sunshine to freezing rain over five gruelling days and 99 hours whilst raising money for the Everyman Male Cancer Charity.
Nothing can explain the physical and mental challenge that we faced over the gruelling five days, but the sense of achievement was overwhelming when our feet finally hit the seas of the Mediterranean.
With a marathon and a cycling epic behind me I thought that it would be a great idea to put that training together and enter the Outlaw Ironman Triathlon in July this year. So the training continues with the inclusion of open water swimming in the bid to complete a 3.8km swim, 112 mile bike and a Marathon.
Wish me luck!!