Double success in Europe
Zoe retains title in Venice
After being sidelined for 10 weeks with a stress response in her Tibia, Zoe only had 5 weeks to train for the European Masters Athletics Championships in Venice. A late decision to compete in the W40 800 and 1500 meters was taken. The latter a title she wanted to defend from Aarhus 2017.
As there was no heat, Zoe went straight into the 1500m final on Friday. This created a slow, tactical race with Zoe taking up a wide position and progressively moved to the front of the field. Zoe describes “I knew when I went to the front others would be following. I went at 300m and gradually built up speed over each 100m until I got to the final bend and changed gear again.” Two athletes from Spain followed Zoe but she was clear for the win and retained her 1500m title.
Four days later and Zoe raced in the 800m heats with number one seed Denise Toner from Ireland. Zoe ran behind Denise to gain automatic qualification to the final in a time of 2:18:00. However, the final did not go to plan. Zoe was boxed in from 300-450m and had to slow her race down to then chase the leaders. Zoe describes “I worked hard but had too much to do to get back to them. I almost made it to third and threw myself at the line but came 4th by 0.08 seconds.” Despite the setback, Zoe recorded an impressive personal best of 2.14.35. “The race had not gone to plan but I had given it everything and I was proud of that. Although I have not achieved the PBs I set myself for this season I am still ending my season on a high.”
Zoe is now ranked #1 in the country for both W40 1500m and 800m, a great achievement. She now starts her cross-training over the winter, with her new goal of personal bests in the 1500 and 800m at the European Indoors in Braga and the World Outdoors in Canada.
You can follow Zoe’s journey through her Instagram account: @zoelouisedoylemasterathlete
Nigel excels in first Ironman
Nigel has a long list of sporting achievements to his name in swimming and aquathlon, but an Ironman would be a first and another challenge altogether. Nigel says: “I went into this race with no real target other than finishing and having those famous words called out as I ran down the red carpet, ‘You are an Ironman’”. Nigel took on the Ironman in Barcelona, featuring a 2.4-mile sea swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run to the finish.
Beginning with his forte, a 2.4-mile sea swim through the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea, beginning and ending on the beach of Calella. Nigel exited the water 2nd in his age group with a time of 53:02, positioning him 51st overall. The 112-mile bike leg would be the further Nigel has ridden. “I then just dug deep and had my best bike ride ever. 1st 56 miles completed in 2:30:29 then I negative split the ride completing the last 56 miles in 2:30:18”. A negative bike split in your first ironman! The final transition led to the 26.2-mile, marathon to the finish line. Nigel started off well but knew he had to slow his pace if he was to finish. The two pit stops he took as he passed transition helped along the way for a run time of 3:36:00, and an incredible 9:35:56 finishing time, 31st in his age group. Nigel was happy to tick off his achievements in reflection:
– 1st ever Ironman
– 1st time I’ve ever cycled 100 miles
– 1st time I’ve ever cycled 112 miles
– 2nd fastest swim in my age group
– negative split my bike leg
– 1st marathon I’ve run in 5 years
– 1st time I’ve visited Barcelona
– 1st ever Ironman finishers medal
– Would I do an Ironman again?
You can follow Nigel’s journey through his Instagram account: @n.gaskin