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Monday 30 January 2023

Copenhagen Ironman: Mermaids, Melty helmets & Farting at the Supporters

I squinted at the marshal. I could see there WAS a marshal there because he was waving his hand, but I couldn’t see which direction he was pointing. In fact, EVERYTHING was a bit blurry. This wasn’t good. I’d managed 105 miles without falling off the bike which was 98 miles farther than I'd managed in the last Ironman but if I couldn’t see where I was going, the last 7 miles were going to be a bit of a challenge. 

I got a bit closer to the marshal. “Which way?“ I asked. The orange plastic fencing marking the course route was blurred together and I couldn’t see the way through. He waved more energetically. 

Um … that's not helping.

Then I spotted another cyclist about 50 metres down the road. Maybe it was because he was moving but I could see him against the blurry background. Right. Keep him in sight. I stayed far enough back so I wasn’t drafting but close enough so I could see where he turned. Ok. Just a few miles to go. This is manageable. Just don’t lose sight of that cyclist! I'd have to hope he didn't have a massive burst of energy near the end and sprint off out of sight! 

… A few days earlier ...

As I dragged the enormous bike box across the pavements of Copenhagen, I realised that despite my best intentions I’d overpacked. I’d heard that Copenhagen was very expensive so as well as a bike and the tools to reassemble it, the bike box also contained enough food to feed a family of 6. For about 2 weeks. And feed their friends. And their pets. 

And the bike box kept falling over. I’d nearly taken out a toddler, several cyclists and an elderly lady with a small and grumpy dog. All of whom now had a fear of suitcases. And idiotic tourists who overpack.

This was not good. My husband was puffing along behind me, dragging two more enormous suitcases and my daughter also had two hand luggage cases. If we didn’t want to have to drag this back to the airport on the way home, we were going to have to eat a LOT.

It was going to be a challenge. But I’m never one to back down from a challenge. Particularly not a snack-related challenge.

At least the suitcase and bike had arrived at the right airport after all the recent horror stories of missing luggage. I’d invested in some AirTags and tagged everything. Although rather than peace of mind, it had caused more stress due to the tracking signals bouncing around and showing in the wrong terminal, the wrong plane and at one particularly stressful moment after we’d taken off, still in the airport.

However, it had all arrived. At the right place, the right time and undamaged. 

My friends, Laura and Rich were both also racing Ironman Copenhagen and had brought family and friends and by some miracle, they and all their luggage had also all made it over unscathed.

When we finally got to the apartment it was bigger than I’d expected and was light and airy. 13yo was ecstatic to have her own room and there was plenty of space for me to pile up the enormous amounts of kit I’d brought without blocking out the light or accidentally burying family members.

Kit and bike were racked on Saturday afternoon which reduced the piles a bit more. I was using a brand-new helmet though due to my bright idea of removing race numbers from the old one with hand sanitiser. DON'T do this. It bleaches the helmet and makes everything a bit melty. An expensive lesson. And a melty one.

But if anyone wants to buy a melty time trial helmet, I may be able to fix you up.

Don't use hand sanitiser!

The morning of the race meant a 0500hrs alarm and I met Rich at one of the metro stations on the way to the start. I'd not had the best night’s sleep as Copenhagen was celebrating Pride weekend and the fireworks had been going off until 0100hrs. I told myself that it was just an early celebration for me for finishing Ironman Copenhagen. I did, however, very much need the very strong coffee I bought on the way.

I’d booked the bike in with a mechanic in Copenhagen a couple of days before the race but despite it only being 3 miles from my apartment, I’d managed to get totally lost in the city centre. My Garmin map looked like a bird’s nest. Thank goodness the Ironman bike course wasn’t self-navigation … I’d end up doing 200 miles by mistake!

And I was a bit peeved to notice when I went to rack the bike, the front wheel wasn't straight. Not brilliant considering I'd paid £50 for the service. Luckily Rich sorted it!

Hopped straight into the portaloo queue in transition and it felt like the slowest queue I've ever been in. Including US customs queues. It was 45 mins before the race start and there were about 40 people in front of me … mainly blokes. This wasn’t good news as if it was a wee, they’d be watering the bushes. I was very much hoping for toilet paper and a non-stinky portaloo … but it wasn’t looking good! I whispered a quick prayer to the Poo Fairy and luckily made it in and out before the start!

Out of the loo and I popped on my green swim cap and got into the wetsuit. This is a like an aerobics session in rubber and involves odd sound effects and strange face pulling.  I still haven't mastered the art of zipping my suit up without aid so asked a passing triathlete who I found out was called Drew. He was doing his first Ironman and had only learned front crawl this year.  

I saw my buddy, Zoe in the swim. Zoe Forman is a multiple ironman and we always seem to meet each other in wetsuits! I don’t think I've ever seen her in normal clothes and probably wouldn’t recognise her if I did. We got chatting and 10 minutes in, I realised there were no other green hats left in the swim warmup as they were all in the start pen! Hopped out of the water and joined the back of the queue and tried not to panic. I saw Laura outside, while I was waiting in my time pen as she was pulling her white cap on, looking a bit worried as Kim and Loren sorted out her wetsuit. I tried to catch her eye to say good luck, but she didn’t see me. 

Penned up and slowly inching my way towards the inflatable start barrier, I tried to have a wee in my wetsuit. It's an important part of triathlon and just like swim, bike and run, you need practise, it’s harder under race conditions and the pros can do it at top speed. I, however, while practised am neither a pro nor very good at weeing while surrounded by hundreds of people without a door between me and them. Even if THEY'RE all weeing too. The damp sand underfoot was a testament to that. I was finally getting started when I heard my name and saw my family frantically shouting my name and waving. Nothing like that to put you off. Never mind. Will have to try and wee in the swim.

We were set off in groups of 5 which was really good as it reduced the chances of getting a) kicked in the face again, b) getting wee-ed on by the person in front, c) getting swum over by the overenthusiastic triathlete behind me who has forgotten in the excitement of being allowed to do an ironman that people aren't water. We're not WATER, Kevin! 

I followed some feet for a bit. They looked like corpse feet, white and wrinkly. I would have believed they belonged to a dead owner if not for the fact they were swimming quicker than me. Typical. Even dead people are quicker than me in the swim. However, the owner of the feet did eventually slow down a bit (may they front-crawl in peace) so I overtook them, struck out on own and found some more feet. A bit less corpse-y. These also slowed down too much so I swam the long straight on my own. This isn't recommended as when you draft someone (or their feet at least) you can save about 30% energy, so you have to balance this with getting the time you want. I did seem to be overtaking a lot of people which was very weird for me. But I ignored that oddity and just cracked on and waited for some quick feet to come past that I could hop on and draft. 

It was very easy to see where I was going on this swim course as the buoys were enormous and all orange or yellow and there were no swim caps those colours! Quite often events will have red buoys and red swim caps, so you end up chasing swimmers instead of sighting on the buoys. Very frustrating. Particularly if they're also shit at sighting so you end up following their zigzags.

The swim course went under two bridges which meant supporters could come and shout encouragement at you. Or throw things if you'd made them get up particularly early and they were grumpy about it. The turnaround point was just after the second bridge but due to the very hot summer, the water was weedy and barely a foot deep. I almost had a heart attack when I saw figures walking. It was like a scene from The Walking Dead with people rising out of the lake covered in weed and lurching through the water. I didn't try it. It wasn't really in the spirit of the 'swim' section and plus I'm only 5'4 … it would probably be tougher for me to try and wade than to swim!

The swim went so quickly. I had expected it to be awful. Swimming was the weakest part of my triathlon, but the water was warm, I was feeling fresh and I was at the start of a very exciting adventure! The only downside was that I could feel a chafe on the back of my neck … and I'd felt it from about 500m (less than 1/7 of the way through the swim!). I'd been swimming in this wetsuit all summer with no problems, no chafing and yet as soon as I start my A-race I get a nasty scrape, right on the back of my neck where the sun will hit it on the bike. Well, not much I could do now.

Coming up to the final part of the swim, just turning into shore and bam …. my left calf locked up. Marvellous. Thanks leg. Stopped to try and ease it out but every time I pointed my toes it would set in again, so swam with my left foot stuck out like I was trying to hail a passing boat! Oh well. Can't fix it, so just get it done!

Ran into transition, ditched the wetsuit, goggles and hat and stuffed them into my plastic transition bag and pulled my helmet, sunglasses, bike shoes, socks and number out. Everything in bag and bag hung back up on the numbered hook and I ran towards my bike. Transition is dead time. The clock doesn't stop, so I needed to get on my bike as soon as possible. I don't need to be fannying around sitting down and drying my feet. There was plenty of time to sit down on the bike!

I was worried I’d feel knackered after such a long swim, but it was refreshing. One of my favourite swims ever. Warm, easy to sight and no waves!! Couldn't believe I'd enjoyed a 3.8km swim. Quite clearly, I'd lost my mind.


I ran my bike out of transition by holding the saddle and she behaved perfectly, and I hopped on just after the mount line. 

I'd packed mini flapjack bars, pick n mix sweets and salt tablets for my bike snacks which I'd been practising with all summer. In my bottles were orange squash and the M:X drink that I rely on. I shoved some pick'n'mix into my face to take away the saltwater taste of the lagoon. Yum! Fizzy straws and sour cherries!

The roads in Copenhagen were great – certainly put Warwickshire to shame! - but not as good as the cycle paths! Denmark is the only country I’ve been to where the cycle paths are better than the roads! Definitely a country with its priorities straight!

The first 10 miles of the bike course went through the city so there were a lot of twists and turns and a ‘No Passing Point’ on a narrow cycle route. I slowed down here as I was caught behind people and wasn't allowed to overtake. However, I was a bit peeved that a couple of people behind me ignored this and overtook me. 

There was a section over cobbles … eek! Not quite Paris Roubaix! But unexpected, nevertheless. I also discovered that NOT all the kerbs were marked so I came flying out of a cycle path and took off over one! It FELT like Dukes of Hazzard … but probably looked like a speed bump. 

The coast road was smooth and flat with the Kattegat Sea sparkling on my right and I looked out for the Little Mermaid statue for a good 10 miles until I remembered that was on the run. Oh well …. kept me occupied. Attention span of a gerbil, me. 

There was some good support and lots of people cheering with beers. I really, really wanted to be sat in a bar with a cold beer. I could definitely do better cheering if I was drinking beer. Although probably not better cycling. 

I’d had a ride out through the city with Rich a couple of days ago, an easy 20 miler to make sure nothing was going to drop off the bike after I rebuilt it after the flight - I am not a good mechanic so this was a very real possibility. I'd discovered that Denmark had incredible cycle lanes and I could tell when I'd joined the road with cars as the surface wasn't as good! Smooth and separated from the roads, the cycle lanes were a delight. However, it took me a while to discover which traffic lights were for bikes and which were for cars. On a 20 mile bike ride, I’d only spent about half a mile not on cycle lanes!

I’d changed how I set up my drinks and it was much easier. Previously I’d used the time trial bike with a torpedo bottle on the front. Pros were it was much more streamlined, could drink in aero position, save some watts. Cons - couldn’t see when it was empty, difficult to refill without stopping the bike and couldn’t just grab a drinks bottle and go from aid station 

Grabbing a drink was much easier when I could just slot it into a bottle cage - no refilling needed - literally just grab and go. It was much less stressful plus my bike accident at Barcelona Ironman had happened when trying to fuel on the move. Anything that meant less chance of broken bones was a bonus!

The on-course nutrition was Gatorade and I switched to this when the orange squash and M:X ran out. I’ve heard mixed things about Gatorade for race hydration, but personally I really rate it for bike rides and who doesn’t want blue urine? There were branded Copenhagen Ironman bottles on the course, but they contained only water. I really wanted a bottle - and didn’t want to pay for one at the expo so grabbed one near the end even though I didn’t want water. Nice to have a souvenir … and a bragging bottle for future bike rides! 

I was cycling along, looking at the sea sparkling, feeling good and thinking “I haven’t fallen off the bike this time” but then my sensible side cut in and said “YET! So keep concentrating!” I’d managed to crash my bike about 12 miles into Barcelona Ironman which had made for a bit of a sore day out … if I stayed on the bike today then I’d be ecstatic!

I’m very careful about not drafting. I think drafting is cheating and I find the most stressful thing about bike sections in a triathlon is having to fanny about keeping out of drafting zones when the routes are busy. I just want to get on with cycling without having to constantly slow down, speed up! 

Despite being careful, I got a whistle blown at me by an official on a motorbike as he thought I was taking too long to overtake. Bloody hell I’ve got 25 seconds and I’m halfway through an Ironman … let me use my time, you cheeky sod. 

About 30 miles in, I got snot rocketed on by some bellend in front of me. Thanks buddy. I’ve already got a chafe on my neck and now I have bogies on my leg. Maybe it was because of the sea water my left nostril kept streaming too. But only the left. Perhaps I have an evil nostril and a good nostril. 

However, I was still able to avoid covering fellow triathletes in mucus. 

I had a saddle sore from lots of cycling miles this year, which wouldn’t clear up. For first 15 miles it was excruciating - I felt nauseous with pain when the saddle touched it, like I’d throw up. Think the combination of wet kit from the swim and less chamois cream meant it wasn’t as protected as before. Luckily, I knew it wasn’t as bad as it felt and on the second lap I didn’t really feel it. Maybe that’s because everything else was starting to hurt and drown it out.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to matter how careful I am with kit, saddle and chamois cream combinations, I can’t seem to avoid them as soon as my mileage ramps up and it’s a case of managing them. 

The second part of the bike loop went through the Danish countryside and it was more rolling and agricultural. I’d brought my road bike over for the Ironman and was glad I had, as the people around me on time trial bikes had a tougher time once we were off the smooth flatter coastal roads. I found this section of the course was like a rolling version of Warwickshire but with much better road surfaces. It was also really pretty, and I enjoyed having a mini tour of Denmark outside the city! 

Benefits of doing an event with friends is that I get to see them and their supporters on the route! Kim and Loren were waiting halfway up to cheer on the only real hill on the course and they did some EPIC shouting! It felt like a Tour de France moment with crowded roadsides and spectators in the road cheering the bikes onwards! What a moment!!

The hill had been built up in the race chat by previous competitors as an absolute mountain – there was even a video of it on the Ironman Facebook page and people worrying over it. And when I got there it was tiny! The spectators buoyed you up it on a wave of enthusiasm but it was over within probably 30 seconds!

The chafe on the back of my neck was now sunburned which didn’t improve how it felt but what was feeling worse were my toes. And they were insanely sore. I’d had this in Barcelona (but not in my usual 100-mile bike rides) and I’d had to stop to massage them out. I was determined not to stop and tried to take my foot out of bike shoes on a flat section but decided that this was a very stupid idea. Particularly if I didn’t want to end up in a heap on the road like at Barcelona. I just had to suck it up and hope it went off. Which it eventually did after about 30 more miles. It wasn’t like cramp but as though they were being squeezed. I’d bought some extra wide bike shoes after Barcelona to solve this issue but turns out that wasn’t enough. Not sure what the problem is. Maybe I’ll just have to anticipate it and ignore it. 

My shoulders got a bit tight due to positioning but as I was on the road bike had 3 positions to choose from, aero bars, hoods and drops which was good.  The bike had no mechanical issues apart from a bit of a tick and a squeak which developed at about 70 miles. It sounded a bit like I had a gerbil on a treadmill assisting the pedals. I’ll take that. Any help appreciated! Cheers gerbil.

I had kept an eye out on lap one to see where the turn-in point was to head back into the city after the second lap but didn’t spot it. Needn’t have worried though as it was well signposted. Lap two was over quickly - they always seem to be a bit quicker as by the second lap you have an idea of where you’re going!

I’d felt fairly comfortable on the bike despite toes, shoulders, chafe and constantly streaming nostril but when I came into the city my eyesight started playing up. I don’t know whether it was being in the same position for so long but adjusting didn’t seem to help.

I couldn’t see things properly that weren’t moving so couldn’t see where to go when the marshals pointed the way on the way back into the city. I had to keep another cyclist in front as I could pick out the movement but couldn’t see STILL things. Like I could see the netting and the tape but couldn’t work out the way to go between the tape or the netting. Just couldn’t distinguish it. Very, very odd. I tried coming up off the bars onto hoods as thought it might be because I’d stayed in one position too long - no difference. 

I couldn’t miss The Husband, 13yo, Gracie and Claire though who were standing at one of the final turns into the city! There was a very loud shout of “Sarah!” Followed by some most excellent and very loud cheering! Amazing to see them! And definitely gave me a boost! 

I made it into the city by keeping the cyclist ahead just within sight but not within drafting distance so I could follow the movement and work out where to go. It was extremely disconcerting not being able to focus on anything to the point the course and the buildings were blending into each other. I was very relieved when the crowds got denser heralding the ‘Bike In’ transition and the transition arch came into sight!  


I came into the transition and had to wait for a volunteer to take my bike to rack it for me as they were doing assisted racking. Not ideal as I REALLY needed a wee! At least it’s proof I’m hydrating. Would have tried to do a Chrissie Wellington and go on the bike but it’s much more difficult than you’d expect! Plus, the cyclists behind get a bit cross.

My eyesight seemed to be improving now I was off the bike, but my brain was scrambled. I struggled finding my run bag as I was completely unable to count along to find my race number. My primary school teacher would have been horrified.

I sat on a bench to exchange my bike shoes and helmet for my trainers and my visor and toppled over backwards as the bench tipped backwards! Managed to just about save myself by windmilling my arms. Graceful, Sarah, graceful.

I was so bloody glad to be off that bike. 

The chafe from the swim on the back of my neck was now pretty nasty and it had matted up in my hair. Delightful. I probably smelled dreadful too. AND I still had the run to do! Never mind. At least there were no time penalties for smelling like an arse.

I shoved a couple of bits of pick n mix in my mouth and walked out of transition munching that. I had salt tablets and gels in my trisuit pockets which were bulging out like hamster cheeks and my eyesight appeared to be back to normal. Just a bit of a trot and a snack and I was done and dusted! Two-thirds of an ironman done!

The first lap of the run is always toughest as you don’t know where you’re going or how it’ll feel. I struck out onto the streets lined with spectators and picked up my first lap band about 1 mile from the start which felt far too early. It was a long old run then out through the streets of Copenhagen to the great big cruise ship ‘Silver Moon’ and the turnaround point. I’d be running out to here 4 times, each lap just under 8 miles.

However, the worst part about this was that turnaround point was right by an ice cream shop. The course planners were clearly sadists. I would have ADORED a nice cold ice cream. 

I’d even have adored a melted ice cream someone had dropped onto the pavement.

It was a very picturesque run which passed THREE castles and the Little Mermaid statue. Just like every tourist, I was surprised by how small she was. We passed the Gefion Fountains which were absolutely stunning and very tempting to hop into on the warm day! Just a quick splash around, wouldn’t hurt, surely?

I’d probably have got penalty points for pollution, though.

The fountains were by a beautiful church which was next to the steepest uphill on the course, but it was over so quickly and the cheering of the crowd of supporters nearby gave you a boost up the hill. 

I saw The Husband and 13yo and Gracie and Claire by the fountain on the run which was brilliant. Heard them before I saw them which was a wonderful boost! Also saw Rich at the turnaround as I was coming up to lap 2 and he was going well. Looked strong and form was decent. 

I saw Rich again at the next turnaround and he looked less happy. In fact, he looked positively grumpy. He looked a bit like Rich when we go for morning bike rides and he hasn’t had coffee. I decided the only option was to pass him quickly and try not to get bitten. And then wave at him next time from the safety of a barrier in the middle of the route. 

I didn’t see Laura which was a bit concerning as I thought I’d see her at the turnarounds. Didn’t see Kim or Loren either which made me a bit worried that something had happened. Hopefully I’d just been missing her in the tunnels and looped sections.

The run route was a mix of tarmac, roads, cobbles and a bit of very gentle trail. It was almost entirely flat apart from a couple of very short rises but all of it was runnable even after 112 miles on the bike. I had decided to walk every aid station to break it up and while I fuelled. This strategy worked well as whenever I felt a bit tired or rough, I just had to remind myself I had a walk break in 2km. It was a good mental boost. 

It was such a nice feeling to be 2/3 done of an Ironman! I do percentages in my head to pass the time on long runs … 3 miles that’s an 8th done. (I work on 24 miles in a marathon as more divisible and 2 miles is nothing right?) and it breaks the time up. Also, I have a gel every 3 miles, so I just counted down to the next 3 mile marker I needed to remember and the time went really quickly. I need to break long runs up as they’re too much mentally otherwise. And clearly too much for my dodgy maths …!

I had a few chats on the run with other triathletes but we were all concentrating on our own races so no in-depth conversations or philosophical musings shared. I ran with an Irish gent for a bit and an English chap, but you lose people and pick them up quickly. You have to run at your own pace in a long event, it’s not worth going at someone else’s for the sake of a snatched conversation which consists mainly of snack and portaloo chat!

There were orange slices on the aid stations so grabbed one of them every now and then - it was absolutely delicious, and the sour sweetness was a real treat. 

Lots of kids were asking for high fives.  I tried to avoid them as I was covered in snot, sweat and probably whatever I accidentally touched on the wall of the last portaloo but a few kids jumped right out in front of me so I was forced into high-fiving them. I hope their parents disinfected them when they got home. 

There was a Rammstein section on the run complete with loud sound system and moshing from the volunteers who probably ended up with as many steps as me. There were lots of great music sections which really cheered me up and moved my legs along. It’s surprising how much difference some support and some decent tunes can do, even when you’re really REALLY tired. Although I DID get Rick rolled. *facepalm* 

The marshals were ace and the supporters loud and enthusiastic. The ones with beers in their hands even more so. However, the more beer they drank, the more their eyesight was impaired. My name was on my vest and depending on the volume of beer, I was cheered along as Shara, Susan AND  Saran as well as Sarah. Meh. Who’s fussy! So long as they’re shouting for ME! 

I could rely on some excellent loud cheering from The Husband and 13yo and not only had they decorated the apartment with balloons and Denmark flags for me, they were holding a sign; ‘Sarah Booker- Ironman!’ – which was shaken enthusiastically every time I came around the corner by the fountains.

Another favourite sign was ‘FORWARD IS A PACE’. Which really rings true in the marathon at the end of an Ironman. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. Just don’t give up. 

And don’t fart.

I don’t trust farts in a marathon … and certainly not after having a bit of a swim and a bike ride first. And it was just as well. Popped into a portaloo ‘just in case’ and very glad I did. No-one wants the ‘I Trusted a Fart And Lost’ look in their race photos. Certainly not on the red-carpet pics. 

Annoyingly I had to make 3 portaloo stops. Not sure whether it was the heat, dramatic amounts of pick’n’mix or just all day out in the sun but it’s one of those things although the time adds up … particularly if you have to queue! And just like last time, I dropped a gel … although thankfully not down the Hole of Doom so was all “5 second rule!!” And stuck it back in my pocket. 

A couple of hours into the run, a few of the aid stations ran out of water. This is not good. This is about 9 hours into a very long race and included the double-sided aid stations unable to supply water for runners which is pretty awful. However, the volunteers tried their best and were chopping empty 2 litre cola bottles in half and filling them with water from a hosepipe.  We all shared the cola bottle cups. By this point in the event we all needed hydration and weren’t too precious about germs. The cups were replenished about an hour later, but we all had a couple of miles without anything. 

Walking along shoving orange slices into my face, left nostril like a tap, chafe on the back of my neck like a red slice, covered in flies and someone else’s bogies, I thought “Bet my husband is glad he married a catch like me.” *Wipes snot*

Someone waved and cheered me, I smiled and said thanks and then farted at them. By mistake. It was as much as a surprise to me as it was to them.

Sorry. I hope it didn’t put you off cheering. 

It was a 4-lap course on the run. 4 laps feels a lot so I told myself that I just had to collect the lap bands from the south part of the course, take them to the North part to show the Little Mermaid and then run back to collect another until I had 4, show that one to the mermaid and then I could finish. You had to run next to the finish arch on one of the turnaround sections. Mental games pass the time.

To add to my list of chafes, I also managed to get chafing off the ankle band which holds the timing chip on. I had no blisters which was a bit of a miracle with my ironman shuffle, but my toenails hurt. Managed sunburn despite all-day suncream and temps only hitting 24*c but a long time out in the sunshine. First world problems. I had PAID to do this to myself.

I saw Coach Chris Weeks towards the end of my race. He’d raced Copenhagen himself today and smashed in a podium place! I wasn’t expecting to see him, so it was nice to get a loud cheer! I did manage to avoid farting at him, so there was that. 

The last half of the marathon seemed to pass quickly despite my plodding. It’s amazing what the inspiration of a cold beer will do after being cheered on by so many people holding them all day. I managed to speed up a bit on the last lap despite needing another toilet stop at the thought of that cold beer.

Pleased with managing a decent pace coming up towards the finish … and then there was that distinct rumble that no distance runner ignores. Bother. Back in the portaloo then. Goodbye decent pace! 

Back out of the portaloo and coming up to the finish, my race number broke. De ja vu. I’d managed to do exactly the same thing last year. I bit a hole in the bib and shoved the race belt through the hole to hold the bib on. MacGyver’ed it! With my actual teeth.

Up through the town for the last time, over the bridge and cobbles and up to the church tower and onto the red carpet! It was finally my turn after passing that turnaround 4 times! The noise was INCREDIBLE and the cheering was intense! It was my turn to run to the finish line underneath the cathedral. I fist pumped the sky … this is it! My turn on the red carpet!!

Slowing down on the red carpet for a second to give the chap in front his moment and I finally ran under that famous arch and heard the words “SARAH BOOKER – YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”

The heavy medal hung around my neck, with my time engraved on it was the first time I saw the time I’d earned for Ironman Copenhagen.

12 hours 1 minute 47 seconds.

Turns out I run quicker with broken ribs than an upset stomach. And looks like I’ll have to go back again for that sub-12 …

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