As the 2017 season peters out in a welter of Atlantic depressions thoughts inevitably turn to 2018. I still have a sportive to do this year before I finally bring down the curtain on a bit of a strange season for me, but it hasn’t stopped me from flexing the plastic and getting 2018 organised. Over the past few years in particular I have missed out on entry into events by letting them sell out. I’m not going to do that this time around.
The big decision I made for 2018 was not to do an Ironman. That’s not say I’ve finished with Ironman, far from it, but having done one a year for the last three years meant that I wanted to step off the treadmill for a while. I also want to experience Ironman from the other side of the fence, cheering my club mates on from the sidelines on COLT Alley next July. I’ll probably return to long distance racing in 2019.
So which races to choose? Some enforced changes have taken place: there will be no Ironman 70.3 UK at Wimbleball, a race I wanted to return to, and my favourite Olympic distance race, Bala, is no more. So far, I’ve entered 3 races:
- Grizedale Trail Half Marathon in February – I’ve done this excellent trail race twice but have also missed out twice by leaving my entry too late. No danger this time around, my entry is in.
- Southport Olympic Distance – this is building up into one of the premier Olympic distance races in the country and I’ve enjoyed racing here twice before (despite my time penalty last year!). I missed out this year as the race sold out. I’m on the entry list for 2018.
- Deva Standard Distance – just two weeks after Southport comes the northwest’s other main standard distance. I’ve not done this race before but plenty of friends have done it and recommend it, so I’m in.
What else to do? There’s the big ITU triathlon in Leeds. I could make a return to Windsor, as that’s been on my bucket list for a while. I could cast my net further afield and have a tilt at European Tri Championships qualifying in St Neots or Arundel. I’ve never tried the age group qualification thing before but next year I’ll move into the 55-59 age group, so if I can stay injury free I might have an outside chance. I’d have to beat my Olympic Distance PB to get anywhere near, which, as I get older will be a big ask.
My big ambition for 2018, though, is to race in my mum’s hometown in Northern Spain. For the last couple of years they’ve held a standard distance and middle distance triathlon in Llanes, Asturias in September and I’ve already had confirmation that they’re holding the event again in 2018. The area boasts superb, clean beaches, a stunning mountainous backdrop and great seafood. being in late September the holiday makers will have headed home, but the sea will be warm and flights to Asturias or Bilbao will be cheap. The middle distance course is tough – plenty of hill reps sessions will be needed. I’m keeping an eye on the website for when they announce the race date and open entries…