Friday, October 02, 2009

THE 'WILL' TO WIN: WILL WRIGHT'S BIG BEN NEVIS TRIATHLON

Above: a happy Will Wright about two hours after completing the Big Ben Nevis Triathlon

How do you fancy this for a challenge? Under the foreboding shadow of Ben Nevis, endure a 1.9km loch swim in the icy waters of Loch Linnhe, a 90km mountain bike ride and a 21km run up, and then back down the slopes of Ben Nevis, the UK's highest and most awe inspiring mountain.

What kind of a madman - sorry, athlete - would have the mental and physical stamina to undertake such a challenge?

Step forward Tiree's Will Wright. What made his participation all the more remarkable (and worrying for his support team of wife Becky and friends Joe and Gordon) was that Will was suffering from a touch of bronchitis. As the team gathered before 5am around the breakfast table at Glen Nevis Camp Site, their faces faintly illuminated in the darkness by a camping light, the team silently pondered whether this was a race too far for Will.

After all preparations for Will's transitions between laps and events the swim started at 7am. The support team would not have been surprised if Will had called a halt after coming out of the water. Perhaps they might even have been relieved. However, to their surprise and delight Will emerged from Loch Linnhe looking strong and determined in a time of 31:10.

On to the the mountain bike stage of the triathlon. Beginning with an awesome climb out of the transition area in Fort William each lap of the course took most competitors well over an hour to complete. Throughout his four laps Will maintained a high turnover, completing each lap in an approximate average of 01:06.00.

Then it was on to the most demanding and perhaps downright scary part of the triathlon - a run up and down Ben Nevis. Another worrying aspect of this run was that the weather was very changeable and the top of the Ben was shrouded in mist. But there was no turning back now as far as Will was concerned.

To cut a long and arduous story short, Will completed the run in 03:06:09.

Will Wright, suffering from bronchitis and perhaps under-prepared because of his illness, came in 9th out of 54 athletes who managed to finished, in an overall time (which includes transition times between events) of 08:23:45.

Next year Will hopes to take part in the Iron Man race at Bolton. The Iron Man Series is the ultimate triathlon and Will his confident he can do well after his performance at the Big Ben Nevis Triathlon.

Well done Will!

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