Welland – My First Half Ironman, by Josh Hagan

Four years ago, I ran my first 5km race. I played squash competitively, but realized one day that despite being relatively fit on a squash court, I probably couldn’t run 5km straight. So, as I often do, I set a goal, worked at it and achieved it. On Sunday, I completed my first Half Ironman Distance triathlon in Welland. It’s really interesting that despite the massive gap in time and distance between those two races, I find that the satisfaction in completing both goals is very similar. With that said, the sense of accomplishment that I feel at completing that distance is almost indescribable.

 

Multisport Canada always puts on a great event and it helped that Sunday was a beautiful day in Welland. The canal was warm and I found the swim to be quite enjoyable. It was my first mass start, so it was an interesting experience starting with 400 other people. The “mass start” drill we did in winter swim training definitely helped!

 

As advertised, the course was extremely flat.  The ride had one small hill, which was a pleasant surprise after 60km. The roads were well maintained, so we were able to go pretty quick. There was a small stretch that took us along Lake Erie, which was my favourite part of the ride because it was so scenic. I found the weather to be absolutely perfect for the race.  It was sunny during the swim and ride and it clouded over during my run, which was nice.

 

Welland was full of firsts for me – first Half Ironman, first ride over 75km and first half marathon! That said, I found myself feeling good for almost the entire race. I did struggle in the last 5km of the run, but overall I was quite happy with my race. I was targeting 6h 30m and finished in 6h 32m. I’ll take it!

 

The Welland race weekend was well attended by TCoB. A number of people did the Sprint or Give-it-a-Tri on Saturday and even more participated in the Half on Sunday. Being my first Half, it was really great having so many supportive teammates there. In particular, I’d like to thank Peter Cook.  As mentioned, I really struggled in the last 5km and he ran with me, giving up a better time so I could finish faster. Thanks, Peter! It felt so good to cross the finish line in the company of such great athletes in our club. It’s been quite a journey getting here – from 330lbs to a Half Ironman. But I’ll save that story for next time…

 

Josh Hagan

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