Linton man one of 60 to complete gruelling Ironman challenge

Dean Godfrey triathlon

Dean Godfrey triathlon - Credit: Archant

A 50-year-old man from Linton spent over 14 hours swimming, cycling and running in this year’s Bastion challenge.

Dean Godfrey joined 73 others to complete the course at Hever Castle, in Kent, which saw them swim for over two miles, spend 112 miles cycling and run for 26 more; a track designed by an ex-Royal Marine.

So gruelling was the challenge that over ten people dropped out throughout the day, but, determined to finish, Dean crossed the finish line in 35th place out of 61 amateur athletes.

He told the Reporter: “This is the longest triathlon I have done, but it is good fun. The people who left just gave up; they had had enough. I heard some did not even make it to the run.

“On the second lap I did think, oh god, I have run out of gears, but you get used to it and I wanted to finish.

“I was trying to explain it to my colleagues; it is like when you go for a run and your legs start to hurt, but you do not want to stop because your legs hurt but because you run out of fuel basically. You run out of internal energy.”

“You either love swimming like that or you hate it, but I love it,” he said.

Most Read

“It is quite funny really, you jump in and it is like a load of people in a washing machine. It takes a while for you to find your own space, and there is the odd foot in the mouth or elbow in the ear for the first bit. And because it is a lake, you occasionally grab handfuls of mud and rotten tree bark, but it is great.”

The triathlon is not only different because of its surroundings, but also because of its relaxed atmosphere; there is no pressure of competition Dean says.

“You do not really race against others, but yourself. It can be difficult to pace yourself knowing there is so much ahead, but it does not feel like a competition. People do it just so they know they can.

“The atmosphere was great and they had a drone taking pictures from overhead – it was organised very well. I did not know anyone else there, but you feel like you are all friends together and you have a natter with people as they pass by.”

Dean took-up running as a hobby just over ten years ago in a bid to get fit, but after damaging his lower leg he switched to cycling instead. It soon healed, and, knowing he could run and cycle well, he began to look into events.

“I have always enjoyed the outdoors. My first triathlon was with the Walden Tri in 2011 and then I did a marathon in 2013. My mum said that if I could do that then I could do this.”

Finding the balance between training and family life proved harder than imagined though, and has even made Dean think twice about re-entering the Castle Triathlon Series.

He said: “The training takes so much out of your family life. Altogether it was about six months training. I have no got anything planned at the moment, and I do not know if I will do the Bastion again because of all the training and having to juggle it with your family life.”

In fact, each week for the last month of preparation, Dean spent five and a half hours cycling, two and a half hours running and swam twice a week for another two hours.

Seeing his family supporting him on the track though, was an incentive to finish.

“I think they are proud, but also long-suffering. My son could not come, but my wife and daughter came along. I only saw them now and again and I suppose they found it a little boring with the cycling happening way off, but it was a nice boost knowing they were up ahead.”