The ultimate goal for any triathlete is to take part in and complete an Ironman race. Months, and sometimes years, of preparation go into getting ready for the 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42km run that make up the event. For most people completing any single part of the event would be a huge challenge, let alone finishing all three in a single day! Two of Blackwater Triathlon Club’s most experienced athletes travelled to Italy last weekend to take part in the Ironman Italy race on the coast of Emilia-Romagna. The race, which took place on Saturday, the 22nd of September, began with a swim in the sea off Romagna, followed by a 180km cycle through Natural Park of Salt Pens of Cervia, surrounded by beautiful scenery and of pink flamingos, and finished with a full marathon through Cervia and Milano Maritime’s glamorous seaside settings. Joe Scanlan had completed the inaugural Ironman Italy in the same location just 12 months before and was looking forward to renewing his acquaintance with the the area. He was joined by Eddie O’Brien, another experienced athlete and over 2,600 athletes from around the world. Conditions in Italy were very warm as the athletes entered the water for the swim. Joe completed the 3.8km swim in 1:02:42 and Eddie in 1:30:13. The heat began to take its toll on the 180 km cycle but Joe powered through in 5:39:52. Eddie completed the bike course in 6:59:59. Unfortunately as temperatures hit the high twenties and crept towards 30 degrees plus, his earlier exertions began to tell and Joe was unable to complete the run section of the course. Eddie struggled on in the heat and eventually crossed the finish line in 15:31:43, finishing the marathon section of the race in 6:27:15. Eddie’s marathon time goes to show just how tough this event was on the day as he has in the past run a sub three hour marathon. Well done to Eddie and Joe. Both are the epitome of what it takes to be called an Ironman.