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Fri 13th Dec 2019
Eddie Brocklesby reports from Phuket
Posted by: Annie Emmerson
Posted on: Monday 14th December 2009

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Eddie Brocklesby is quite a remarkable lady indeed! She trains harder, works harder, and plays harder than most athletes half her age, and always with a smile on her face and a great sense of humour. This year amongst many races she raced Ironman Lanzarote, quite incredible when you consider the fact that last year she was dealing with a burst appendix, and a knee injury that put doubts on her ever running a marathon again. And talking of marathons, her PB is 3:45, not bad for a woman in her 60s!

Enjoying a sabbatical from work (well sort of, she's still frantically busy with two2go) Eddie decided to head-off to warmer climates for her final couple of races of the year and sent us this report from the Laguna Phuket Triathlon. It's now on to Canberra in Oz for a quick half-Ironman this weekend before Eddie puts her feet up in Vietnam. Well actually, not quite, she'll spend two weeks on her bike travelling around the country. I did say this was one quite remarkable lady...

Even the journey to the start of Laguna Phuket was fun. After a leisurely set up in transition, at dawn on an already balmy warm day, we travelled by ferry across the lagoon to the 7am mass beach swim start. The gun went and it was 550m straight out to sea, then 150m across, and then 550m back, which I spent desperately trying to sight the gantry as the sun rose over the beach. But it’s not all over yet; you then have to run 100m up over the beach, only to plunge back into the lagoon. My legs were sinking as they adjusted to the fresh water and the thought of the final 600m lagoon swim, but then before I knew I was running up the ramp into transition.

The 55k bike course was challenging with some very steep hills during the first 15k. Many of the multi-national competitors were on bikes not set up for the gradient, so they were gracefully stepping or falling off bikes, or even worse, zig-zagging right across the traffic free road – some enviously watching me climbing steadily with my granny gear - maybe there’s a need for a new rule to `stay left` if you are walking with a bike!

The copious number of marshals was great, but it was the support of the whole community that made the event so very, very special – children cheering everywhere, and Thai family groups supporting enthusiastically, even the backmarkers. The police and volunteers were similarly encouraging. It’s a fabulous single-lap bike course through some great terrain, even the 4k up and down the traffic free dual carriageway had its attractions – I had a smile on my face the whole way round – so maybe a good bike split wasn’t my main goal, sorry coach!

The 12k run through the wooded areas of the golf course offered some shelter from the ever increasing heat – ok, so a faster swim and bike would have led to a cooler less challenging run? But the drink stations and iced sponges were plentiful, charming volunteers seemingly unused to an elderly female competitor anxiously poured iced water all over me. But the shade of some tropical rainforests woods offered respite and even the baby elephant watched and nodded approval!

Overall I thought the triathlon was a superbly organised race and the 2-day event offered something for everyone, from the relay teams, to the fun run and the `splash and dash` the previous day for age-group kids. The energy of the commentator Whit Raymond was impressive over the seven hours before the last weary competitor came in. And still he continued, on into the early hours, through the banquet, awards presentation and disco. He made the day for many individuals, who commented that he was as enthusiastic in welcoming the older or slower competitors as the winning guy, the Olympic gold medallist, Jan Frodeno.

With current increased airline costs of bike transport, I rented a great bike from Siam Bikes in Kata Beach. If I had one, perhaps age related comment, it would be a request for taller, more high-vis buoys and gantries for the swim, but that is a minor criticism on one fantastic event that I will definitely be repeating.

2010 too will see the race a week earlier, followed by an Ironman 70.3 the following week. They are planning some relaxing events too for the intervening week. Booking early is recommended for the cheaper Laguna Phuket accommodation and I found out too late that as one of the main sponsors, Thai airways were doing some good deals! Oh well just means I'll have to make the most of it next year!

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