#Ironman 70.3#Durban
Raced on Oct 2, 2022

Author: Kevin Clelland

Durban 70.3

Experience the Zulu Kingdom.



By Kevin Clelland.

This is the 4th time that I've done this race - first in 2015, then 2019, 2021 and now 2022. In 2019 I came within 1min of going under 5hrs so that's been the goal ever since.

The race was due to be on 5 June but was postponed to "a later date" a few weeks before which was difficult to mentally cope with. I started training in December but pulled a calf muscle thinking i'm a hero while doing track work.

Maybe it's a "post covid" thing but this is the first year that I've continuosly gotten flu and missed about 6 weeks training evenly spread between May and September. Needless to say my expectations on race day weren't very high.

The Tools

Category Brand
Trisuit 2XU Lightspeed Tech Sleeved
Wetsuit 2XU V3
Bike Cervelo P5D
Helmet Bontrager Ballista
Sunnies Oakley Radar EV
Bike Shoes Specialized Trivent SC
Run Shoes Nike Vaporfly 2
Hydration Precision Hydration
Nutrition Maurten Gels

The Swim

What's the definition of insanity?

Time: 00:39:07

Hardly doing any swim training and magically expecting a better result than the previous year!

My swim has always been my achilles heel. It started with not knowing how to swim properly but I fixed that years ago. Now the true problem is only being prepared to swim twice a week in training...and all of it by myself firmly in the comfort zone.

Given that backdrop, you can sense how the swim went. Perfect conditions and zero excuses - just a slow 39min swim. I very much feel like i'm going through the motions in the swim and just slowly ticking over waiting till the end. I know i'm not the fastest swimmer and I always have this insecurity that the effort to swim 1-2min quicker is exponentially higher than me taking it easy. Something more frequent racing and a coach will resolve very quickly I'm sure!

The Bike

Serving the penalty and catching my breathe

Time: 02:40:53

I knew my fitness wasn't particularly good but I had really stepped up my equipment by swapping out my BMC TMR01 aero road bike for a pro level Cervelo P5D. With this, and too much time on Zwift and not on the road, came some challenges.

After a disappointing swim I started pedaling with a sense of urgency...only to find out my side-mounted bottle cage wasn't strong enough to hold my bottle! Dang...lost my Precision Hydration in the first 2km. And yes, because i'm an idiot I didn't stop to fetch it.

At about the 20km mark, feeling like a Pro and, possibly over-biking, I was flying past SO. MANY. PEOPLE. At one section, there were 5 cyclists next to each other taking up the whole lane. Across the solid line was a marshall on their motorbike talking to them. I was going about 35km/h and them 20km/h. So what did I do...past them on the inside. Spotting this the marshall immediately left the 5 cyclists and served me a penalty for passing on the inside.

Feeling hard done by but knowing a rule is a rule, I served my 5min penalty at the 45km mark. I took the time to catch my breath and identified that I was cycling too hard. The 5min penalty ruined any chances for a personal best and I cycled the rest of the bike leg with a relaxed mindset.



Struggling half way on the run

The Run

Lack of consistent training being highlighted

Time: 01:43:35

This was the first time running in my super shoe Nike Vaporlfy's so, similar to the bike, I was hoping for a miracle from my gear as I couldn't rely on my fitness.

I quickly settled into a 4:45/km pace hoping I could stick with that and then pick it up at halfway. The plan went well...except when I hit 10km I started getting stitches and was reduced to a walk to try manage them. So much for a negative split!

Anyway, I was proud of myself to have averaged 5:00/km for the last half. I really had to dig deep to keep this up to the end

It's a tough run as Durban is a notoriously hot and humid city and the whole run is pancake flat on the promenade with zero cover from the sun. It can be a fast course if you have done the work in training, but, offers nowhere to hide if you haven't.

At the end of the day I just wasn't fit enough to expect anything more. And yes, I do think the super shoes helped...a lot!

Closing Thoughts

General Satisfaction

I was disappointed with my time in all three disciplines but also know that I would be asking too much to expect any faster. I was proud of how I kept pushing on the run even though I was really hurting and didn't have too much to race for given my slow swim and bike times. This is the first time I've been served a penalty and as the definitive "goodie goodie" I also glad this didn't knock me emotionally.

What Went Well

I put my best foot forward on race day. I nailed my preparation and race logistics during race week. I was extremely happy with my new bike and cannot wait to race it again. I was also pleasantly impressed with the Vaporfly's. The combination of Precision Hydration electrolytes and Maurten gels seemed to work well again.

Need to do better

Focus on establishing a solid base of fitness that is sustainable. Health first...no injuries and illness. I started doing hard sprints way to early...03:05 * 1km repeats in January? I also need to fix my water bottle issue but that should be easy. Most importantly, I think if I aim to improve and get a Personal Best I need to focus a lot more on the swim to start off on the front foot rather than trying to play catch up. Time for a coach again maybe?


Category Result
Overall Time 05:15:10
Overall Position 64
AG Pos 11
Swim Time 00:39:07
Bike Time 02:40:53
Run Time 01:43:35