Ironman Gdynia 70.3 Race Report
Written by Tom Davis
This race was a long time coming. It’s been 9 months without a race, and although I’ve been working hard throughout lockdown, I was beginning to question if we would get to race this year.
Ironman Gdynia had put some steps in to reduce possible contact, like nominating a time for you to collect numbers, online race briefings and compulsory face masks around the race site. The biggest change was that transition all happened at the bike, rather than the traditional changing bags, and from the reports I’ve heard, a lot of people actually felt it made the whole transition an easier experience. They also changed the pasta party for coins which you could spend in restaurants around the town which I think is a great idea, both supporting the local businesses, and making it easier for athletes to have their preferred pre-race meal, rather than being limited to the options at a sometimes limited event meal.
I was confident of a good result looking at the numbers I'd been putting out. Come race morning, the Pros had a mass start and the swim went well, as I emerged amongst the front 2/3 athletes, and onto the bike there was a group that contained 15 or so athletes, but that quickly split up. I found myself in the front group of 5 or so athletes, and that’s how it remained, with us sharing the work for the next 60km or so.
On to the run, and the legs felt really good. I set out at 3:20km pace, in about 5th place, on what was an undulating course with a fair amount of elevation, but quickly got into my rhythm and moved up to 2nd within the first 5km. I knew during the run that my biggest threat would be fellow ERDINGER Alkoholfrei teammate Patrick Lange, and so it proved, as he slowly closed me down. Fortunately, I had my best run to date, clocking a 1:11 for the half marathon (officially around 1:12:46 as the course was long), and managed to hold him off, taking 2nd place overall.
I’m chuffed to start the season with a podium, against what was a pretty stacked field, but more than anything I hope this race allows others to see that there is hope for racing going forward, and actually, with a few easy changes, we can all get back racing more over the coming months.