This is the 2nd time I have done this race and both times have found it tough, but really enjoyable.
The organisers clearly have a passion for providing a quality event which is evident from speaking to them at the finish, and from the marshall support throughout.
You can't beat the setting of the event, the swim in particular can't be beaten and is a great setting for supporters.
The cycle is rolling, some climbs, but fast. The start of the run is tough and uphill for the first 3.8k.
There are a few things that can be improved, some of which may be out of the organisers hands because of the venue (National Trust):
1. There needs to be a drinks station midway round the run course, or a second one ideally at the start of the forest. It was lucky it was not a hot weekend.
2. The swim was overcongested (and long this year?)
3. The marshalls need to be a bit more vocal where the B3081 turns left and runs parallel with the A303, as it is quite a fast road.
I will be back next year!
Posted on 14.05.18
A beautiful venue with some real testing climbs on the bike and the run, and an absolute blast to race. Super friendly Marshall team and the course itself was WOW, stunning to race on.
Few areas the organisers could look at to improve on the general experience:
- Race branding: Arrived at the car park and the race felt like a side show to the venue, just a few small illuminous signs up with directions to race HQ. Immortal have a cool brand so would like to see more branded signage to help with directions. Really friendly Marshall pointed me in the right direction but I honestly would not have known the race was on if I was just visiting.
- Race Briefing: Would have liked to see course maps sent out in advance as I was confused by the maps in registration area, no idea if there was going to be laps etc. It was super hard to hear the announcer at the race briefing ahead of the swim and had to ask three different people and then a Marshall how many turns and buoys to navigate around.
- Swim Waves: Adjacent to my point on race briefing ahead of the swim. Even though there were only 180 competitors, the mass start made it bumpy for the first half of the swim. I’m a relatively slow swimmer and expected it to thin out more quickly. Would be practical to set off waves 5-10 mins apart based on self seeding for swim time and brief each group before they jump in. Would make hearing the briefing easier and stop the swim congestion. They could also mention the water visibility to calm the nerves. The swim start is pitch black, as are a few pockets of the swim. It clears after 50 metres or so and is beautiful but having that reassurance ahead of jumping in would be great. Never easy for the nerves getting in open water, less so when you can’t even see your hands.
- Swim transition: Sure this is a logistical thing but looking at the area round the lake, didn’t see why the transition couldn’t be next to the swim. It was a 500m or so uphill run on tough gravel and road, you need a pair of shoes to run up there comfortably. Or the organisers need to invest in some matting to lay down as a path all the way up.
- Nutrition: Just water at the start of the run. Would have liked to see two aid stations and with energy drink. Everyone was racing well over 90 mins on a challenging course, needed more support here to get through the run.
Feels like I’m nitpicking with a lot of this stuff, I walked away feeling liked I’d done one of the best races ever - the course is that good - and so great as a test at the start of the UK season. If the Immortal team can look at a few of these areas over the next year or two, I can really see this being a must-do race for triathletes all over the UK and internationally too.
Posted on 14.05.18