The Wetherby Whales; Tom & Marc, 2 months and counting…

So it’s exactly 2 months to go before the big day in Hamburg and we’ve just finished what the common triathlete would call a standard distance race. For us it felt far longer than standard. A windy struggle on an early Monday morning reminding us of the reasons to train hard.

The Budget Brownlee’s bringing you the step by step action from the Wetherby Triathlon…

Tom: My alarm goes off at the beautiful time of 4:30am. I’m out of bed and changing into my tri-suit and trying to freshen up as quietly as possible ready to leave for 5am. I can hear one of our fans and today’s taxi, my mother, pottering around the house downstairs. My other half throws a scowling look at me, clearly thrilled to be awake at this time on a bank holiday Monday. I don’t blame her though, she’s volunteering to get up at this time to support, I’m forced to be up…

Marc: I knew it was going to be an early start so naturally I prepared myself for an early night. Unfortunately the Radio 1 Big Weekender was up in the Boro, and my brother had got me tickets. I’d planned to stay off the booze and eat reasonably healthy to be in peak condition for the triathlon. As I washed the halloumi fries down with an icy old Dark Fruits whilst watching Khalid, the triathlon hadn’t even entered my thoughts. Luckily I was back in Leeds for 10pm, kit and bike all prepped by 11pm, and in bed looking at the ceiling by midnight. Those 5 hours of broken sleep were glorious.

My planned breakfast of a toasted bagel and smashed avocado turned into a can of Red Bull and a Trek bar at 6:20am after losing track of time trying to squeeze into my Tri-suit! I knew today was going to be a good day…

Tom: Half 6 in the morning and I’ve met Massey and we’re registered, trying to work out where we stick our numbered stickers. I’ve got too many stickers to go about and I’m unsure where to put them, I’ll just resort to sticking them anywhere sod it. One on my helmet, one on my bike, two on my left foot, four on my bottle, one on some blokes dog… and if the stickers weren’t enough, some lass scribbles 315 in marker pen on my arm. I crack a joke about feeling like prisoner 24601 out of Les Miserables but it was either too early or I’m just not very funny because she barely grunted and moved onto the next person.

Marc: To help settle my nerves, I’d followed the Red Bull with a Starbucks coffee on route to meet Tom. Caffeine overload resulted in my jittering fingers fumbling to squeeze myself in the wetsuit. Despite a little weight loss, I still resemble a used condom filled with ice cream! 15 minutes later, and covered in Vaseline, I’m in. As I scoff Soreen and butter, I’m ready. Bring on the cold water!

Tom: 8am, I’m in the middle of river, the klaxon has just gone off and there’s just limbs flying everywhere. I’ve took an elbow to the face, someone’s groped my left thigh and I’m sure my toe got tickled at some point. It’s carnage and all you can do is swim out of it and keep going. 1500m to go, that’s it. And at the back of me head is the fact I’m dying for a wee but for some unknown reason and despite all the advice I’ve received I just can’t let it flow.

Marc: Whilst the water wasn’t as cold as Pugneys lake two weeks back in our open water session, my remaining testicle is safely hidden inside my abdomen not to be seen for the next half hour!

After we’d attended the triathlon training camp a week ago, I really thought I’d absorbed some tips when it came to the open water swim… “To avoid the mad panic at the beginning of a race, stay towards the back and sides of the melee as the klaxon goes and swim at your own pace to be comfortable”. All of that sound advice was obliterated from memory as I somehow gravitated to the front of the pack just as the sound went on the start. Within 5 seconds my goggles had been ripped off by a flailing hand, and I’m sure I had a date lined up after another hand copped a good feel of the marble! Out of breath, gobfulls of murky water and I watched as hundreds of swimmers breezed past me.

1500m to go and counting.. it took a good 10 minutes to get into my rhythm and I spent the next 20 odd minutes thinking I was actually the last person in the river!

Tom: 31 minutes later and I’ve clambered out of the river and took my wetsuit off whilst running in the least “Hoff” style way possible. I’m on bike and away in under 2 minutes knowing I’m slightly ahead of Massey but fully aware of how much better he is on the ride. My lead only lasted about 15 minutes when just as I was getting relaxed and sipping some water whilst admiring the views someone screams SHAGGERRRR as they whistle past me. I panic, let out a squeak and narrowly avoid ending in the ditch. Unfortunately it didn’t make me pee, but I desperately needed too. In fact my focus was not keeping up with Massey (he was going to quick) but instead I was trying to piss myself. That’s right, I wanted to cycle and pee, without hopping off. But no matter how hard I tried, I got stage fright and it just wouldn’t release. I got that desperate I even lifted my shorts a little to give some air down there and a gap to pee through like some glorified she-pee. Despite my efforts my bladder remained full over the 25 mile cycle.

Marc: As I climbed out of the river and headed into transition, I already knew Tom was ahead. Big thanks to his mum on shouting “he’s already out and in front”, just to kick me whilst I was down.

After a sloppy change into my cycle gear I was out on the bike, finally. 5 or 6 miles into the 25 mile distance I spotted my marker up ahead. I wasn’t sure if it was Tom or not as there were a few other finely tuned athletes all rocking the HUUB Tri-suits. As soon as I seen those pathetic chicken legs attached to white cycling cleats, I knew it was him.

In the words of the Tractor Boy Racer from Soccer AM fame, “I had his fuckinnnnnnn pants darnnnnnnn” as I flew past him whilst howling SHAGGGGGGGER! I chuckled for a good 3 minutes after hearing him shriek and nearly fall off his bike into a grassy verge.

Karmas a bitch, and I knew I’d regret my actions in due course. Whilst I’m not the best cyclist, I maintained a steady 18mph pace despite the wind and got back into the second transition well ahead of Tom and Mark. I was in good spirits for now.

Tom: Within 47 seconds I’d dismounted my bike, changed into my running shoes and began the 10k with a full bladder shaking up and down. I thought if I can just let it go now, my tri-suit would soak it up and I wouldn’t look like I’d clearly peed myself in the photos at the end. I ran hard and tried to pee harder but the tap was jammed shut. 3 miles in however my focus changed, I’d be hammering out quick miles and finally had Mr Massey back in my sights, albeit on the horizon and I did everything I could to knock it up a gear and catch him.

Marc: Running shoes on. Bladder now empty. I was on the last leg. I knew deep down this is where Tom would catch me up. The cold wind on the bike leg had made my recently healed broken bone ache as I made my way into the 10km distance. My confidence was waining..

I got into a steady pace, looking to run at least a sub 9 minute mile to keep the distance between me and Tom to the finish. As I reached the hairpin 5km marker and headed back, 40 seconds later I seen him. The quick little shit had caught me up and was fast on my heels.

I put a little more gas on it and pushed on into the final 3 miles, knowing he was right behind me…

Tom: 1 mile left to go, Marc knows I’m behind him, breathing down his neck, but he’s travelling at some decent speed and I’m struggling to gain any more distance. Finally and on the home straight, with only a couple of hundred meters to go I knock myself into 6th gear and break into a sprint. I’ve given it my everything and small amount of remorse crept into my mind as I squeaked past him, but thinking of the SHAGGERR he screamed earlier made me remember he deserved this and I pipped him to the post by 4 seconds. A second victory in the bag and I could tell this hurt. It hurt me more though and my bladder genuinely felt like it was going to burst.

A special thanks to our travelling away fans, my mother and Jess, my better half. Your cheering kept us going and the photos have given us something to post on Insta every day for the next 3 years.

Marc: I’d resisted for the last 2 miles, but I turned around at a junction and spotted his fat head. He was a mere 50m behind me at best. I had nothing left in the tank as I carried on.

As we closed in on the last 400m I heard an excited squeal from behind as he gained ground on some steps we had to run down. I knew I was doomed.

As Tom’s mum cheered me on as I reached the last 200m, she warned me that he was right behind me.. Tell me something I don’t know. I reached the final stretch and I could hear him just behind me as he went full Usain Bolt and darted past me in a blur of colour over the finish line a mere 4 seconds ahead of me. My cries of “PRICKKKKKKK” drew a chorus of laughs from the spectators and photographer who captured our run in, similar in fashion to that of Rocky and Apollo as they raced on the beach ahead of the Clubber Lang re-match!

Told you karma was a bitch!

Whilst it was another loss, I’m working towards destroying him at Leeds Triathlon in two weeks. I need to.

But whilst I didn’t come first, it was a fantastic event to partake in. Even on a bank holiday Monday, taking us that one step closer to Hamburg in July.

And remember, The Wetherby Whales are fundraising for Movember, a charity addressing some of the biggest health concerns that men face; prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health and suicide prevention.

By competing in Ironman we aim to raise awareness for the Movember and have pledged a target of £5000.

Check out our JustGiving page below👇🏻

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/theroadtohamburg

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