World Triathlon Championships London – A Race Report

World Triathlon Championships 10k Ray blog grandstand

Blue Finishing Carpet – This is where everything would be decided!

It was last November when I found out that I would get the chance to race in London for Team Ireland and from then on my 2013 season was based around getting in as good a shape as possible for it! In the months and weeks building up to it the chance to get to race against some of the best age groupers in the World got me more and more excited!! The Sprint race was on the Friday, I flew over on the Tuesday morning to get registered early and soak up as much of the event as possible as I had to make a quick exit from London shortly after the race on Friday evening.

I was not disappointed, the buzz was electric right from the off with seemingly every single nation having some form of representation at it and triathletes of every age and ability with support in tow were there to enjoy the whole thing. Throw in some great racing from the pro triathletes in the World Aquathlon Champs on the Wednesday, including Cork’s Lizzie Lee in the female race, and the Junior/Under 23 Elite male & female on the Thursday and the stage was set to get out there and race hard on Friday.

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I had originally entered the World Aquathlon Age-Group Championship on Wednesday morning (1km Swim followed by 5km Run) simply as a chance to test out the lake and the run route before my main race on Friday as there was no course recce available to athletes but as I was suffering from a niggle in my right shoulder I decided to pass and give myself an extra day of tapering 🙂 Looking back it was the right decision as I really would have felt like I was letting down the Irish colours trying to keep up with people who could actually swim!!

I felt completely awful for the Friday-Thursday before the race. Because of a few different reasons I had actually only done about 2 hours of training over a 5 day period and then finally got in a bit of a swim and cycle on the Thursday. I had read that tapering down training can make you feel tireder but I wasn’t expecting to feel like I was running on complete empty with every muscle aching! I just kept telling myself I had done the right thing and I would be shocked back into life come Friday 8.35am!!

Thursday evening we said goodbye to our trusty steeds as we left the bikes overnight in the transition zone, which had a very Ironman feel to it, especially with all the Ironman bags some racers had used to protect their bikes from the rain. Two Sainsbury’s plastic bags over the saddle and tri bar arm pads would do me fine 🙂

Race morning started nice and early with a 5am alarm call, brekkie of a energy drink, microwave pot of porridge and banana and into Hyde Park for 6.30am to finish getting my transition area together, which actually ended up being one of the simplest transition zone set up’s ever as you weren’t allowed anything on the ground apart from helmet and shoes. Towels and boxes were banished! Headphones on with some pumping music to get the adrenaline going.

But then crisis…the front wheel on my loaner set of wheels wasn’t spinning freely at all. Brakes weren’t the issue. I was lost!!! Kris Muldoon who was racked beside broke the news that the bearings were busted and nothing I could do apart from pedal harder during the race and invest in my own set of wheels over the Winter! So after some cursing and blaming the fact that today was Friday 13th it was back to the Irish tent in the athlete zone, try to keep warm, begin my warm up session and then leave the safety of the tent to walk the 200metres to the start line!

10k ray world triathlon chapmionship swim

Me & Kris Muldoon on way to swim start

SWIM – 750metres / 14min 25sec

world triathlon championship london 10k ray swim start

The blue pontoon awaits 1,000’s of racers to start their swim!

After being held in a pen like nervous cattle for around 15mins, 100 of us 25-29 year olds started walking the famous blue plank! It was a great feeling to start a race like this with a fairly packed grandstand and the famous blue finish line carpet which has had the greatest triathletes of all time run along it right beside you! There was no getting used to the water at all apart from spooning some water into your hands and splashing it on your face and down the neck of your wetsuit. We were made sit on the pontoon and then with about 40secs before the hooter we were allowed to jump in and quickly get in position against the pontoon trying to get your legs nice and high against it for a big push off.

The adrenaline was high and it was a trash fest once the hooter went but I found myself dropped by the leading swimmers in what felt like the first 20metres! I took this as a positive though as it meant not worrying about any kicks and punches to the head! I tried to get back on feet but uncontrollable palpitations meant I really had to slow down, try to breath and settle into own rhythm. The water conditions and temperature in the lake were pretty much perfect and I got through at a decent pace for myself but I was always going to way back after the 1st leg. The aim was not to come last in the swim and I just about managed it 🙂

BIKE – 22km / 37min 18secs

world triathlon championship london 10k ray cycle bike

Out of the tri bars a lot to deal with twists & turns

You better have had your run legs on you getting out of the water and some spikes in your feet as it was a serious long and slippy run to transition. I had one of the fastest T1 times in the wave but still clocked up nearly 3 minutes getting in and out on the bike! The weather in the days before the race was horrendous with the internal Hyde Park roads as slick as ice. We had been thoroughly warned about the danger on this course but many athletes didn’t seem to heed this at all. I didn’t see any crashes myself but heard all the horror stories afterwards from racers and spectators.

The course was unlike any on the Irish circuit. The closest thing to it would be Dublin City Triathlon (which has 5 laps for 40km) but even then this London course (3 laps for 22km) would put it to shame with the number of twists, turns and U-bends and not to mention the speedbumps. There was close to 40 dangerous bends in total and for some you had to come to a complete stop to make sure you didn’t taste tarmac! I have the feeling that if this was a normal race on anywhere else it would have been cancelled or turned into a Aquathlon!

I was happy-ish to get through the course in 37mins as I wouldn’t have any experience with the necessary bike handling skills and although I can’t say the issue with the bearings on my wheel were felt while cycling (as it’s probably been like that since I got the wheels from my mate!) I can only assume it affected my power and time I was able to put down.

RUN – 5km / 16min 20sec

world triathlon championship london 10k ray run

Hurting…hurting a lot

Back into the marathon length, slippy transition for T2 and again I had one of the fastest times in my age group but still took nearly 3 minutes to drop the bike and get my Asics on to start laying down the law 🙂 This course was built for me and I thoroughly loved every single step of it even though it hurt like hell! The run course was 2 laps around the Serpentine Lake. The support was amazing especially around the transition area, the finishing chute but mostly coming over the Serpentine bridge where there really was a massive contingent of Irish supporters cheering like mad and giving some serious high 5’s. The guys from Shipmytribike were also on show to let some serious shouts at all the green trisuits from their truck parked just off the course!

The course was very flat and fast apart from a 1km drag at the far end of the course which suited me down to the ground as it allowed me to go further into the pain threshold and eat into the lead of those who came in 1-2mins ahead of me after the bike. The final lap meant you got that unbelievable experience of running down the blue carpet alongside the grandstand and through the same finishing chute that we have watched all our triathlon heroes do down the years! In the last 800metres I got my kick working and managed to run down a few Germans, Yanks, Canadians and Mexicans but finished just 2 seconds behind a Brit…Grrrrr!

My run times have been my saviour this year and I was delighted to put down my fastest ever time when it mattered most and post the 9th fastest run in my age-group, definitely the biggest positive I will take away from not only the race but my whole season of training!

(placings are all within the 25-29 year old category)
750metre Swim – 00:14:25 – 90th out of 99
T1 – 00:02:45 – 11th out of 99
42km Bike – 00:37:18 – 58th out of 99
T2 – 00:02:40 – 16th out of 99
5km Run – 00:16:20 – 9th out of 99
TOTAL – 01:13:26
60th 25-29 year old

10k Ray world triathlon championship finish

Finish Line Pose!

A massive thank you to my friends and family for all the well wishes in the run up to the race, especially my girlfriend and tri-newbie Maria who helped me get over some serious confidence issues about doing completely shite in the race and for also tracking my splits while I was racing and sending me a message as I came over the line which made the race for me! I can’t thank the guys and gals at Fit4Life and Kilkenny City Harriers enough who really went above and beyond with their funding as it pretty much covered all costs, while the further funding from Kilkenny Tri Club was very much welcomed. The Irish team were a brilliant bunch of guys and gals and it was an honour to race with them all, while the team managers really went above and beyond and made the whole experience more enjoyable!

10k ray team ireland photo world triathlon championship

The Irish tent!!! A great old bunch of folks ;D

Full gallery of all the pics I took available on my Flickr account

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12 Weeks to London…Week 12!!! (9th – 15th September)

10k Ray Triathlon Blog

WEEK 12 = 9th – 15th September

AM. Swim – 800m/20min with 50m repeats
PM. Brick – 14km/25min Gym Bike Fartlek followed by 800m/3min Run Sprint

PM. Run – 8km/40min with 2x 4min Race Pace Interval

AM. Swim – 800m/20min Tempo
PM. Brick – 20km/40min Bike Fartlek followed by 1km/5min Steady Run


A.M. RACE World Triathlon Championship
750m/14min Swim – 22km/37min Bike – 5km/16min Run

Boozing 🙂

Boozing 🙂

Total Swim – 2.3km / 1hr
Total Bike – 50km / 1hr 20min
Total Run – 14km / 1hr

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12 Weeks to London…Week 11 (2nd – 8th September)

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WEEK 11 = 2nd – 8th September

PM. Swim – 1.5km/35min 100m repeats
PM. Run – 8km/35min Fartlek Track Session

PM. Brick – 33km/60min Bike Interval (Fartlek + 10k TT) followed by 2km/10min Easy Run

PM. Swim – 1.2km/30min Aerobic River Swim

PM. Brick – 20k/30min Recovery Bike followed by 8k/40min Running Track Session followed by 10k/30min Recovery Bike

AM. Physio (Owwwww)

AM. Bike – 30km/60min Interval Bike (4x 4min Race Effort)

AM. Swim – 1km/20min Sea Swim

Everything is packed and on the road to London!!!! Come on Ireland 🙂

Total Swim – 3.5km / 1hr 30min
Total Bike – 93km / 3hr
Total Run – 22km / 1hr 45min

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12 Weeks to London…Week 10 (26th August-1st September)

10k Ray Triathlon Blog

WEEK 10 = 26th August – 1st September

PM. Run – 12.5km/60min Steady State

PM. Brick – 30km/60min Bike Steady State followed by 2km/10min Easy Run

AM. Swim – 1.7km/45min Sets
PM. Run – 12km/60min Interval with 5x 1km at race pace

AM. Swim – 1.2km/30min Sets (50metre Max effort repeats)
PM. Bike – 30km/60min Interval with 7x 2min Max Race Effort

AM. Run – 4km/20min Easy run with 4x 100m Strides

A.M. RACE Mourne Olympic Triathlon
1.5km/25min Swim – 40km/72min Bike – 10km/38 Run

AM. Bike – 35km/70min Steady

Total Swim – 4.5km / 2hr
Total Bike – 135km / 4hr 30min
Total Run – 40km / 3hr 10min

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Packing for the World Triathlon Championships!

ITU London Blog Pic 10k Ray

Apart from bringing your Triathlon ‘A’ Game, there are a lot of little things to remember and think about before zipping up that suitcase and making your way towards London in September for the ITU World Triathlon Championships! With only 9 days to go until the whole thing kicks off with the World Aquathlon Championship on Wednesday 10th, now is the time to get that list together and start ticking things off as you fill your bag. I have my list outlined below and these are what I am bringing for the Sprint race, which takes place Friday 13th September…. Uh oh, I just realised my race is falling on the unluckiest day of the year!!!!

*Plane Boarding Pass
*Hotel Booking
*Airport-London City Train Booking
*Triathlon Ireland Card
*Directions to race/Race area layout
*Mobile Contact Details & Collection Point for ShipMyTriBike

*GPS Sports Watch (Garmin) & Charger
*Heart Rate Monitor
*Training Socks
*Running T-shirt
*Cycling Jersey
*Bike Repair Kit / Allen Keys / Tools
*Official Triathlon Ireland Team Clothing
*Light Waterproof Jacket (weather dependent!)
*2x Energy Gels & 2x Energy Drink Sachets
*Suncream & Aftersun (weather dependent!)
*Music Player/iPod Shuffle & Headphones
*Band Aids / Vaseline

*Transition/Sports Bag
*Timing Chip (collect at regsitration in London)
*Flip Flops
*Goggles x2 (bring spare & try have tinted & clear options)
*Swim Hat x2 (bring spare to wear as 2nd hat for warmth)
*Body Glide or Spray for Wetsuit Removal
*Wetsuit Repair Gel
*Nutrition Pre Race Start = 1x Energy Gel & 1x Energy Drink Sachet
*Roll of Toilet Paper

*Bike & Race Wheels
*Track Pump (will be readily available at event)
*Tri Shoes
*Socks (if wearing them)
*Aero/Road Helmet
*Bike Bottle = Aero bottle with straw or standard bottle
*Talcom Powder
*Race Belt
*Race Number (collect at registration in London)
*Nutrition for Bike Leg = 1x Energy Gel & 1x Energy Drink Sachet
*Elastic Bands/Duct Tape (attach gel to tri-bar & hold tri-shoes)
*Small Transition Towel

*Runners with Lock Laces
*Run Visor

*Post Race Towel & Warm Clothing
*Casual Clothing for the week and night out!
*Comfortable walking shoes/runners
*Phone & Charger
*Camera & Charger
*Some Handy Sterling ££££

And most importantly, don’t forget to bring your own Irish flag and have it planted with someone close to the finish line so you can grab it on the final run in and get your very own iconic image of crossing the line holding your country’s colours proudly aloft!

Watch the video below and let the excitement start to build 🙂 Wooooop, Go Team Ireland!!!

If there is anything I should have added to this list please give me a shout on Twitter at

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View a full breakdown of the racing schedule for that week by clicking here

12 Weeks to London…Week 9 (19th August-25th August)

10k Ray Triathlon Blog

WEEK 9 = 19th August – 25th August

PM. Swim – 2km/50min Intervals
PM. Run – 12km/55min Steady State with 2x 15min Tempo Intervals

PM. Brick – 37km/70min Bike Interval (4x 5min + 1x 8min Race Pace effort) followed by 2km/10min Easy Run

AM. Run – 7km/55min Interval (xxxx)
PM. Swim – 1.1km/20min Easy River Swim

PM. Bike – 30k/60min Rolling Tempo

PM. Run – 10k/45min Interval – 5x 800m at 5k Race Pace


A.M. RACE Dublin City Olympic Triathlon
1.5km/30min Swim – 40km/70min Bike – 10km/38min Run

Total Swim – 4.6km / 1hr 40min
Total Bike – 80km / 2hr 20min
Total Run – 41km / 3hr

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12 Weeks to London…Week 8 (12th August-18th August)

10k Ray Triathlon Blog

WEEK 8 = 12th August – 18th August

PM. Run – 10km/45min Tempo Run  for middle 25min

AM. Swim – 1.6km/45min 10x 100metre repeats at race pace
PM. Brick – 40km/80min Bike Interval (10x 2min Max Effort on Big Gear) followed by 4.5k/20min Aerobic Run

AM. Physio – 45min (owwwwww!!!!)
PM. Bike – 30km/65min Easy Recovery Spin

AM. Swim – 1.9k/45min Sets (25m Sprints & Pull/Paddle work)
PM. Bike – 40k/80min Interval (6x 5min Leg Drills + 2x 5min TT)

AM. Run – 11km/50min Interval (5x 1km at 5k Race Pace + 20sec Hill Climb)



Total Swim – 3.5km / 1hr 40min
Total Bike – 100km / 3hr 25min
Total Run – 25km / 1hr 50min

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12 Weeks to London…Week 7 (5th August-11th August)

10k Ray Triathlon Blog

WEEK 7 = 5th August – 11th August

No training – recovery day after the Loughrea Triathlon 🙂

PM. Run – 8km/40min Aerobic

PM. RACE Formula 1 Phoenix Park Duathlon
3k Run / 9k Bike / 3k Run / 9k Bike / 3k Run

PM. Run – 13km/62min Steady Aerobic effort

PM. Bike – 30km/60min Interval (4x 5min Race Pace / 5min Recover)
PM. Swim – 1.7km/45min Sets

PM. Brick – 50km/95min Tempo Bike (last 20mins at TT effort) followed by
6km/25min Tempo Run

AM. Swim – 2km/45min Endurance (2x 750m)

Total Swim – 3.7km / 1hr 30min
Total Bike – 98km / 3hr
Total Run – 36km / 2hr 30min

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12 Weeks to London…Week 6 (29th July-4th August)

10k Ray Triathlon Blog

After two poor weeks back to back, week 6 & 7 are to be two good weeks to get my arse back in gear. Some great races in the pipeline including the National Series Loughrea Sprint Triathlon (week 6)  and the Formula 1 Duathlon in the Phoenix Park (week 7) will be great tests and a good indication of exactly where I am with just over a month to go until the World Triathlon Championships in London. The focus is 3 hard interval bike sessions and 3 hard pool sessions per week, 2 hard runs and just a couple of easy, recovery sessions.

WEEK 6 = 29th July – 4th August
Plan to have a few hard weeks in a row!

PM. Brick – 38km/80min Bike Intervals (10x 2min Max/2min Easy)
followed by 4.5km/22min Run Steady

AM. Swim – 2km/50min Speed Sets
PM. Bike – 42.5km/83min Intervals (3x 10min Race Pace/10min Easy)

AM. Run – 8km/35min Aerobic

No Training 😦

AM. Swim – 1.5km/45min Lesson
PM. Bike – 46km/90min Aerobic Spin, Rolling Hills

AM. Run – 8km/35min Intervals (Yasso 800’s – 3x 800m at 10k race pace with 2.5min jog recovery)
PM. Bike – 10km/20min Easy with some sprints

A.M. RACE Loughrea Sprint Triathlon
750m/13min Swim – 20km/33min Bike – 5km/18min Run

Total Swim – 4.3km / 1hr 50min
Total Bike – 156km / 5hr 20min
Total Run – 25.5km / 2hr

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12 Weeks to London…Week 5 (22nd-28th July)

Who would have though a 3 day stag session would impact on your training? 🙂 Suffering badly and being up in Dublin on Monday meant no training, while Tuesday the legs were still too tight to chance any workout at all. Attempted to get in some decent swim bike and run sessions ahead of the Kilkenny Triathlon, which was then used as simply a really hard training session. Poor week all in all, and on the back of a poor one the week before that too. Next week has to be a big step up in intensity and volume and the plan includes the Phoenix Park Formula 1 Duathlon on Wednesday and the National Series Loughrea Sprint Triathlon on Sunday!

WEEK 5 = 22nd-28th July
Building back up to strength after mini-break

No training 😦

No training 😦

A.M. Swim – 1.5km/45min Lesson with focus on technique
P.M. Run – 10km/45min Intervals (2x 2k at 10k Race Pace)

P.M. Brick – 32km/76min Bike Intervals (4x 4min Hill Interval plus 5min TT) followed by 3.5k/15min Run Aerobic

P.M. Bike – 17km/40min Easy with some short sprints

A.M. RACE Kilkenny Triathlon
750m/13min Swim – 24k/40min Bike – 5k/18min Run

No training, Bruce Springsteen in town last night 😀

Total Swim – 2.2km / 1hr
Total Bike – 74km / 2hr 30min
Total Run – 18.5km / 1hr 20min

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