After training for the Ironman 70.3 Weymouth last year only to be forced out through illness, Emma Caplan was determined to make amends this year and take her place on the start line. And of course, once she got there, she was determined to complete it as well and on top of that, to perform at her very best. And she is the kind of athlete who has the capability to produce something special when it really matters.
The Ironman 70.3 Weymouth is probably the most popular and prestigious event of its kind in the local area, attracting a fiercely competitive field, with athletes from all over the country, and even abroad, coming over to take part.
The course consists of a 1.2 mile swim, on a triangular shaped loop out from Weymouth Beach. Then it’s a 56 mile bike course through the rolling Dorset countryside, heading in a northerly direction to King’s Stag and then back through Godmanstone and Dorchester. Then after that, it’s a half marathon distance run from Lodmoor Country Park to Weymouth esplanade.
It was going to be the first time Emma had tackled an event of this distance since the Austria 70.3 in 2011 so she didn’t really know it was going to go. All she could do was give it her best shot and see how it panned out.
Winning the Standard Distance race at the Swanage Triathlon Festival in July was a good confidence booster for Emma and showed that she was on the right track with her training. That consisted of a 1500m swim, a 38km cycle and a 10km run. But of course, the Weymouth 70.3 was a different proposition and was going to be much tougher.
First up, it was the 1.2 mile swim and Emma duly completed that in 34 minutes and 26 seconds which put her 6th in the Female 45-49 division. At that stage she was 62nd quickest lady and 407th overall.
It was a good start from Emma considering swimming is her weakest of the three disciplines. She knew there was a good chance she could work her way up the field on the bike and in the run.
Conquering the 56 mile bike route in 2 hours 42 minutes and 51 seconds, Emma was the fastest out of anyone in the F45-49 division and 12th quickest female. That demonstrated how well she can ride and there a few women out there who can match her, especially in her age bracket. She was 191st in the overall standings for the bike leg.
That left her with only the run left to do. Of course, it was a half marathon though so after a 1.2 mile swim and a 56 mile bike ride, that was still a hell of an undertaking. Running is one thing Emma has always excelled at though, so provided she had enough left in the tank for it, she was always likely to do well.
Completing the run in 1 hour 39 minutes and 48 seconds, Emma had closed out the Weymouth 70.3 in style and she was quickest in the F45-49 division and again, 11th female. In the overall standings for the run, she was 165th.
So what did all that mean in terms of cumulative time? Well, it gave Emma a final finishing time of 5 hours 5 minutes and 6 seconds. That was enough to seal a magnificent win for her in the F45-49 division and it made her 11th female in the final rankings and 165th overall.
It was a remarkable result for Emma and she’d done incredibly well to pull such an accomplished performance out of the bag when it really mattered. In all honesty she’d found it much tougher than she thought it was going to be but she had dug deep and delivered the goods on the big stage and she couldn’t ask for more than that.