Kate’s Trip to the ‘Big Island’

Kate Stannett I have been around the triathlon block a few times over the last 25 years but I think my most significant learning point came  in October 2017. 

I was competing at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawai’i. It was my third time on the Big Island but something didn’t feel right. I spent race week becoming increasingly nervous, even drinking less beer than usual. Come race day the swim went okay but as soon as I got on the bike I knew I was in trouble. My dislike of the bike is well documented but this was different.

Only five miles out I was in tears by the side of the road. I struggled on but, unable to eat anything, the 112 miles felt even longer. I just about made it to T2 where husband Charlie (who was crewing) came over to check how I was. Still in tears, I sobbed that I was suffering, and didn’t think I could run the marathon. His reply, mindful of how his pension pot had suffered even more, was bluntly helpful: “then you’d better walk fast”.

The sun set abruptly and I was in the dark for most of the 26.2 miles, and it was hard. It helped that I could play cat & mouse with old friend and Ironman legend John Wragg but it was still VERY hard. 

But I did it – and that race is probably the one I am most proud of because against the odds I finished. Not my fastest but I finished. I later self-diagnosed that, aged 56, I had actually been experiencing overdue menopausal anxiety. Never give in! 

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