All at IceMan give Christmas shopping the cold shoulder
7th December 2015
Gale force winds and a ton of mud didn’t stop around 500 dedicated athletes from taking on IceMan in Frimley last Saturday (5th December). This annual trail running and duathlon event is a popular part of the Human Race Off-Road Series that tests individuals’ fitness and determination at military training bases in Surrey. Having chosen from an 11 or 16km run or a duathlon (10km run, 18km bike, 5km run) all were asked to take on a challenging undulating course that involved steep inclines, muddy patches and the odd water section.
First to head out onto the course were the 11km runners, who were in no mood to lose precious seconds as they tore over the line. The frontrunners had the added incentive of tracking down a crew member dressed as an ice cream sundae, with a small prize for whoever could overtake her by the end. The 11km course is made up of two unique loops around the base, and by the time runners began to return from the initial 6km lap it was clear that Guy Dunwoody was looking particularly strong. Indeed, when the cheer went up to signal the first finisher was approaching the line it was Guy who appeared to take the IceMan 11km win in 44 minutes and 39 seconds.
Paul Johnson (47:18) and Ben Gateley (47:53) followed several minutes behind having conquered the climbs and testing weather. Taking the female 11km crown was Laura Wakeham who comfortably beat her nearest competition in a great time of 51:10. Nicki Scott (54:37) and Katrina Duffey (1:02:16) completed the podium, with the other competitors following, who all seemed to have beaming smiles in common.
Those attempting the 16km had started just a few minutes behind the first group with many making short shrift of the initial hills, and hastily making their way through to the first of two 5km laps. Some distinctive packs were starting to develop as the runners turned for their final lap, with Charlie Elliott (Ful-On-Tri) out front leaving all in his wake to finish in one hour and four minutes exactly. The group behind saw a thrilling battle for second place develop but Nicholas Brown (1:07:37) eventually managed to shake off Jonathan Dunkley by just four seconds. Alice Hector (Evo Tri) put in a monster performance conquering the Frimley 16km course in 1:09:47 to take female first place. Danielle Kleynhans (Ful-On-Tri) and Hannah Cooke (Cambridge Tri Club) were second and third.
A special mention must go to our runners with dogs, who returned bringing an extra slice of canine fun to the atmosphere. Jason Snell and his dynamic Alsatian Dexter were fastest, with the hairier of the two delighted with his bone shaped reward.
The highly anticipated duathlon was the finale of the day. 2014/15 series champion (and dad-to-be) Callum Hughes returned for this race and was quietly being spoken about as a possible favourite for first prize. Also lining up at the start were the familiar faces of Rick Fetherston, Ross Smith and Pete Wilby who had all impressed at the opening event of the series, WildMan. Predictably these gentleman were amongst those at the front as the horn sounded and the assembled masses set off for their initial 10km run.
A tense crowd started to congregate around the transition area waiting to see who would be the first out onto the bike section. Ross Smith, Tom Robertson and Pete Wilby were soon scurrying back in around 42 minutes, before accelerating out onto a bike course that would require a mixture of technical skill and physical stamina. It was here that Pete’s talents were obvious with a relentless three laps pushing him into what would become an insurmountable lead, despite solid and impressive work from Callum and Ross who could easily have taken the title on another day. After 18km on the bike Pete cruised back into transition and out for the final 5km run with several minutes lead, although took nothing for granted with a strong 22 minute final lap.
So Pete Wilby (Exeter Tri Club) took the IceMan Duathlon win in a total time of 1:49:18. After taking a moment to catch his breath Pete said: “IceMan today was really hard, but really good. The wind made it hard in patches but the trees worked as a wind break. I’m pretty shattered to be honest”. Ross Smith (1:52:31) took second, which could be massively important in the series title leader board. Last year’s champion Callum Hughes from Tri 20 came third in 1:56:53 to keep his slim hopes of retaining the overall title alive.
Jackie Field and Rachel Clay (both team Cycle Works) showed a friendly rivalry in the battle to take the top female spot. Jackie pipped Rachel in the end to finish in 2:14:29 just seven seconds ahead of her teammate. Speaking after catching her breath Jackie said “The bike was definitely the best bit. We rode together throughout that section and had a really good time”. Becky Hoare completed the female top three on the day, before dozens more crossed the line having conquered an immense challenge.
Some brilliant performances all round on a mild but windy December morning, and all agreed it was well worth missing a day’s Christmas shopping to compete. As British Bike Hire washed down competitors’ cycles many conversations were had between finishers, with the common theme of them all ending “See you at MudMan”!