The Great Forum Ironman Challenge

July 2005, Zurich: 50 forumites. Many first-timers. One Ironman Triathlon. (That's a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle and 26.2-mile run). Come and see the fun.

Posted: 18 November 2004

Breathtaking views at last year's Swiss race
Find out more...


The Count
DD (first timer)
Garr (first timer)
Imp (first timer)
IronZilla (first timer)
Linda Robson (first timer)
Nick Rose
Suffolk Punch (first timer)
Click here if you want your own Ironman diary page


The main IM Swizerland thread
Weekly training logs
URWFRC tri team kit


The main forum tri folder
IM Florida (Nov 04)
All you ever wanted to know about Ironman but were afraid to ask
Ironman requirements?
A motivational thread for newbies


Ironman Switzerland SITE
Official Ironman Website
Ironman training plan

In summer 2004, more than 20 forum members pledged to take on Ironman Switzerland in July 2005 - that's a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle and 26.2-mile run. Many of them were complete triathlon newbies at the time.

Since then, this forum tri team - christened Pirate Ship of Fools for their skull and crossbones kit - has encouraged, coached and goaded each other to new heights of endurance.

July 2005 update: All the long swims, rides and runs are behind the team; now they must avoid the temptation to do 'just one more training session' as they taper for the event. As the eve of the race draws near, it’s time for an honest appraisal of all their efforts, (you can see the weekly training thread here) and an equally forthright statement of their intent: dare they set themselves a definitive target, or is finishing inside the time limit enough?

The Count
The Count says he is hoping for a swim time of around 1:20. But, he adds: "I've found a new sport and new friends so regardless of what happens on July 17th it's been a great, if sometimes challenging, experience." Read on...

Iron Zilla
He's come to terms with his new-found love of tight lycra, but that's the least of Zilla’s worries. "I've had a few pirate pep talks from the old hands and my only aim now is to finish," he says. "I'm mildly terrified. My new mantra is: "There is a beer waiting for you at the end of this" (more worrying is that it's a non-alcoholic beer, but I don't care)." Read on…

Injury has hampered Monique's run training, but she's still optimistic. "Overall, I'm happy with the training, apart from the running," she says. "I think if all goes to plan I'll get my sub-12." Read on…

The youngest of the PSOF team, Garr is going to Switzerland to get a taste of Ironman racing, with a view to do more in the future. "My plan is to finish the Ironman with a nice fat cigar in hand, and go for decent times in future years as I reach my physical peak for such events," he says. Read on…

Suffolk Punch
With his first multi-sport race win in the bag, and a beautiful new carbonfibre bike, Suffolk Punch is raring to go. "My anticipated finishing time will be around 14:30," he says.Read on…

What Is The Great Forumite Ironman Challenge?

More than 20 forumites and 10 supporters have put their names down for the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle and 26.2-mile run, and another 20 are maybes. Training has been tough - especially for the two of them who couldn’t swim - but there was tons of forum support throughout the winter and spring.

Here's what forumite and unofficial coordinator Andy Collier (aka Candy Ollier) had to say in October:

"We had the idea of a 'forum outing' to an overseas Ironman, and Ironman Switzerland (on 17 July next year) was decided upon by common consent. There are some old hands doing it, and lots and lots of first timers (see panel to the right).

"One of the reasons Switzerland was chosen is that you don't have to commit yet, as it generally doesn't fill up until March. You can enter online at The key thing is the training. I honestly believe that anybody with a decent running base (eg done a few half-marathons) can train-up in time for this, even if they just want to get round...

"Even if they can't swim yet (eg Cougie and Suffolk Punch)! But they need to start now [October/November], and they'll need to expect to put the hours in (10 a week at least over winter). Any 'first timer' who does it won't look back and say that IM Switzerland was the hardest thing they did in 2005. They'll say that training for it was.

"Specific advice, training program suggestions etc and support in abundance will be available on the thread.

"Logistically, we are planning to take over a campsite next to the run course (but of course there are hotels). There are already a few forum supporters going and of course lots of friends and families, so there should be a great party atmosphere. There will be a big party and BBQ the day after the race at the campsite, and the official Ironman Athletes' party that night.

"There are kids triathlons and mini triathlons (from super-sprint to Olympic distance) the day before the Ironman for supporters who want to have a go.

"Ironman is often seen as the ultimate one-day athletic endurance event, and for most people, completing one gives a sense of achievement that will last forever. Others become hooked and do loads. This is the ideal opportunity for anybody who is contemplating doing one, due to the number of first-timers doing it and the mutual support that will provide. There's nothing to beat seeing a friendly face on the run course."

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Discuss this article

a number of people are doing various IM events this year, and a number of others are considering moving up to ironman distance next year....

so how about a big trip out?

who's up for it, and which one? i'd go for Lake Placid (late July)

Posted: 26/05/2004 at 13:24

Ooh I'd love to depending on when it was...MM, would you?
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 13:33

Just beat me...
yes, all being 'well' I'd be up for this on '05...
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 13:34

Do they have a 1/2 as well?

come to think of it...all you IM people on here, name me some IMs which have the full and the half (maybe one on Sat one on Sun) - are there any?
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 13:36

how does late July grab you?

a 'good' thing about the north american ones is that one has to put one's money where one's mouth is, so to speak, as they fill up immediately - so you know you have 1 year to train

WildWill, Rich Melik & me signed up for Florida 04 the morning after last years race - and a few hours after that, it was full

Nic - not sure i'll find the website
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 14:23

Can 'do' late july...

where and whats the course like at lake placid?
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 14:25

That was a quick 90 minute swim.
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 14:25

haven't gone yet
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 14:30

Im defo up for a Ironman next year, have Florida pencilled in already. Can do any time except for late May to early June as im on Best Man duties.

Would prefer one in USA really, one on the ITU rankings where there will be some big stars there. I.e. one with a bit of a reputation that people will have heard of.
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 14:30

go to and click the lake placid thing along the top of the page
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 14:31

carl - well ditch florida and do this one instead then
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 14:32

Ah silly me, thought Lake Placcid was in Canada.

Yep ill do that one, looks big enough for me.
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 14:38

looks like a nice course... two laps up and down a little hill on the bike
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 14:40

you were thinking of lake flaccid, carl

that's in wolverhampton
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 14:41

looks a 'nice' course... Count me in! But Nic... looks like its go big or go home! Didn't see any 1/2 IM details...

You can do it...
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 14:42

no, no half IM

i'm not aware of any that do both at the same time, because they both need to lay on massive logistical operations (kayaks, closed roads, rescue divers etc etc)

Nic - of course you can - its 14 months away!
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 14:49

I could be interested
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 14:55

Nic, yes you can if you have the time, I was struggling to run 3 miles 9 months ago.
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 14:56

excellent, mermaid

i think that makes 5 then

and Jj has to come along in one capacity or another
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 14:57

cmon tep, caspar, smithy, mellsy, daz, the austria people, M., jose...

don't make me have to badger you relentlessly at a london social...
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:00

I'm doing half IM distance this year, and I still think it's a bit too big for me.

IM?, yeah on my dreams.

Now, a second half IM if I survive this, maybe.
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:03

Just add them together, José!


(This is me in an 'encouraging' capacity. Will that do?)

Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:06

you can come to support if you refuse to train for it jj

isn't it 'school holidays friendly'??

although i think you should train for it!
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:08

dreams are there to be realised......

(and you JJ!!)
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:09

two halves don't add a full, although you can divide the full by two and get a nicely cut half, ain't ya?
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:09

Go home it is then MM.

I'd rather do more long-distance swims I think.

If I change my mind I will let you know.
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:09

jose if you can do a half this year, you can do a full next... you just need a bit of long distance cycling under your belt
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:10

MMmmm, does that include my dreams on wild sex nights with Patsy Kensit?
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:10

She's single again now, Jose!
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:11

Nic you can always do a few extra laps of the lake
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:12

Nic, thanks for the info. Need to find now, where on earth is Emmerdale, why she didn't join Eastenders?
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:13

And I probably will try to if I come along as a spectator!
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:13

Nic - can you dress up as me and do the swim then? We can do a clandestine ChampionChip handover in T1.

If you volunteer to be a wetsuit stripper, I'll dress up as you to get into the transition area... ba da bing ba da boom, as they say
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:16

I'd love to do the swim (not so sure about wetsuit stripping!) but I'll be happy to be limited a little dip after the event if they let me or - more likely - just supporting.
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:21

"not sure" about wetsuit stripping???

how odd.
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:22

did I say that out loud?
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:23

one inherent benefit in my cheating plan is that you wouldn't have to "do" me of course!
Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:24

Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:29


I have been looking at doing an ironman (first) next year - it is/was in the plan but I have been so blighted with injury after injury this year that everything I was supposed to do has been blown out of the water.

I also have a wedding to go next year as well, but I will definately make my decision by July.

Let me check the location in the states as well - if I can tie it in with another trip then even better

Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:35

re wetsuit stripping -

this is the new sport carl has started since his new found wetsuit fetish - assuming of course he is still wearing it and hasnt bottled out of wearing it ubnder his suit to work

Posted: 26/05/2004 at 15:37

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