Summer 2017 Maddest race award - an Ironman the Arctic

It's becoming a Windrush tradition that with summer comes one of our members entering races that most people would think very very long and hard before entering. Last year for example we had Rory setting off on a time trial to Turkey via the Alps, Dolomites and Balkan mountains.

The lead in this year's competition has been seized by a Mr Charles Barclay.

Not content with entering an Ironman race, this one takes place in the Arctic. These are the details in case you are thinking about it for next year.

You will see at this other website that this is a place where they take tourists out (IN BOATS) to see killer whales.

Just in case the orcas don't get him there are also 24 feet long sharks that live to 500 years old and eat polar bears.

Anyway Charles is/was a good photographer and it is meant to be a very beautiful
place so we might get some good snaps out of it.

So best of luck Charles and enjoy it. Will be following your progress hopefully on Saturday

(PS Don't forget though if worst comes to the worst I would be interested in those ZIPP wheels you bought)

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Go Go Go Charles!

Good luck CB Enjoy!

The Article Triple... I thought it was a drink, so I read the manual.

Its a 4km swim, 196km bike, 45km run.

* no mention about any levels of accent/decent

Good Luck Mr Barclay

(the manual also says you probably will have to get off your bike and push due to high winds at some points)

Heja Heja Charles! I was in Tromso in June for the midnight sun marathon and it was incredibly beautiful, I'd love to go to Lofoten. I only managed 10 minutes in the sea there, was a bit cold for me. Best of luck!

Well the good news for wetsuit repairers is that Charles managed to avoid being nipped by Orcas or Greenland sharks in the refreshing Arctic Norwegian waters.

Bad news for my ambitions to hoover up his ZIPP Wheels in the event he lost a leg or two.

He has also managed to complete the bike leg in a time that suggests that wasn't such an easy trip either.

Just the running to finish - which they have thoughtfully extended from 42 to
45 kilometres.

(I didn't mention to Charles that this event was set up by a guy well known to the Celtman FB group)

The general consensus, among people who race along ridges between Munro peaks was he is such a crazy that you really should check your life insurance carefully before signing up lol.
17 and a half hours gone but only 15k to go to the finish...come on Charles you can do it

Actually 18 km to go because they extended the marathon

And it's probably up hill

Oh well tail running at Parkrun was tough too you know

Charles finished in 27th place having spent 17 hours 37 minutes triathlon-ing in the sunny waters and mountains of the Norwegian arctic circle.

Despite Charles spending over one and a half hours in the "fresh" arctic water, the Greenland sharks (and killer whales) went hungry meaning there is unfortunately no availability of value for money second hand ZIPP wheels.

It will be interesting to hear Mr Barclay's views of whether to make this Lofoten race the 2018 Windrush club championships for longer distance triathlon. And of course looking forward to any snaps JC may have managed to take....while on a break from shark/killer whale lookout duty.

Well done Charles though seriously that is some serious adventure!

Well done Charles... Great achievement though total madness of course!

See you very soon


Well that was quite an experience, even without the Greenland shark putting in an appearance.

I have a thing about races on islands and having done tropical (St Croix) and temperate (Lanzarote), an island in the Arctic Circle seemed just the place for an extreme tri when friends in Oslo suggested Lofoten as an alternative to the Norseman (now well-nigh impossible to get in to with 4000 applicants for 250 places this year).

Norwegian managed to lose my bike between Oslo and Bodo, so the run up to race day was a nerve wracking round of calls and emails to trace it and get it delivered to Svolvaer where the race takes place. It arrived on the morning before race day, so it was lucky we left London on the Tuesday and not a day later.

The swim was a 4km sea trek around the barrier island of Svolvaer harbour in glassy calm conditions and clear cold water (14 degrees). I got a good tow from a female participant until I realised her navigation was hopeless and we were swimming twice as far as we needed to! Reported swimming distances varied between 4.5 and 5.5km so perhaps the swim was a bit long, but delightful in the early morning sunshine.

The bike is almost 200km around three islands, crossing high bridges between and for the most part skirting the mountains. The wind was calm, the sky clear, the roads empty and the scenery amazing. I was on my road bike with clip ons; at times I just sat up and rode on the hoods, just enjoying the moment. We were truly blessed, considering that the following day was a force nine gale. I poodled round, not really in race mode at all, just happy to be there. At one particularly scenic point the film crew drew alongside in their car and tried to interview me on the move but I had just stuffed half a Ride bar in to my mouth so instead of bon mots, they got a spray of half chewed peanuts and chocolate! Somehow I dont think that will make the cut.

The run was a toughie. The first 25km was an undulating road run, with 15k on the main highway with a fair bit of traffic. I got to the checkpoint before the mountain stage an hour and fifteen before the deadline, picked up my rucksack and changed to trail shoes. Now for a pleasant stroll in the hills to the finish thought I. Wrong! The trail was a tiny path over very rough terrain, alternately boggy and rocky, some parts ridiculously steep. When Norwegians say a run is technical in parts, what they mean is that you should be happy doing rock scrambling above precipitous drops and clambering up/down ludicously steep mountainsides. On iM legs. With slippy, muddy trail shoes.

At some point I really did not think I could finish. I'd run out of water, my transponder was broken after I fell on it, my feet were bleeding in my lightweight trail shoes and I was running out of time. But then I happened on the last checkpoint and my support crew, everyone shouting Heja! Heja! You can do it! , so on I went. From the top of the last mountain Svolvaer was spread out below me as a carpet of lights in the dusk; now all I had to do was clamber down again swinging from tree to tree like an orangutang as my legs could no longer work as shock absorbers.

It was a warm, benign evening, not typical Lofoten weather at all. As I ran in to the square, all the athletes who had finished roared encouragement from the bar terraces and the organisers gave me a big hug on crossing the line. I finished in 17:37:54, just over 22 minutes before the final cut off, 27th out of 29 finishers and the oldest competitor in the field.

If you fancy an antidote to over-packaged, over-crowded Ironman races and to have a real adventure, this race will give you want you want. It is also a super-friendly event where everyone chats to everyone else and you really do feel part of a special family, priveleged to take part. Absolutely fantastic.


More Lofoten pics


Last lot of Lofoten pios


Charles, you are a bloody legend!!! Amazing that only 29 people finished this race and YOU, old chap, were one of them! I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you had club kit on and I can't wait to give you a huge hug. 

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