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  • A less than spectacular bike ride, left all the 'work' for the marathon!


    Chris Legh's race repot, IM CDA 2004.

    Ironman Idaho, 2004.

    Every time you prepare for a race you always try to visualize a particular race outcome, from start to finish. Always of course, visualizing a successful finish…...if only race day was that easy and predictable! Two weeks prior to Ironman Coeur d’Alene I had raced at Blackwater Eagleman and had biked and run as fast as I ever had, my recovery had been perfect and my Ironman lead up had been ideal, so my expectations were obviously high. This was also my 22nd Ironman event and I knew that no matter how well my preparation had gone, I must be prepared for a number of race scenarios and whatever the day decided to throw at me.

    The race began in perfect weather conditions. My swim wasn’t disastrous but it definitely wasn’t impressive. Heading onto the bike I still thought I could work my way to the front of the race but a number athletes ensured that this was not to be. Matt Dickson went charging off the front, while Matt Seeley passed me to move into second place. I couldn’t respond to their moves and decided to be conservative early, hoping to bring things home stronger. When the gaps started to blow out I tried to minimize the damage but I still couldn’t pull things together, the two Matt’s just blew me away.

    Ten minutes down off the bike and not feeling great I tried to build into my run, at this point I concentrated on nutrition and pace, attempting to be patient and hoping the back end of the marathon would be a little quicker than the first. I kept thinking of Heather and how successful she had always been in these situations – thanks for the inspiration! Four miles into the run I moved past Dickson into second place and by mile thirteen, I had only managed to make up one of the ten minutes to Seeley. Forty-five seconds a mile still seemed ridiculously daunting, but at this stage of the race I thought I have 2 choices, it was a matter winning or blowing up trying. With ten miles to go, everything finally fell into place and I started to realize the win might just be possible. Six miles to go and I was 5 minutes down, at the final turn around with 4 miles to go, I got to see my deficit as well as Matt’s form, 3:40 down and we were on our way home. Driven by the crowd and competitors alike I kept steaming forward trying to set my sights on Matt’s back. With 2 ˝ miles to go I could see the front of the race, which now only stood 30 seconds away, half a mile later I was finally in the lead.

    I had been in this position numerous times before and the outcome had not been positive, so this time I made sure the pass counted. Over that last mile I probably looked over my shoulder at least ten times, he wasn’t coming but I just couldn’t convince myself until I reached the final straight. The finish line was unbelievably packed with spectators, and one of the best by far in the sport. With a two minute lead I was able to enjoy every step and after waiting a long four years I finally acquired my second Ironman title. This definitely wasn’t my quickest or finest race but it will surely go down in my mind as one of my most memorable and satisfying wins. Let’s hope it’s not going to be another four years until I break the Ironman tape again……..