Pirates. An aggregation of people from Runner’s World who defected to triathlon with a focus on Ironman. They don’t take themselves seriously. That’s why I fit in.

Over the past couple of years we have been to the funerals of several shipmates, and it was decided to host the DIY again after a couple of years break. Instead of an entry fee we set up a donations website for charity. There was no pressure to do all the distance or all the disciplines, it’s about taking part, being marshal, and having a blast. For me, it fitted in with my (loose) training plan for Nice 70.3 in June and was going to be a bit of a step up.

Swim was at Boundary Water Park, Holmes Chapel. A beautiful location, but it was my first open water swimming this year, and I was worried about the temperature. Actually it wasn’t bad at 13. We did 4 laps to make 2000m. On my first lap I stopped about 6 times for goggle leaks but finally got sorted. 46 minutes, OK, happy.

Transition? Relaxed and un-timed. Take kit off, get in car and drive 11 miles to the house where bike was going to be hosted. Bike kit on. When ready, off you go.

Bike route. 9 laps of 6+ miles, and a bit tagged on to get my 56 miles. Cheshire put on a fine display of rolling countryside. Gorgeous swooshing bends and straights, then a collection of potholes that make ours look like amateurs. There’s one in the photo. I really enjoyed the bike ride, and it was very much a solo affair.

T3. Pirate central HQ, the base for the party. Once you had been round the course once, you didn’t need marshals. A sort of quick change and off we go.

Run. 4 laps. This is where I got the sudden feedback from my body that I had not been doing enough running. Lap 1 was slow and it was warm. Lap 2 was more relaxed, but still slow. Lap 3 involved walk breaks. Nobody was watching. Lap 4 was incentivised by the prospect of rum at the finish.

Overall, a major success. Socially, as a training stage, and as a fundraiser. We appear to be close to £1000 raised for cancer support, Alzheimer’s and dementia.