Aug 19

The Cleveland Steelman 2018

Thought it was worthy of a race report as a good number of Lincsquadders nipped up North for the Cleveland Steelman. This event has proved popular with the club over the years probably due to the local ‘club’ run atmosphere, a testing, yet fast bike course and some pretty woodland scenery among the lakes.

Ner!……Let’s face It, it’s cheap and the camping is a jolly good booze-up. Hopefully a race report will jog peoples memory around Christmas time to get this race booked. It sells out quick and although this event proved that our Lincolnshire rivals Grimsby Tri aren’t quite as rapid in the three disciplines *Banter* they’re certainly quicker when it comes to pressing that ‘Enter’ button and getting on the start list. Almost a fifth of the entire 280 strong field were in the black and white of GY Tri quadrupling Lincsquad’s 16 athletes. Come on guys, let’s see if we can make it our club race next year and turn out in large numbers. For those that haven’t done this race before the distances are slightly bewildering and don’t quite conform to the ‘half Ironman distances’ The swim is advertised as a 2000m swim but some years you can have a fast (lucky) 2000 metre swim and other years a slow (unlucky) 2000 metre swim where your Garmin records 2200m, this year was the latter. Still, not a problem as it’s the same for everybody. The ride is also a little long at 58 miles and while it’s by no means granny ring hilly, calling it undulating (like we call our own Brigg sprint bike course) wouldn’t be fair to those new to biking. The run doesn’t quite stretch to the 13.1 mile distance but this cross country course has you opening cattle gates onto open fields, nipping through woodland and meandering around a few lakes, twice. The run is tough but very scenic and you have plenty of chances to see your fellow team mates.


The two Steve’s, Grocock and Clark have been telling anyone who’ll listen that they haven’t been doing nearly enough training this year to compete at the very top, babies and idleness being their excuse. This year saw a particularly strong field due to the pending 70.3 World champs in South Africa as several qualifiers tested their fitness. Nevertheless Clark’s strong running saw him playing catch up to finish a creditable 7th in 4hrs 34m and second in his age group. A decent third place off the bike for Grocock wasn’t to last as he slid the opposite way down the pecking order to finish 13th in 4hr 44m.


Stuart Grocock, with IM Barcelona looming had his best performance to date finishing 3rd Squadder and 67th overall, over an hour quicker than last years’ time, things are going to plan. 2 minutes behind Stuart in a time of 5 hr 41 mins was a seemingly youthful Ed (Dan) Smith enjoying another visit to Ellerton Lake.


Time Trialist turned Duathlete and now Half Ironman Julian Hesp as expected had a strong 58 mile bike ride picking off dozens of competitors to finish comfortably under 6 hours in 5hrs 48mins.


Lincsquad’s very own Posh and Becks, Rick Longcake and Emma Watts crossed the line together after buddying up late on in the run. Rick’s biking clawed back Emma’s superior swim time. The IM Barcelona bound pair again finished well under the 6 hour mark in identical times of 5 hrs 51mins.


Mark Top-less Gollings certainly made an entrance and turned heads with his trusty bike shoehorned into his topless BMW. A strong race saw Mark finish just a few minutes behind the Beckhams in 5 hrs 53 mins.


Darren Hepworth was one of few who appeared to be enjoying the warm cross country run. Darren’s half marathon time was the 3rd fastest Squadder on the day helping him finish in an overall time of 5hr 57 mins.


No stranger to the Cleveland Steelman Jonathan Bower finished just over a minute behind Darren. I’m guessing Jonathan wasn’t treating this event as an ‘A’ race as he was seen kindly opening the cattle gates for fellow competitors.



John Chambers found the lake swim particularly distasteful, stopping to be sick on two occasions. It wasn’t long before his trademark cycling had him back in the mix and charging up the field. A gutsy performance from John had him crossing the line in 6hr 1min, all good prep for IM Wales in a few weeks.

Another Squadder joining John at Tenby will be Gary Horner, two strong disciplines saw Gary in a decent position but by his own admission his lack of run miles took its toll with the warm afternoon temperatures. Gary completing the half ironman distance in 6 hr 23 mins. Gareth Joseph’s training hasn’t quite been going to plan but nevertheless it wasn’t going to stop him from enjoying himself around the course. Completing the course in a smidge under 7 hours is testament to Gareth’s fitness. Both Josh Blackley and Richard Anness both had decisions to make when recurring injuries returned. An unfortunate injury during the bike for Richard meant he couldn’t start the run and retiring after one lap of the run for Josh was no doubt the sensible option.

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