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Outlaw - Holkham 70.3

Earlier in the year, Havering Tri member Brett Thake took part in a new event on the tri calendar, the Outlaw Half at Holkham, North Norfolk.

He raced along with fellow HT members, Lee Skidmore, Olivia and Spencer Littlechild, and here is his report from the race:

Before I go into the race report I wanted to mention the following, take some time to really read the following for each discipline.

Swim: It’s OK to be last out of the swim.

Bike: It’s OK to use the bottom ring on the crank (granny ring as most cyclist know it as).

Run: It’s OK to walk on the run.

The reason I mentioned this is because everyone is always worried about two out of three of these. Most importantly you are on the start line and thousands of others are not and have not even signed up for it.

I finished my first middle distance triathlon, this is 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run. This is more commonly know as half ironman distance. My finish time is at the end.

Swim – 1.2 mile

The swim was a bit strange in the fact that the water was not that deep, when standing it came up to my chest. When I entered the water I was surprised to feel that it wasn’t that cold and this was at 06:30, after I found out it was around 19c. The other thing was that everyone sunk in the mud at the bottom, it felt like I had moon boots on while waiting for the start.

We were off and it was hectic and all the mud came up from the bottom and you couldn’t see a thing, this cleared after about 150m, but I loved it. It was an out and back swim and went anti-clockwise. The only trouble I had was spotting the buoy’s, this was because the sun was coming up, I opted to just follow the person in front.

I knew the end of the swim was near as the water became cloudy and you could smell the mud. Coming out of the purpose built pontoon OSB built I was surprised that I was not as dizzy as I normally am and I headed into T1. This is were I transition from the swim to the bike.


During this transition I took my time and prepared for the bike section. One tip I was given was to have a couple of mouthfuls of full fat coke once out of the water, as it kills off anything you may have swallowed during the swim. I gave it a try and was pleased I didn’t have an upset stomach like I have before.

Bike – 56 Miles

The start of the ride was on a hill that lasted just under 2 miles, this was to exit Holkham Hall grounds onto the public roads. Once on the roads the course was very undulating, it kept going up and down for most of it. There wasn’t any major hills as such but there were inclines that just went on and on.

As the bike is my strongest discipline I was very conscious of not going too mad. I made an effort of not going over 200 Watts and tried to keep my cadence at 90 RPM. This worked and helped rein me back in a couple of times I got carried away.

There was a few times on the course that it was fast to the point I was hitting 30 mph+ on the flat, I do believe this was down to my triathlon bike as well. Nathan at Yellow Jersey Cycles in Billericay really did build an animal. Just to point out he is the only person I will let touch my bike and an amazing mechanic. get in touch if you need anything.

Coming to the end of the bike I spun my legs a bit faster to wake them up just before

I entered T2.


Entering Transition 2 to the cheers of my wife was amazing. I felt good and was looking forward to the last part of this event. Again I took my time and made sure I had everything I needed.

Before I left the area I noticed my friend Oliva who was part of a relay and was waiting to start the run. I went over and wished her luck, she look surprised and said I was going the wrong way. This did make me laugh as I just wanted to wish her luck.

Run – 13.1 miles

This was without doubt the hardest run I have ever done. It was disgusting. The run consisted of 3 laps of a 7km loop, 3.5km of each lap was uphill. It was very hot as well.

I walked a number of times and this didn’t matter as I knew at this point I would finish.

There were 2 feed stations every lap giving out water, flat coke, gels and other treats.

I did make myself laugh as I approached the 2nd feed station where I was offered a jaffa cake, straight away I said no and thought to myself you’re on a diet, then I snapped out of it remembered what I was doing so I had two. I was laughing about this for a good few miles.

The thing that made the laps easier was that my amazing wife was there cheering me on at the end of each one and I stopped to give her a kiss every time.

On my final lap I felt good and kept with the ‘if I need to walk I will’ approach and this worked wonders. I approached the finishing shute feeling great and to finish felt amazing.

This was the biggest event I have entered and I went in with the attitude of breaking it down into 3 events and not worrying about the next part until I was doing it. It worked well for me.

My finishing time: it doesn’t matter, I finished and enjoyed the event. I would encourage others to do this also.

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