For those of us racing Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire (and that includes me too) it is now Race Week! Hopefully the previous few weeks and perhaps months of preparations have gone fairly smoothly (we all have bumps in the road, that’s just life!) and you are now looking forward to enjoying all of your efforts on race day.
When approaching an event at this time, there are the obvious issues of sensible preparation that arise during the lead up to any race – wherever it may be – and everything that comes under that broad umbrella. Examples of theses are good sleep, healthy nutrition and creating as minimal stress (as possible!) in daily life during this coming week.
Race Specific Preparation
However, asides from these points there are some key issues specific to Staffordshire which we should visit and spend some time looking at. Top of the list with this event are the logistical difficulties which need to be understood for a smooth a weekend of racing for both athletes and supporters combined.
Start and T1
Staffordshire has a separate start and ‘T1’ area which is located at Chasewater Country Park to that of the finish area and ‘T2’ which is based at Shugborough Estate. There is the sizeable distance of some 13 miles between these two locations, which creates some issues to consider, especially if you have friends and family coming along to support on race day.
Registration, the race expo and mandatory race briefings all happen within Shugborough Estate, and you can get yourself registered all day Friday, from 9am to 5pm or also on Saturday until 3pm. If possible, I would recommend trying to get registered at some point on the Friday as it simply frees up time on Saturday for other tasks! If you don’t have a license with British Triathlon (or affiliates, as in my instance – Triathlon Scotland) then you will be required to purchase a one day race license at a cost of £5, and there will be a ‘cash only’ system in operation to be mindful of.
Bike and the ‘blue bike bag’ drop off
Bike and the ‘blue bike bag’ (including everything you need to get from swim to bike: helmet, extra layers, sunglasses, bike shoes and nutrition etc) drop off will happen at Chasewater from between 8.30am and 4pm. Don’t be late!! That’s not the sort of panic you want to experience…
On the day logistics
Ironman are providing shuttle buses from Shugborough to Chasewater Country Park from early on Sunday morning, and given T1 opens from 5am, I would assume that buses must be leaving from around 4.30am…. again, don’t be late for these and induce an early wave of panic!
Usually at IM events the priority is for athletes (with wrist bands) in the first instance, so be aware that friends and family may have to travel separately. There will be further buses to allow spectators to get back to Shugborough in time to see athletes on the run section and of course the finish.
There are car parking options available at Shugborough and there is a link to buying these passes online via the race website, and then they can be collected from the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre.
It certainly is a more convoluted affair racing and spectating a race that has split transitions, but with a little extra preparation you and your family / spectators should still have a super day.
Finally, please come and say hello if you see me out and about over the weekend, I’m always happy to see folk at the races.