The body is a temple. it can be cared for, it can be abused and in an athletes case it can be pushed to extremes and exhausted, so as on occasion the audience gets to witness crazy yet incredible things.
On 8 June 2011, 26 year old former army member Ian Walsh, will attempt to complete five Ironman’s in five days. He will be competing in the European Ultra Triathlon Championships in Bournemouth in the South of England. The Waterford man will be entering the Quintuple Enduroman Race which consists of a 2.5 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26 mile run, but he will be doing it five times, totting up an impressive total of 702.5miles.
Each morning for five days Ian will line up for take off at 6am. He will survive on a mixture of liquids and solid foods and 3 fat filled meals will be served a day. “Il just slog it out, I’ve never done an Ironman before but I’ve competed in a few triathlons and I used to box and kickbox with the army.” Walsh has also completed the annual 100km run in Galway and an 80km run in Switzerland. “I suppose i do it because i can, to test myself but also no one else does it.” he says. Walsh has kept his crucial support team surprisingly simple. It consists of only one member, his girlfriend Leanne Carberry; “I heard a story of these two men where one brought a whole support team, physiotherapist, the works and he failed to complete it. The other guy just brought his 80year old granny and he succeeded, so I’m going to go with the latter.”
His strength lies in the run, his enjoyment in the cycle. Ian has been extremely lucky on the injury front considering the huge amount of training he undertakes on a daily basis.At an earlier stage, he started off with a one hour swim in the morning, 75miles on the bike and a 14mile run. He then began to build it up to an hour and a half swim, 90mile cycle and 19mile run everyday for 5days followed by a 3 days rest. An Ironman competitor is allowed 22 hrs to complete the race each day, unsurprizingly Ian Walsh’s target is much more ambitious at 14hrs per day.
For 6-9 months what you eat for, sleep for, exercise for, all you think about is the Ironman, it consumes you. After it you’re wiped out, drained both physically and mentally. 50% of people who do the Ironman fall into depression afterwards because they go from constant training and healthy eating to a lull, to a gap in their lives. To that Walsh said; “I just won’t stop, I’ll have an active rest. I have a kickboxing fight coming up in America a month after it anyway.”
To date, he has raised €2,000 for the Share a Dream Foundation, a charity that fulfills the dreams of children with terminal illnesses. To donate, log onto my.charity.ie/event/ianslittlerace.