Emma Greaves took part in her first IRONMAN on July 17. With race preparation complete, it was time for the main event – swim 2.4 miles, cycle 112, then run the 26.2 miles of a marathon. All within the 17 hours cutoff!



Only 122 miles until I run a marathon! (Photos/Nigel Reynolds)

Emma ran in support of Cambridge Different Strokes. A group that proved indispensable in helping Emma’s Mother rebuild her life after suffering a stroke that left her debilitated.

This is Emma’s race report.

The event was very well organised with a lot of hype and a carnival atmosphere. A lot of effort was put in to making the athletes feel they were doing something special. Most of the route was on closed roads so the locals just settled in for the day to cheer on the competitors. The weather was warm with a mild breeze perfect for the swim and cycle, but the sun came out for the run and made the marathon uncomfortably hot.

For the lake swim, 2094 competitors entered the water in a continuous single file, it was like swimming in a washing machine. For the whole 2.4 miles Emma was battling for her own space in a crowd of swimmers, very choppy and overcrowded. Saying that, she felt she had a good swim and finished feeling fresh and ready for the cycle ride.

Swim – 1hr21: Transition 1 – 10min

Emma knew cycling was her weakest discipline so her main worry was completing the cycle ride by the cut-off time (accumulative time of 10hrs 30). The course was very hilly, the first lap went well and she was feeling confident that the hill training in Suffolk had paid off. On the second lap, as she tired, she found the hills much tougher on the second lap. It was only the crowds exceptionally enthusiastic encouragement that kept her going on the steep climbs, She admired how they kept up that level of encouragement for so many hours, quite a feat in itself!!

Cycle – 8hrs06: Transition 2 – 7min

The sun came out at the beginning of the run and Emma suffered in the heat. Part of the course was three and half, 6 mile loops, up and down a hill, she resorted to walking up and running down just to ensure she finished. Emma found it very tough and really struggled to run in the heat.

Run – 4hrs53

The whole Ironman was an amazing experience and the organisers made sure that Emma felt like a true Ironman as she ran over the finish line.

Emma was supported by Nigel and Miranda Reynolds, her two kids and her mum as well as her husband Justin who returned from China for the event. She has raised over £700 for Different Strokes, a Stroke Support group that has supported Emma’s mum for over 12 years.

Emma Greaves finished in 14hrs37, 122th out of 206 females, 1251st out of 2094 overall.

Emma’s backstory for running the IRONMAN

12 years ago my Mum, Sue, was at the College of West Anglia, completing the practical component of her Electricians course when she suddenly collapsed, she woke up later in Kings Lynn Hospital. She had suffered a Stroke which left her completely paralysed down her left-hand side. The impact on her physically and mentally was huge, besides being unable to walk or use her left arm, she would get easily confused and found simple tasks impossible.

My Mum knew how to do things but her body would not respond how she wanted, so was not able to do simple tasks such as, write or use a remote control. During rehab the damage took its toll and Mum found it difficult to find anything positive in the situation.

Thankfully Anne Diggins from the Cambridge Different Strokes Group took my mum under the groups wing, helping her to progress, giving her the support and understanding she needed.

The group has continued to give unwavering support over the years which has been invaluable to our family. The group not only visits new Stroke Survivors at Addenbrookes but also provides weekly sessions at Scotsdales Garden Centre which include speech therapy, outings, gym sessions and talks.

I would like to help the group expand their good work by asking you to sponsor me to complete the Bolton Ironman in July. Emma.

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