Russel Breyer and I went to Fly the GB Quadrathlon Flag at the ‘The Hannover Long Distance World Quadrathlon Championships, it also slots in a number of well attended triathlons over all distances, Sprint, Olympic, Half and Ironman, plus the Sprint and Long distance quad. Although there were only 30 individual starters for the LD quad, there were a number of relay teams. It was a busy weekend with literally thousands of competitors buzzing around, the venue can handle it, and it made for a great atmosphere. Quad Race Organizer ‘Tomas Kälble’ from Kayak-Club Limmer let us stay at the club, a superb set up, we stayed in our camper, but other athletes camped and others used the bed flats, kitchen, showers, etc the facilities were excellent and we were made to feel most welcome!
Russel had done the event 2 years previously but in a relay team. For me it was its my first attempt at this long distance race and I was so looking forward to this challenge, though a little worried about the long swim, as it was rumored to be a not wet suit swim as it had been so hot! Fortunately for me, the weather Gods were on my side, and it clouded up the day before the water temperature dropped so wetsuits were declared!
So, into the water for a 7:15 start in the 3.8km swim, which took place in a ship canal. It’s a bit weird swimming under industrial cranes and what have you, but the water seems clean enough (indeed, you can see the obligatory shopping trolleys/old chairs etc at the bottom). Neither Russel or I were near the front of the swim, it was 2 laps, almost 1km up, 1 km down x 2. Lucky for us the Ironman had started 15 mins earlier, so as a lot of the Blue swim Quad caps disappeared on the 2nd lap we started to catch up the red caps, back end of the triathlon … this certainly motivated me to push harder I knew once I was out I could began to relish the fact of the great day ahead!
There was then a 300m run up hill to the bike transition, for a three lap 90km through pleasant countryside, and small villages. It was a fairly flat, fast course, not unlike Brigg, with the notable difference being that the traffic was managed (in favour of cyclists) by a large number of police officers at absolutely every junction. Heaven knows what the council tax must be, though on the plus side accidents must be a rarity. The roads were so quiet, and we were quite spread out by this time, though the Ironman race was well underway and they had 6 bike laps to do so I soon started to hear those disc wheels powering up behind me! There were plenty of crowds as we came into transition, and lots of encouragement as we ran down the road, over the tram lines at least 800m to the kayak transition.
The 20km paddle was up and down a stretch of canal just over a kilometer long, so 18 lengths in total…the scenery gets a bit repetitive, but at least the lengths flash by. Another word on that scenery…the backdrop, right by the canal, is a derelict Contintenal tyre factory which was a concentration camp in WW2, where many (slave) laborers perished. Not making a point here, just paying respect! The weather was beautiful 24 degrees and I was so looking forward to getting back on the river in my kayak, it was quite choppy in parts with over 30 kayaks on the short stretch, 9 laps so you could see everyone paddling. The standard of the paddling was certainly ‘Top of the Quad World’ the main contenders were on fire and they were using wash hanging tactics to pull each other along, and had very slick turns around buoys! Thankfully the ladies were a little bit more sympathetic, though I must say this being my best discipline I did push my boundaries and cut up a few turns rather tight! This was the first time I had seen Russel, he was just short of one lap behind, we encouraged each other at our passing points and kept each other going! On my last few laps I ran out of hydration so I had to get Dave to squirt water in my mouth from the bank … I was quite surprised at what a good aim he had, enough to keep me going until the end of the kayak section!
Looking at the quadrathletes running along the bank after being in a kayak for around 2 hours it was clear that getting out of the boat and going onto the run was going to be painful! Russel’s words were ‘So, out of the boat with my glutes so trashed, generating any power through the legs for a half marathon run is out of the question. I ran a pained shuffle for a couple of hours, then, around the (attractive and mercifully flat) local park, and over the finish line for a well-earned collapse! I also did take a while to get into my running stride, but after about 2km and a good feed at the water station I began to get into my rhythm, I really enjoyed the first lap, and saw the winning Ironmen going past (very sprightly), I even got a high five from the lead Ironman on my second lap … which really perked me up! At the turn a round point I could see Russel coming towards me, I did think he was closing, we exchanged ‘good friendly GB banter’ and that gave me the incentive to dig a bit deeper! My second lap seemed to go really fast, though looking at my garmin my splits were almost the same. Im my mind the last 2km felt so good, not sure if my legs agreed, my good friend ‘Lisa Teichert’ who had long finished cheered me on up the last hill, her enthusiasm motivated to push hard to the finish line! I did have tears of joy in my eyes, I was so proud to be finishing what had been my ultimate Quadrathlon Goal for a few years … it had been such a brilliant day!
I was 5th Lady and the World Long Distance Quad Vet 60 Champion (mind you I was the oldest chick in the race!) 9hrs 23mins. Russel wasn’t far behind he came home 9hrs 33mins both of us very proud in what was a top class field of strong Quadrathletes!
Russel’s words ‘The distances in this race equate roughly to doing a standard quad three times over. Not being much of a long distance athlete, I found the format really tough…I’d take 3 x Briggs any day!
The results pages show what a high standard of racing there was. The standard of organsiation, and general friendliness, was really great, though we did struggle a little bit with the translation at the race briefing, it was a good job Jean and I had a good recki before hand! The Hannover L.D. Quad is something every quadrathlete should do once, though in my case it maybe just the once!’
Jean’s words I enjoyed almost every moment of this day, (it improved dramatically after the swim) It has been a long term goal now ticked, and also part of my 60th Birthday Challenge for #beat charity. www.justgiving.com #Beat jean-ashley Thank-you to all my training buddies, friends … and my amazing (long suffering) DAVE who supports me along the way … he polished my kayak, my bike and cheered me on for 9hrs 23mins on a very hot day … he’s a star! Would I do it again ….. Never say Never … and probably YES, my mind will be willing lets just hope the body can cope!
A Big Thank-you to the Wasserstadt Hannover-Limmer Triathlon & Quadrathlon Organization, I really enjoyed your Quad, big thanks to all those marshals and to the Team that made it all possible! See you in 2020!
Report by Jean and Russel.
Full Report and Results quadrathlon4you.com 2018 Hannover Report