Craig Hazelden, Alpha-1 Kid parent, set out to do an Ironman triathlon in Bolton, England to raise funds for the Alpha-1 Foundation on July 2, 2023. Craig’s son, Lando was diagnosed last year at only a few months with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. The Ironman event consisted of a 2.4-mile open water swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.22-mile marathon. The terrain of the course was very hilly for running and cycling and called for extensive training. Despite an injury sustained during training, Craig was able to complete the 140.6-mile triathlon in 14 hours, 40 minutes, and 45 seconds and raise over $4,600 in funds for a cure for Alpha-1.
Ironman Journey by Craig Hazelton
It was an early start on the day of the challenge, I got into the water in my seeding group at around 6:15 am. It was a rather windy day and it made for a lot of chop on the water and Pennington Flash was a lot murkier than the lake I had been training in, I couldn’t see my own hands under the water! There was also a lot of bumping around with other athletes and getting dragged, hit, and sometimes swam over, something that training didn’t really prepare me for!
I knew on the first lap of the swim that the calf injury from 3 weeks previous was not completely healed, but I made sure to stretch whilst swimming and concentrated on not tensing my leg too much. The wind picked up on the second lap and so did the chop in the water. It felt slower but my time out of the water was 1 hour 28 minutes.
It was then on to the next stage. Transition 1 went well, and I was out on the bike about 12 minutes later. The wind made the bike leg very challenging. I enjoyed riding the hills in the Pennines, and the support in the city centre was amazing. People having parties on the route there was a lot to take in and enjoy. The atmosphere among the riders was also a lot of fun. Having your name on your race number is a great idea by Ironman and made it a lot more social.
At 7 hours and 52 minutes I rolled into transition 2, got my running kit on and 11 minutes later set out on lap 1 of the 26.22 mile marathon.
The route went round the park and city centre before a long out and back along a straight road out of town. Each lap you collected a different colored wristband to mark your progress, and everyone was looking out to see how many each other person had.
It was a long and tiring final leg of the day, but I felt a lot more relaxed knowing that the swim that I had picked up an injury on previously, and the bike leg that could have had a race ending mechanical failure were now complete. I just had to keep moving forward and eventually I would be turning right on my final lap into the finishing chute.
The support was once again incredible throughout, the Army cadets provided most of the aid station volunteers. Judging by their elevating levels of excitement throughout the day I am pretty sure they were told to eat and drink as much of the high sugar and caffeinated items as they wanted!
After 4 hours and 57 minutes of running I crossed the line and heard the words “You are an Ironman”. I got my medal, had it engraved, got a finishers T-shirt and the first of many slices of pizza in the finishers area.
The total time was 14 hours, 40 minutes, and 45 seconds. A time I am very pleased with, especially given the last 3 weeks leading up to the race.
I cannot express how amazing all the support has been from friends, family, and colleagues – in particular Stannah Major Projects. Their encouragement and support has meant a lot. I am also massively grateful for all of those who have donated to my JustGiving page raising money for the Alpha-1 Foundation.Craig Hazelden
To make a donation to the Alpha-1 Foundation in honor of Craig Hazelden’s Ironman Triathlon, click here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/craigalpha1