#TeamRutland: Racing the ITU Long Distance Championships 2018

Words by David Hicks

on 27/07/2018 10:04:18

Josh Holman is a #TeamRutland Ambassador and GB Age Group Triathlete. Find out more about Josh >

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For the second time I qualified to represent GBR in Long Distance Triathlon, this time at the World Championships in Denmark. It is a privilege to be able to represent your country, doing something you love and I was very excited to get to the start line!

On arrival in Denmark, the weather was near identical to that at home, with temperatures over and above 26 degrees. This was great for me as I love competing in hot conditions and I thrive off of the challenge. The country was very beautiful and the roads felt smooth which was encouraging for race day.

Race registration and briefing was the same tedious task it always is, but I value the importance of it and it stood as a good opportunity to ask questions, and make sure that I hadn't forgotten anything leading up to race day.

Bike racking and bag checkin was a different matter. Usually at big races like this you can check your own bags into transition so you know exactly where you need to go heading out of each discipline, but at this race, it was done by the organisers, so I had to trust that my T1 & T2 bags would find themselves in transition waiting for me on race day. Also with the hot conditions, I thought it would be a good idea to let the pressure out of my tyres overnight so that they didn't burst when I checked the pressures the following morning. I've seen this happen to people in the past and didn't want to take the risk!

Another spanner in the works were reports of jelly fish in the harbour which we would be swimming the 3000m swim leg in, and upon inspection, it wasn't a lie! You could see hundreds of jelly fish floating around the harbour which was a little unsettling but we were all assured that these jelly fish wouldn't be harmful... but would still sting you!

Race morning. Up early ready to make sure I have everything organised and then to force down some breakfast. For me it was a bowl of musli and a banana with two pieces of jam on toast.

Lucky for me, race start was just a 10 minute walk down the road and as myself and my girlfriend where staying with a couple of other athletes we could all stroll down together which helped to settle any nerves we had. I did one last check of my bike, pumped up my tyres and then it was time to make my way down to the start line. I wriggled into my wetsuit, said my goodbyes and jumped into the water with the rest of my start wave. A quick warm up and then 3, 2, 1... we're off!

The start was a mass brawl! Arms and legs flying everywhere! It took around 500m to get any clear space and settle into a rhythm at which point I had been pushed back and so I found myself having to sight my way through the field. After the half way turn around point I was in a fairly decent pack and we were making good progress. My fingers were tingling from all of the jelly fish, but I felt comfortable and I was approaching the finish. I exited the swim in just under 47 minutes having swam nearly 3500m due to the rough start! Into T1 and to my surprise I found my bag quite quickly. A quick change, sprint to my bike and off we go again!


After all of the hot weather we had been having, I was surprised to find myself a little cold on the bike, but it was obvious the temperature had dropped and there was also a very strong crosswind so it took a little while to get my legs warm. It was a 2 lap bike course and after the first lap I felt pretty good. I was struggling to hold position on some of the rolling hills, but I was passing more people than were passing me so that can only be good! Even in the strong crosswinds I was averaging around 38kph, which is nothing to shout about, but in the conditions I was happy. My Zipp 303 & 404 we're coping brilliantly in the wind, not a sign of any twitchiness, even through the corners, and they felt fast which only gave me more confidence. At the end of lap 2 and heading into transition I had completed the 121k bike course in 03:13:03 and was currently sitting 8th in my AG.

Giant Trinity Advanced Pro 0 2018 Carbon Triathlon Bike Black

Giant Trinity Advanced Pro 0

Josh is racing the 2017 model of the Trinity Advanced Pro 0. Engineered using Computational Fluid Dynamics and dynamic wind-tunnel testing, the Trinity delivers supreme aerodynamic performance in a race-ready package. Made for real-world triathlon performance, it offers a comfortable fit for long distance training and racing. And its unique AeroVault system includes an integrated front hydration unit, top tube storage box and downtube water bottle that, together, actually improve the bike's aero performance on the road.

  • Frame - Advanced-Grade Carbon Composite
  • Fork - Advanced-Grade Carbon Composite w/Alloy OverDrive Steerer
  • Drivetrain - SRAM Red eTap 2x11 Speed
  • Brakes - Giant SpeedControl SL Calliper

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T2 didn't go quite as smoothly as T1, at first I couldn't find my bag which was frustrating, and once I did find it, I slipped over running into the changing area. But I managed to compose myself and I was soon out of transition and onto the run! It was a 4 lap run course worth a very undulating terrain along tarmac, grass and loose gravel. First lap felt good, I was chasing people down and making up places. The support was fantastic! By the end of the third lap I was into 4th position and my pace was still strong. Onto the fourth lap and it was clear the podium was just out of reach, but I was going to run hard into the finish no matter what and that's exactly what I did! I finished the 30.5k run course in 01:18:14 and crossed the finish line in a total time of 06:03:50.


4th place in my AG out of a very strong field and 13th place overall at the World Championships. Looking back I am very pleased with my performance on the day, taking into account the tough conditions. I met some great people on this trip and I have learnt a lot from the experience. With just 4 weeks until my next race, I'm more motivated than ever and ready work even harder than before!

Thank you to everyone that continues to support me on this crazy journey!



Josh Holman

Instagram: ironman.josh

Twitter: Ironman_Josh

I am an amateur triathlete and Team GB Age Grouper in Long Distance Triathlon. I first embarked on my triathlon journey back in July 2016 where I completed my first and only triathlon at the time, Ironman UK. Having totally fallen in love with the sport, I have not looked back since, completing a further two Long Distance triathlons and a number of Olympic Distance triathlons.

During this time I have represented my country at the European Long Distance Championships, taken part in a few crazy cycle rides, the most famous being the 'Cambridge Pork Pie Ride' to Melton Mowbray and back, and also a number of marathons, most recently the iconic London Marathon, all whilst trying to share my passion and inspire as many people as possible along the way.

My goal for this year is quite simple. Strive for progression every single day and enjoy the process! I have recently PB'd at the London Marathon in a time of 2:42:20 and my next race is the Grafman Middle Distance Triathlon on 20th May, followed by Challenge Samorin-Slovakia 70.3 on the 3rd June and then the ITU Fyn World Long Distance Championships in Denmark on the 14th July. I will then need to sit down with my coach and discuss what races I will do in the second half of the year, but for now, I am excited, motivated and looking forward to pushing myself to the limits.

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