Tenby! Registering for Ironman Wales

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As the candy houses of Tenby’s harbour glow in the evening light and sheltered boats bob gently just as they did in my childhood, something is different. Tenby is buzzing. 2000 competitors are here for the sold-out Wales Ironman, a huge endurance event, the longest, toughest, single day race in the world in one of my favourite places. We arrived just a few hours ago after driving from London to Cardiff for a stop, from there on to Tenby, breaking our road-trip at Castell Coch. Of course, Chef signed up for this Ironman 11 months ago and it’s been our main focus this year, but on arrival in Tenby, registering for Ironman Wales is priority number 1. If he didn’t make that deadline all the money ( it’s expensive!) and all the training ( it’s insane!) would be for nothing. This year he’s run up mountains in Nepal, cycled mountains in Romania and swum the length of the Thames ( kidding!) to prepare for Sunday. We shot into Tenby to register straight away. Little Boo is taking part in Iron Kids too, so he also had his moment today. There is so much excitement down here, so many shaven, wiry athletic men around town, female Ironmen too but not many. So many banners, so many flags, this is intense. Not many people get to experience the Ironman buzz and this is my second time seeing Chef through a full-distance Ironman event, my first time sharing it with you. If you’d like to read about his first Ironman, he’s written about it here.

Tenby Wales Fishing Harbour Pembokeshire
The Harbour at Tenby in Pembrokeshire, Could it be any prettier? This is my home country, my childhood holiday destination, it’s good to be back.

Chef’s first Ironman was back in Australia in Cairns but he’s competed in a couple of half distance events since. If you don’t know what an Ironman race involves, the organisers thoughtfully supplied the notice below. Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.


First time around in Australia I was terrified, I was sure he was going to kill himself racing in the tropical heat for 12 or so hours with no break. This time I’m a little more relaxed. Neither sun nor crocodiles will get him here in Wales but the hills and hairpin bends might, so I’m anxious. I’ll be very glad when it’s all over and my chef is home with us. If you follow the TV or internet coverage, you’ll find 1 Long in a sea of Joneses, Morgans and Lloyds..


A few pictures, to spread a little Ironman excitement from one of my favourite seaside towns in the world. Chef is hoping to complete the race in around 10 hours, but anything can happen in these events.

Wish us all luck!

A lovely Welsh welcome in the registration tent, every competitor gets a backpack with numbers, tattoos, swim cap, transition bags and other mystery Iron-gear.
” Oh you’re Australian!” “Well somebody’s got to win it!”
When we got married Chef wore my flag on his socks, I think he needs these too!
The bike leg, 112 miles of Welsh lanes and hills, pretty but tough.
Time for the Ironkids registration.

Boo is taking part in Ironkids, it’s just a 1K race, no swim or bike this time, but he was keen to have a go so we signed him up. D had no interest whatsoever and we’re cool with that. We well remember how much he hated being forced to run round the oval in the blazing sun when he briefly attended school. It’s probably not that experience that’s put him off, running just isn’t his thing. We’re all different and that’s fine. I hated school sports with a passion too and I didn’t start running and biking until my 20s so that bad experience didn’t do life-long damage, thankfully. Chef has always enjoyed running but didn’t start triathlon until he was 35.

This bracelet needs to stay on ’till Monday. We’ll apply his shoulder and thigh tattoos tomorrow after a final body shave.
Ironkids T shirt on Ready for Saturday! St Catherine’s Island, just off Tenby’s South Beach.
Maybe one day Boo! Good luck to all the Ironmen out there, stay safe.

A couple of days still to prepare while we enjoy our seaside apartment and the stunning scenery down here. Our Richmond friends have joined us for the event too, so a busy time ahead. It’s so good to be here and I’ll have loads of post coming out about Wales, my country, over the coming week. Good luck to all Wales Ironman competitors, and stay safe in Tenby.

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About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

4 thoughts on “Tenby! Registering for Ironman Wales”

  1. How exciting! I love that your son is competing too! Best of luck to them both!! 🙂 (And hopefully a peaceful day for you as they compete!)

    • No peace! I’ll be so nervous, 10+ hours on the edge of my seat. I’ll be in Tenby to watch the swim, which will be spectacular and take about an hour, after that I’ll retreat to a friend’s house if I can find a way with all the roads closed. The bikers will pass her garden twice, that’s the only chance I’ll get to see Chef until he finishes. It’s a high anxiety day but one that will be celebrated with many beers afterwards!

  2. Looks like an amazing experience! Have you been travelling with his bike or is he renting one for the race? Do your boys miss having bikes when you’re on the road? I’m currently planning a year (or more) of travel and the one thing my seven year old daughter is worried about leaving behind is her beloved bike; she rides it almost every day. I know that there are lots of options for renting them, do most rental places have children’s bicycles available? I don’t want her to miss out on one of her favourite activities.
    Sorry to be a bit off topic. Wishing you all a great weekend in a beautiful place!

    • Deanne, we bought them bikes in Romania, they never used them. They said they missed their bikes ( very rarely, but they did if asked), but when given them they had so many other options that bikes were forgotten. We wasted a fortune buying them bikes. It’s one of those perfect dreams of childhood we parents have, happy, bike riding kids….never happened with my two. They used them if forced only. I won’t make the mistake of thinking I “should” buy them things ever again. The diverse experiences they are accumulating are worth a million times more. Chef and I are serious bike riders, it came much, much later in life. Yes, Chef’s bike has travelled across Europe twice this year, once by plane, once in Sexy. His “Real” tri-bike is in Australia. He bought a perfectly good second hand tri bike on E-Bay in the UK, it does does the job and was way cheaper.


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