Intrinsic Managing Director Chris Roberts reached an all-time low during his third full Ironman and announced his retirement from competitive endurance events. “It hit me somewhere between losing half my carefully prepared peanut butter and jam sandwiches in the early stages” he reflects “and the realisation I had four hours of running still as the first finishers crossed the line.” Read on to learn how Chris stayed the course and had a change of heart.
Back where it began
“My Ironman 140.6 Kuopio-Tahko, Finland journey began like many do with some jovial banter amongst friends. On this occasion it was instigated by fellow Eastbourne businessman Matt Pysden of SPS Plumbing during a training session at Team Bodyworks xtc Club. Third musketeer Rob Light rose to the challenge of joining us to ‘celebrate’ his 50th birthday with an Ironman entry.
“Two deferrals, umpteen changes in travel plans and the instigator absent through injury, myself and Rob finally landed in Finland for the world’s most northerly full-distance Ironman. The drive from Helsinki to Tahko in the heart of the country’s Lakeland was spectacular through a heavily forested landscape bejeweled by pristine lakes. And it more than wet our appetite for the event itself: a two-loop 3.8km (2.4 miles) swim in the crystal waters of Syvari lake (in the protected Tahko Bay), a two-loop 180.2 km (112 mile) undulating bike course and a five-loop 42.2km (26.2 mile) rolling run.
Inspired course takes its toll
“I have to congratulate the course designers on creating a circuit that showed off the area at its finest, and the pontoon across the lake on the final approach to the finish line was an inspired flourish. Unfortunately, the latter was lost on me during my second run loop to the soundtrack “You Are an Ironman” welcoming the first (elite) finishers across the line. By my fourth loop the sight of it positively haunted me!
“Crossing the dread pontoon to finish 14th in category gave me plenty to reflect on: overall I was happy with the swim and bike, but the run was gruelling and finished me off. Be that as it may, my immediate thought was of retiring and never doing another one again. But it’ll come as no surprise to those who know me well that within 24 hours Intrinsic-sponsored athlete Matt Cox threw down the IM Estonia 2023 gauntlet and I was all ‘Never say never …’.
“My highlight? Aside from my carefully prepared peanut butter and jam sandwiches for the early stages of the bike, it has to be the buzz of being part of an endurance event. The adrenaline rush of nervous anticipation never fails to thrill 😅😅. And my ‘lowlight’? Have I mentioned dropping half said sandwiches and realising I had another four hours of running after they announced the first Ironman?😭😭.
“Above all, it was an amazing event, and as for the host nation, I honestly couldn’t have asked for more.”
- Ironman Kuopio-Tahko, Finland – Saturday 13th August 2022 (3.8km lake swim; 112km bike; 42.2km run)
- Team Intrinsic represents the combined interests of Intrinsic Facilities Engineering Ltd and Intrinsic Facilities Management Ltd
- Chris Roberts is founder and Managing Director
Chris Roberts’ Race Stats – Ironman 140.6 Kuopio-Tahko, Finland
Division Rank 14/24 (M55-59) – 13:18:43
Overall Rank 334/446
T1 (Swim to bike) 00:04:39
T2 (Bike to Run) 00:07:37