Konnichiwa from Miyakojima
Its been 20 years since I last raced in Japan and I was excited to come back and race in the 33rd Strongman Triathlon one of the oldest and biggest races in Japan, so popular is this event over 3500 people apply to race but only 1700 can take part.
The Strongman Triathlon is nearly an Ironman distance event with a 3km swim, 157km bike and finally a 42km run. The race takes place on the tiny Island of Miyakojima some 1900km south of Tokyo and just off the coast of Taiwan. The Island has three smaller islands just off it's coast and are connected by bridges the longest being 5km long which we go over during the bike course.
Race morning came and I was not feeling well, I was coming down with something and was thinking about not racing or just finishing the swim! I was one of the last athletes into T1 and only arrived 5mins before registration closed. I was not motivated at all to race because I didn't think I would be finishing. I prepared all my Balance gels and electrolyte drinks and walked down to the swim for the 7am start. Once the gun went off I actually didn't feel to bad swimming and made sure I got on to the lead pack of swimmers which was around 6 athletes. The swim course was in clear blue tropical waters and at around 24c it made the wetsuit swim very warm. The course was marked off in typical Japanese accuracy as we just had to look up every few hundred meters to see how far we had swam with volunteers holding the exact distances on signs.
I finished the swim leg in 6th but made up some time in transition and headed out in 4th trying to chase down Germany's Simon Jung who I eventually caught at the 10km mark. I was able to get a slight gap just before the second bridge and went about trying to increase the lead from there on. The road surface was just fantastic! super fast but the only problem was the wind was building by the hour, add in the undulating bike loop and it was one tough little course. The coastal loop around the island was spectacular especially the southern end of the island which featured a loop out to the famous Higashi lighthouse. By the bike to run transition I had built up a lead of some 4:30mins to Simon and 14mins to Canadian Shawn Wilyman, I wasn't feeling my strongest but I was getting through the race so far! Only a marathon to deal with now! This was where I was starting to worry about how I would really feel as it's hard enough to run a marathon at 100% let alone feeling 70%. The run was quite brutal as it was a out and back one loop course, 21km out and 21km back, put in a head wind on the return leg and the sun coming out just before the end of the bike and it was turning into a warm day. Every aid station I would grab around 4-6 sponges putting them over my head or into my 2XU race suit to try and cool my core temp down.
I was hoping my lead was building during the run but I wasn't able to get a real split to 2nd pace until I reached the half way point where I could see I had a lead of some 6mins to Simon. The final 21km back to the finish line was tough as we ran into a head wind and rising temperatures. The final 400m of the run was on the Miyakojima running track so it was great to finish just under the 8hr mark for one very hard but beautiful race. The awards party was quite amazing, I received over 7 trophies to take home and 4 which stay on the island(probably because they are just to big for anyone to take!) Plus A years supply of Beer! I'm now having a very easy week off and then I have the Asia-Pacific Ironman Championships in Cairns, Australia on June 11th. Thanks once again for your continued support.
Kind Regards Cameron Brown
Miyakojima Strongman Triathlon 3km Swim, 157km Bike, 42km run
1st Cameron Brown 7:49:10
2nd Simon Jung, Germany7:56:26
3rd Shawn Wilyman, Canada 8:02:03
4th Viktor Aloshyn,Ukraine 8:17:12
5th Damien Collins, Australia 8:18:14
Highlights of the race can be seen here