One of the first things I did after finding out Adrian had a place at the Ironman World Championships was sign up to take part in the Training Swim.
Here we are before the start, in our swimskins.
The Hoala swim takes place about a week before the event on the big island and is a chance for you to swim the 3.8k Ironman course. The course is one big loop which begins as a deep water start just off Kona's famous Dig Me beach. You swim out for what seems like miles before eventually hitting a turning buoy, you then swim across to another before making a right turn and swim back towards the shore.
We lined up near the back of the field, as quite a few pros take part and there were a lot of fast swimmers in Kona as you would expect for a field full of ironman age groupers. The gun went off and off we went. I managed to keep up with Adrian for most of the first leg out then lost him as I hit the turning buoy. There were loads of people swimming around me but as turned towards the shore for a while I lost the pack I was swimming in and then was all on my own. I do remember thinking I hope there are no flipping sharks lurking and then just tried to push that thought out of my head while I swam in the direction of the shore. It did seem a long, long way until I reached the finish, but I was super pleased to see Adrian standing waving madly at me and that I was only a couple of minutes behind him. I was very pleased with my time which was faster than my normal wetsuit one (I must be the only person I know to swim slower in a wetsuit) and delighted to have had the experience of swimming the iconic course.
The event is really well organised, there are loads of paddle boarders lining the route, you have a timing chip as well as get a lovely t-shirt and beautiful wooden finishers medal at the end not to mention a lovely breakfast of fresh fruit.
If you ever get the chance to go, then do this event!