Melton's Mark Bone puts in a night shift to complete one of the country's toughest ironman triathlon tests

Midnight Man event finished in sub-16 hours...

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 10:22 am
Mark Bone.

Mark Bone has completed one of the toughest ironman triathlons in the country.

The Midnight Man event is the only through-the-night ironman race in England, but the thought of taking on the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle and and marathon-distance run challenge while suffering from sleep deprivation only inspired the Melton athlete more.

“(The race) appealed to me as it’s regarded as one of the toughest on the circuit due to sleep deprivation making it hard to complete and very difficult to train for,” Mark told The Times.

“Training was tough for this one due to the restrictions plus work commitments thrown into the mix, and I did wonder many times if I’d bitten off more than I could chew.

“I was a little nervous during the build-up and final weeks before the event but this is always a good sign for me and keeps me focused on the job in hand.

“Doing an endurance event like this you know what you are going to get when you cross the start line - it’s never going to be comfortable, but I guess that is why people do it as your putting yourself outside the comfort zone to achieve a personal goal.”

While Mark is a veteran on ironman triathlons with more than 1,500 entrants, fewer than 100 hardy souls lined up for this event in Dartford.

Mark reached the halfway mark of the swim on schedule before he developed cramp in both lower legs and couldn’t kick for the last mile, forcing him to use only his arms to get to the finish.

Last out of the lake he had it all to do and started hard on the bike leg, trying not to think of the distance but instead break it down into smaller segments.

The bike leg was completed around 4.20am, with the Melton competitor passing several riders.

Mark maintained his discipline when he began the 26-mile run.

“So often regarded as the hardest of the three disciplines during an Ironman after already having done all those miles during the swim and bike legs, this particular marathon was the highlight of my race,” Mark explained.

“It was pretty special racing as the world started to awake. From the wildlife which included foxes and badgers, plus all types of song birds which all started appearing as the light began to dawn and then the noise of industry as people made their way to work.”

Mark completed the challenge in 15 hrs 45 mins, well within the 17-hour cut off time.

“(It was) a lot slower than my goal of below 14 hours, but having started badly and actually having enjoyed the marathon, I drove back up the M1 from Dartford to Melton with a smile on my face,” Mark said.