SCHULL Triathlon Club chairman Ian Haseldine recently completed the gruelling Boston City Marathon for the first time in his career.
The sporting enthusiast, who is a national school principal in West Cork, overcame treacherous weather conditions to finish the world-renowned marathon.
Ian was thrilled to complete the famous marathon.
“It was a great feeling and sense of accomplishment to finish the Boston Marathon. It was a very proud moment when I crossed the line,” declared the endurance runner.
The Boston Marathon which is a long established annual marathon which attracts a global TV audience and 30,000 participants was held this year in hazardous conditions which ensured the marathon was a gruelling ordeal revealed Ian.
“Conditions were very tough.
"It was snowing on the morning of the marathon which was not forecasted. This meant I did not pack enough running clothes.
"I had to wear everything I had, but it quickly got waterlogged and very heavy so had to be discarded. "At the start, it was four degrees with sleet and 25 to 30 mph headwind.
"Fortunately the sleet turned to rain, unfortunately it fell at two inches per hour. The medical tents started filling up half-way through the marathon with runners suffering hypothermia.
"It was a very tough marathon. At Heartbreak Hill, the cold hit me like a ton of bricks and I could no longer run at pace.
"I hobbled the last six miles to the finish line.”
Ian, who is a notoriously competitive athlete has excelled in a variety of sporting disciplines throughout the years. He was a well-established soccer player and alpine skier during his college years.
He completed in the inaugural Fastnet Triathlon in 2004 and has competed in many triathlons and duathlons which include Ironman events.
Ian has also competed at the European AG Championships. He grew up in Vermont, USA, always dreamt about competing in the Boston Marathon.
Security has noticeably increased in Boston since the tragic bombings which sadly erupted on Patriots Day, April 2013.
“This was my first Boston Marathon.I have been trying to qualify for Boston for the past few years, so I was very happy when I was accepted.
"Since 2013, the security is very tight. The Army National Guard were not only along the route, but on the rooftops throughout the race.
"It was very comforting to look up and see someone looking out for our safety, especially as I served for ten years in the Vermont Army National Guard.
"I know how dedicated these people are and felt very safe. "Following the conclusion of the race, I met up with friends from school, some of whom I hadn't seen in nearly 30 years.”
Ian only received three months notice with regard his participation in the Boston Marathon. This hindered his preparation and training schedule he admits.
“I certainly did not train enough for this event, but I am not known for my training. Our club trains most nights running between five and 10 km every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Every Tuesday and Thursday, I went swimming which ranged from 500 to 1,500 metres.
"I usually go cycling on Saturdays during which I cycle between 50 to 95 km. I run every Sunday, usually between 10 and 20 km.
"In the run-up to the Boston Marathon, I had to focus on running and gym work. I was doing approximately 80 km every week.”
Ian plans to take a short break for the foreseeable future before he attempts his next big challenge. The West Cork endurance athlete is always seeking new opportunities.
“I will take a break for a few days then ease back in to the Tri Club training schedule. I have no plans yet for the next event. I have done many marathons, triathlons and cycling races over the years, including racing for Ireland in ETU age group categories and Ironman races both internationally and locally.
"I also officiate at international level. I am always looking for the next challenge.”
The endurance athlete has firmly established himself in Cork since he moved here from the United States.
He has firmly enshrined himself in his local community. He is chairman of the progressive Schull Triathlon Club, a role he loves.
“I have been chairperson of Schull Triathlon Club for the past four years. This is a great club with mixed levels and a great social side, with training from beginners to seasoned veterans.
"I have been race director of the Centra Fastnet Triathlon for the past four years. We have been National Series for three out of the four years, which is a great honour.
"I played soccer and skied at college level, but I am no longer able to participate in contact sports. I started doing triathlons and never looked back.”
The numbers of Irish people participating in endurance events have increased dramatically in recent years.
Ian is delighted people are choosing to cherish their health and lifestyle by considerably boosting their fitness levels.
“I think the increase in people doing marathons and triathlons can be contributed to a lifestyle change in Ireland. People seem to be more interested in training and less interested in unhealthy lifestyles.
"If we increase funding for sport, we won’t need as many consultants, we won’t need as many doctors and we won’t need as many hospitals. It's a win, win situation.”