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Well done to Dyfed-Powys NARPO member Andy Phillips of Saundersfoot who recently completed the gruelling 2015 Long Course  Course Weekend event held in Tenby - this article Andy gives an insight into how he took up such a demanding hobby.
 
LONG COURSE WEEKEND
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A proud and tired Andy in Tudor Square,Tenbyafter receiving his medals.
 
What is The Long Course Weekend?
 
Since 2010, South Pembrokeshire has played host to one of the most difficult triathlons in Wales – the Long Course Weekend. This unique event lasts three days in July, accommodating some of the best triathlon talent in the world, including a number of IRONMAN UK athletes. The event serves as the perfect preparation for the IRONMAN Wales event which is held in Tenby during September when athletes complete all three disciplines in one day!
 
LONG COURSE WEEKEND
Swimmers making their way to the first marker buoy during the 2.4 mile swim.
 
To kick-off the weekend, on the Friday evening, the Long Course athletes have the Wales Swim to complete – nearly 2,000 swimmers compete in a 2.4 mile open water swim that starts and finishes on Tenby’s picturesque North Beach. On Saturday, their attention turns to The Wales Sportive cycle ride - 112 miles of undulating, beautiful south Pembrokeshire countryside lined with enthusiastic crowds. To finish off the weekend, the athletes have the daunting task of completing the 26.2 miles of The Wales Marathon, which is a fantastic event in its own right.
 
LONG COURSE WEEKENDRunners passing through East End Square, Pembroke during the marathon & half marathon event.
 
So how did Andy get involved in such a demanding sport?
 
‘I had always been a runner, especially after leaving the army, but after watching the first two Ironman Wales events I was inspired and started training to become a tri-athlete.  I completed my first Sprint Triathlon in April 2013, a month before my 50th birthday, and then in June of the same year I travelled to the New Forest and participated in my first Middle Distance event.  
 
During that year I entered all three events of the Long Course Weekend in Tenby and a few months later completed Ironman Wales with a time of 13 hrs 41 minutes.  I have now completed three Long Course Weekends and a second Ironman Wales in 2014.  
 
At the end of July, I will be travelling to Nottingham to compete in the Outlaw Triathlon - another full distance Ironman event, thankfully the course is a bit flatter than in Pembrokeshire!  Swimming is my weakest discipline, and so last year I also completed the Caldey Island to Tenby Swim which gave me more confidence in undertaking the Ironman swim discipline, which was very difficult in 2014 due to the rough sea conditions’.
 
For the record, here are Andy’s times for the 2015 event:-
 
Event    Time Overall Position
Swim
01:33:33 266
Bike 07:02:05 117
Marathon 04:11:33 192
Finish Time 12:47:31 153
 
 
(During his Police career Andy served throughout the force area including Welshpool, Newtown, Pembroke Dock, Carmarthen and Haverfordwest.  He retired in July 2014 as the Inspector in charge of the Operations Protect Team at Thornton, Milford Haven and had overall responsibility for the ARV’s located in Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Llandrindod Wells. He is currently the Operations Manager at Cranc CycleSport in Carmarthen, which deals in fitting, selling, repairing and servicing bikes which is very much linked to Andy’s hobby!)
 
If you have been inspired to take part in the 2016 Long Course Weekend by reading this article, then you can enter by clicking on: http://longcourseweekend.com/enter/
 
Thanks to Andy for giving us an insight into the ultimate endurance challenge – additional information compiled by Hugh Colley