First-time IRONMAN: Adam Bowden’s post-Tulsa update

Adam Bowden made the next step in his triathlon journey at the weekend, making his full-distance IRONMAN debut in Tulsa. Here are his post-race thoughts

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“My quads felt like I had been doing squats for 4+ hours…”

This past weekend (full race report HERE), Adam Bowden made his full-distance debut, in what was a stellar field at the IRONMAN North American Championship, Tulsa.

It was his first chance to put into practice his long-course specific bike training, and after finishing in 8:18:08 at his first attempt, he reports back on the day – and is already looking forward to the next one.

So my first Ironman completed and I’m very happy with my performance, especially in a race with 70 male pro’s, and a field that baring one or two big names was essentially a mini Hawaii. It was a big ask to perform any better than I did being in a world class field and my first one.



Very pleased to come out of the water in 8th. it was surprising to me how fast the swim was still moving as you think the pace might be different for a Ironman, but 1:13s / 100 metres is not hanging around.



Onto the bike I just missed the split of the first 3-4 riders, but I was still in the main first group feeling comfortable and focussed on getting my nutrition on board straight away. We were caught by a big group of riders which then caused some big surges with some slamming of the brakes. It was like being on a roller coaster and this is not ideal for Ironman pacing but I still felt ok.

Not long after I hit a hole, and something went in my bars and they fell slightly, causing the hydration system to start rubbing on my front tyre for the rest of ride. I then found that after a few minutes of this happening that it was becoming harder to stay with the group until the elastic snapped and I got dropped out the back. It was then a long solo ride back to T2 but I was giving it my all.


In the first mile of the run I was trying to get the legs moving and they weren’t playing ball with me. After about 2-3 miles I started to get my bounce back and I was able to start picking off athletes and was running a similar split to the leader, Patrick Lange, for the first 20 miles.

There were a few highs and low feelings along the run but I got through them until around the 23-mile mark, where my quads felt like I had been doing squats for 4+ hours and my body succumbed to the fact this was my first time over the distance. I unfortunately had to stop for a few minutes which then caused around 3-4 athletes to pass me. The will inside me though was too strong and I was determined to get to the finish line. I felt joy and pleasure as I crossed the finish line and carry no disappointment in finishing 16th in less than 8h20min. What an achievement in my first full Ironman.

I can’t wait to sit down with my support team, and choose my next full distance Ironman and hopefully take all the learnings and experience and punch my ticket for Kona.

Adam Bowden is supported by an amazing set of partners including; Wattbike World Class Smart Indoor Bike Trainers, Ribble Bicycles, Rudy Project Helmets and Eyewear, Santini Cycling and Triathlon clothing, Zone 3 Wetsuits, Precision Hydration Nutrition, Hoka One One Running Shoes and Clothing, ForgoodnessShakes and One2One Therapy.

John Levison
Written by
John Levison
TRI247's Chief Correspondent, John has been involved in triathlon for well over 30 years, 15 of those writing on these pages, whilst he can also be found commentating for events across the UK.
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