Exmouth’s Paul Wakely completes Ironman challenge and celebrates with a shandy

PUBLISHED: 07:27 18 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:38 19 August 2020

Exmouth athlete Paul Wakely on the completion of his August 15 Ironman Challenge. Picture AMY TOMLINSON

Exmouth athlete Paul Wakely on the completion of his August 15 Ironman Challenge. Picture AMY TOMLINSON

Archant

Exmouth man Paul Wakely duly completed his Ironman challenge on Saturday, completing a swim in the sea off Exmouth, a cycle ride to Barnstaple and back and then a marathon run around Exmouth.

Exmouth athlete Paul Wakely on the cycle element of his August 15 Ironman Challenge. Picture AMY TOMLINSONExmouth athlete Paul Wakely on the cycle element of his August 15 Ironman Challenge. Picture AMY TOMLINSON

The 38-year-old NHS worker, began the challenge with a 5.30am start for the 2.4-mile swim to Orcombe Point where he was met by partner Amy Tomlinson with his bike.

The swim element took 59 minutes after which saw him reach Barnstaple in three hours before what was a three hour and eight minute cycle back to Exmouth where changed into running gear to complete a 26.2-mile run around the streets of Exmouth.

His running route took in a seven-mile lap that started and finished at his home in Danby Terrace where he was able to refuel.

He eventually completed the run in a time of five hours to complete his Ironmen challenge.

Exmouth athlete Paul Wakely on the swim element of his August 15 Ironman Challenge. Picture AMY TOMLINSONExmouth athlete Paul Wakely on the swim element of his August 15 Ironman Challenge. Picture AMY TOMLINSON

We caught up with Paul the morning after the day before and first up asked him if, at any stage he considered ’giving up’.

He was quick to answer with: “No, I was up for this from the ‘get go’, but I was concerned that injury could strike at any moment and force me to retire – but thankfully everything worked out”

Next up we asked how he felt when he started the challenge with that early morning swim.

Paul replied: “As soon as I set off on the swim my first impressions was of how clear the sea was its these conditions as open an water swimmer dream of, this gave me a huge sense of calm and all the pre nerves subsided in what felt like seconds, I just set off in usual fashion stretching out getting my breathing under control, saw plenty of sea bass and compass jelly fish which kept my mind off what I was actually doing.”

Exmouth athlete Paul Wakely on thr un element of his August 15 Ironman Challenge. Picture AMY TOMLINSONExmouth athlete Paul Wakely on thr un element of his August 15 Ironman Challenge. Picture AMY TOMLINSON

We then asked what was the very first thing he drank and ate after completing the challenge.

He said: “At the finish I had a shandy seems a bit of a lame drink, but the sugary lemonade mixed with the bitter larger quenched my hydrated state, it took me about two hours after to stomach any food as body temperature fluctuated and adrenaline flowed, but seeing as I’d just burned 8,000 calories, I forced some food in, a whole chicken breast and tomato pasta with a protein shake.”

Next up, we asked him what was he thinking upon completing such a challenge.

He replied saying: “At the finish I stood on the beach and thought wow I’ve done it, at the finish of events and races there are crowds cheering and ringing bells, music playing etc and people shaking your hand and giving high fives.

“Finishing yesterday had far more surreal end as people were going about their business around me, this gave me a huge sense of pride knowing I was the only one on that day that completed what’s regarded as the toughest one endurance event you can tackle, I felt empowered.”

To wrap things up we asked the obvious – what next?

Paul said: “I’ve ways got things in the pipe line I guess it goes with company you keep as I’m always being asked to join in with others on various things....the next challenge is a bike ride from Lands End to Dover at the end of August with my neighbour ........If my legs will allow!”

Paul did add at the end: “I’ve had a barrage of message from people all over the place lots of people I don’t even know asking me how I did this and could I give any tips, a lady from northern Ireland has messaged me to see if I’d be interested in helping her with a 10k swim event.

“But I think my favourite messages come from those that have said they have been inspired to do similar things and push personal boundaries, for me it’s what it is all about, getting outside and embracing the fact we have some of the best countryside around.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Exmouth Journal. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Exmouth Journal