ironman edinburgh 70.3

Words Count

Posted on June 28, 2017. Filed under: first time ironman, ironman edinburgh 70.3, new ironman tips, Ranty McRantface |

They call me ‘hell’
They call me ‘Stacey’
They call me ‘her’
They call me ‘Jane’
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my name

And so said The Ting Tings. It’s annoying when someone gets your name wrong. Bloody annoying. And lazy. Bloody annoying, lazy and disrespectful.

Oh oh. Who let Ranty McRantface out of his cage?? Who cares? HE’S OUT NOW.

Lazy use of language does irritate me. But lazy language that misleads, either innocently or maliciously, really gets under my skin.

Should someone who cuts the course of London Marathon and only does 18 miles call themselves a marathon runner? Of course not.

Should someone who runs a half marathon call themselves a marathon runner? Duh. Don’t be daft.

The last time Ranty McRanty, was unleashed was a passionate defence of the universal use of the term ironman for anyone who had completed the iron distance in under 17 hours.

I was so ranty I concluded the post in bold, like a frothing at the mouth, swivel-eyed Daily Mail reader: “In my opinion anyone who has started an event and completed a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle and a 26.2 mile run within the cut off can call themselves an Ironman.  Hell, if they can do that they can call themselves whatever they want.  Anyone fancy telling a Celtman or a Norseman that they aren’t an Ironman?  Good luck with that.”

So, as an advocate of the universal use of the term ironman, when is an ironman not an ironman?  WHEN THEY ARE A FECKING HALF IRONMAN.

Yes. I am talking about the bizarre trend where people training for a half ironman have started saying they are training for an ironman. It’s maybe just my bubble because it is my local race, but a lot of first timers training for Ironman Edinburgh 70.3 have had some kind of seizure and completely bucked the nomenclature of distance triathlon. Presumably because it’s a “real” half ironman. “Real” grrrrrrr.

I refer you to the previous rant link for my ranty thoughts on branding and copyright. Suffice to say I don’t advocate copyright theft but neither do I appreciate brand protection of a historic event against awesome endurance athletes.

God knows the distance has enough names. Middle distance. 70.3. Half Ironman. 113. Why oh why, not just respect it for what it is?


Even Edinburgh City Council seems to be confused by the distance.

It’s like conflating a pink grapefruit and a strawberry. Sure they are both fruit of a reddish hue, but that is where the similarity ends. They are both amazing in their own right, especially on a hot summer day – one as a garnish to a gin and tonic, and the other served with cream. But if you point to a pink grapefruit and call it a strawberry in Tesco someone will rightly slap your face and call a doctor. Respect things for what they are and use the proper words, because words count.

Personally I like the name 70.3. The name with which the race is, in fact, blessed. In the world of running, I always think that half marathon understates that distance. The 100m isn’t called a 16th of a mile.  The 5k isn’t called a half 10k.  Thirteen point one miles is a distance in it’s own right, a challenge in it’s own right, with incredible champions in it’s own right, right? Sure, it is mathematically half of a marathon but to anyone running it, it is the whole of their race.

And that is exactly the same deal as the 70.3. Or half ironman. Or middle distance. It is a whole 70.3 miles but it ain’t no 140.6 miles. Or Ironman. Or Lakesman. Or Outlaw. Or Celtman. Or Norseman. It is what it is. It’s an awesome distance. A massive challenge in it’s own right. Call it what it is.

I dunno if it’s shorthand, or laziness, or pretending to be an iron legend for social media attention and awe. But calling a 70.3 an ironman is disrespectful to the distance, the training, the history and those that have gone before at both distances.

Be proud of what you are doing. Be proud of what you have done. Respect the distance. Don’t make shit up.

Ranty McRantface over and out.

* plays out to The Ting Tings *

PS. I don’t think I’ll get along to volunteer or spectate (because training) but good luck to everyone competing and the organisers of Edinburgh 70.3. If you haven’t swum in the Forth yet, get in before the weekend – its great fun!

PPS. As ear worms go, it’s not a bad one.

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