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Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Friday, 13 November 2009
Following the Teesside Ironman
BBC Tees' Adele Robinson
By Adele Robinson
BBC Tees

BBC Tees' Adele Robinson is following 71-year-old Arthur Puckrin as he attempts to complete a Quadruple Ironman challenge.

Arthur, from Middlesbrough, is doing four "Ironmans" in eight days. A single Ironman is 26 miles running, 112 miles cycling, and 2.4 miles swimming.

Adele will be at his side throughout the World championships in Mexico, taking pictures and reporting back.

Keep up to date on his progress online and on BBC Tees 95fm.

Adele in Mexico, Day Four

I'm awoken at 6.30am by Suraya, my roomate and the British female competitor in the Deca Ironman. She's only just finished her event.

Pure determination has kept Suraya going for the past 24 hours and she collapses exhausted on the bed.

I go down to the race track and watch the athletes being given their medical assessments.

Arthur, obviously, is in bed where he remains for a large part of the day. I see him for five minutes and then he's off to sleep again.

In the afternoon I take a trip with the 'wags', Arthur's wife Mary, and Angela, the wife of Peter Cusick, another British competitor.

We go to the local supermarket where they both stock up on energy supplies for their husbands.

For Arthur it's ice cream, jam, bread and butter, I buy some much needed, and well missed chocolate.

When we get back to the race site I find out that a couple more of the athletes have dropped out.

Arthur and Mary Puckrin
Mary is on hand every step of the way as Arthur stops for a jam sandwich

One man says he can't complete anymore Ironmans, and most of the others have stomach problems.

I ask Arthur how he's doing... he says he feels fine. It seems like water off a duck's back to Teesside's Ironman.

Speaking of ducks, most of them were removed yesterday in cages from the Olympic village, however it seems like they've missed a few.

Suraya believes one of them ate her lap timer.

Arthur seems not to mind them: "It's their home" he says "we're on their territory".

As the sun goes down the athletes carry on their cycles and marathons.

It seems every day they're taking longer and longer to complete the Ironmans as they become more and more tired.

Adele in Mexico, Day Three

Another early start for everyone. Arthur seems raring to go after a lot of sleep the day before.

Arthur Puckrin
Arthur on his twentieth length of the swimming pool

The athletes make their way to the Olympic pool where Arthur starts his swim.

I stick around to take photographs of Arthur in action and then head off to the 11 storey principal building owned by the University of Nuevo Leon, in Monterrey.

It's on the roof of this building where I am broadcasting live on BBC Tees.

Luckily I have made a Mexican friend, Ray, who translates everything for me and helps me up on to the roof.

The views of the city and the mountains are incredible and you can see for hundreds of miles.

I am up and running with the satellite and manage to speak to BBC Tees' Jamie Wilkinson, around midday in Mexico, and nearly 6pm in Middlesbrough.

Adele Robinson
Adele, broadcasting live on top of the principal building in Monterrey

The highlight of my day was getting asked for my autograph at the side of the race track by an old Mexican man with a moustache.

I thought he wanted to borrow my pen!

Maybe he's got me confused with someone famous!

After a bit of sunbathing and some pasta, cooked by Lucia in the 24 hour restaurant at the Olympic village, I check up on Arthur's progress.

At around 3pm Arthur is steaming ahead, he's actually beating most of the other competitors on the cycle stint.

The statistics board shows he's averaging at around six minutes a lap.

Today two people are out of the event, the Swiss man who broke his collar bone on the first day, and a German man who has stomach problems.

Yesterday the only British woman to take part, Suraya, dropped out after suffering from sores, but she's back in action again. It just goes to show that Arthur is persevering against the odds...

Adele in Mexico, Day Two

The last competitor in the first Ironman finishes at 4:30am - Arthur, however is tucked up in bed by this time having completed his first challenge by midnight, a full fifteen hours of exercise from start to finish.

The next day I barely see Arthur, he comes down to the race site for breakfast and then goes back to bed.

A couple of hours later and he's back at the 24 hour restaurant on site, he then disappears off to his room indefinitely after a quick chat with me.

One of the ducks on the race track - a potential suspect in "Duckgate"
One of the ducks on the race track - a potential suspect in "Duckgate"

He says he needs to keep "off his feet as much as possible".

In the meantime, I am getting eaten alive by mosquitoes so I douse myself in mozzie spray and take a short tour of the site, escorted by Arthurs wife Mary.

The Olympic Village is full of people doing sport; there's an archery centre, a martial arts building, a small velodrome, an inline skating area, and, of course, a pond... where those pesky ducks live.

Speaking of "Duckgate" I get chatting to the race organiser, Jorge Luis Andonis, about the incident, he says the birds are going to be "dealt with" tomorrow.

Apparently they'll be getting some sort of cage and putting food inside it.

The plan is to gather up every single duck in the park and transport them to another site. Hopefully they won't find their way back somehow!

All through the day and night athletes continue with their Deca Ironman challenges while Arthur sleeps and gets some much needed rest for the next day of his Quadruple Ironman.

Adele in Mexico, Day One

All athletes are up at 6am to be given a medical assessment on the first day of the Ultra Triathlons.

Me? I stay in bed an extra hour and build up the energy to go and have some breakfast.

Arthur helps himself to a couple of eggs, four slices of toast, two cups of coffee and one cup of tea. He tells me he won't eat again properly for around 14 hours.

Everyone sets off on their special bicycles to travel to the Olympic swimming pool but I manage to get a lift in a car (I have a lot of bags).

Arthur completes his first 2.4 mile swim in 1 hour 40 minutes and, after changing into some shorts, gets on his bike, (which I should add is worth around £5000) and cycles over to the track inside the Olympic Village.

Arthur's wife Mary handing him a banana in a special bag as he speeds past on the cycle circuit
Arthur's wife Mary handing him their special bag as he speeds past

Mary and Arthur have devised a system - Arthur can be given drinks and snacks without having to slow down his cycling.

The trick is to have a small bag with a loop, Mary puts a drink inside, or a banana, and Arthur snatches it from her as he rides past. It seems to work.

Unfortunately early afternoon there is an incident... "Duckgate".

The leading competitor, Beat Knechtle from Switzerland, crashes into a duck which has wandered onto the track.

He has a broken collar bone, and is out of the race, which is unfortunate as he was winning.

Arthur finishes the 112 mile cycle stint in around 4 hours 41 minutes, his second best ever time.

Next, it's the marathon... Arthur's still going as the sun goes down...

Adele arrives in Mexico, before the competition begins

After more than 40 hours travelling to Monterrey, I arrived in the blazing sunshine of 27 degrees.

From the airport I went straight to the "pasta party", where the competitors fill up on carbs and calories.

They feasted on profiteroles, pastries, cream cakes, paella, fajitas, vegetables, and salads.

Arthur on Day One. In the Olympic sized pool, with two other competitors
Arthur on Day One. In the Olympic sized pool, with two other competitors

Needless to say, Arthur and I gorged ourselves.

He managed three plates piled high, and I sadly only managed two.

While the athletes stuffed their faces there was authentic Mexican entertainment, trumpets, guitars, and a bit of dancing.

And thought the wine and beer was flowing, alas, for Arthur and I, we were too professional to indulge!

A tour of the facilities followed the pasta party - we were taken to the Olympic swimming pool, and the cycle and running track.

All competitors had their bikes and trainers specially chipped and after a long day of eating, and being escorted around the Olympic Village, everyone then went to bed... much needed rest for a long and gruelling task ahead.




SEE ALSO
In pictures: The Teesside Ironman
09 Nov 09 |  TV & Radio
Meet Teesside's oldest Ironman...
04 Nov 09 |  People & Places
Pleasure and pain for BBC's Ironman
09 Sep 09 |  Triathlon

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