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Anfi Mogàn Challenge Gran Canaria - 22nd April 2023

On Sunday the 9th of April I flew to Gran Canaria to start my race season and train there for 10 days before racing.

I flew out with Josh, staying 10 days in Maspolmas. We got some great training done, staying in an amazing location with an outdoor 25m pool. The cycling was incredible In Gran Canaria, but I would recommend taking a road bike.

One day we cycled to a famous climb called the Vally of the Tears. 1h 20mins worth of climbing, very steep roads, I’d never been up a climb this hard. We ended up cycling 98 miles with over 12,00ft of climbing and due to a forest fire, this added an extra 25 miles to the ride.

We got some great training that week, and I was looking forward to starting my season.

We moved to Anfi where the race was based, the Tuesday before the race. The course was a 1900m sea swim, 56-mile rolling coastal road bike and a hot half marathon with 10 dead turns.

In the lead-up to the race, I had a couple of media interviews, due to some of the professionals mentioning my name as one to watch in the race. The challenge family invited me to the press conference before the race. I felt a little out of my depth sitting next to athletes I have watched for years on the TV.

The race started at 8 am Saturday morning. I had a great night's sleep. Pre-race everything went smoothly and I was quickly on the start line.

The gun went and we had a beach start into the water. I ran well and dived in, as I came up my goggles were full of water. I knew I couldn’t swim like this, so after a few hard strokes I rolled onto my back took the water out and then rolled back. At this point, two athletes got a gap on me which I couldn’t close. I ended up swimming the full 1900m with Anne Haugh (5th ranked in the world).

Coming out of the water I was in 4th place and with a great transition I was off on the bike to the rolling coastal road. I settled into my power pushing more on the climbs and then holding less on the descents. I quickly caught 3rd but Anne Haigh was off riding really strong and I knew I couldn’t keep with her. I worked well and on a 4-lap course, I could see where the other athletes were. In lap 3 I caught 2nd and moved into a great position. Overall I was happy with how I felt and took on fuel. With around 15mins to go I got overtaken by Ruth Astle. This meant coming into T2 I was in 3rd place closely followed by Diede Diederiks.

Onto the run, I had to ensure I was staying cool so every aid station took as much water as possible. I caught Ruth quickly and was back into 2nd with a 30s gap to 3rd.

I had my watch on but did the silly thing of going a little too fast at the start. My HR was low and I was feeling strong. Holding off Diede for 3 laps. Going onto the 4th lap I started to struggle. My quads were starting to cramp and I could see she was starting to gain. I tried so hard to keep pace but my HR was going up and the pace was going down. With 1 mile to go, she caught me and I had nothing left. I was now in 3rd place with 1 mile to go and a big gap to 4th. I decided to enjoy the last couple of minutes of running. Crossing the line in 3rd in my second Professional race and first race of the season.

I couldn’t be happier with my performance and yes there is still room for improvement and I can’t wait to put what I have learnt from this race into the next one. T-2 weeks till Ironman 70.3 Marbella.

Thanks for all the support

Megan McDonald

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