Royal Marines Iron Challenge

Had a crack at this last Sunday, first year for public entries. It’s organised by Ex Royal Marines and raises funds for the RMA who help marines and their families with all sorts of difficulties. When I saw the trailer for the event, the why and the course it certainly got my enthusiasm up.
Venue is compact but well organised, sea swim starts in the dark at 0530, 3 laps and dawn breaks during the swim. Easy layout for transition and out onto the bike course which is 4 laps of the hilly South Devon roads, total ascent about 2500m, wind was favourable could be punishing if it is against you on the exposed sections. Road surface was really good, 2 well stocked aid stations a few careful sections through villages but very enjoyable. Through T2 and then the fun starts, carrying some mandatory kit but nothing excessive, fluids, head torch rain jacket.
Run is where the fun starts, mandatory kit to carry but it’s is minimal and out onto the South West coastal path. The only flat is Slapton sands which is 2 miles of shingle! Slightly longer out bound leg to the Coast guard station and back to the start. Done! About 4,500 feet ascent in total.
Great race and atmosphere, bags of support from locals. Minimum you need to raise in sponsorship is £166.40 and entry fee reasonable.
My first goal was to finish so :heavy_check_mark:
Second goal finish in daylight, so around 14 hours, well I didn’t need to put on my head torch so I am claiming it although the sun had set and it was not far off.
Timings gave me about 14 hours 20 minutes for a 5 or 6 place out of around 60 full distance entrants. Relay teams and some just doing S,B or R
Venue can’t accommodate hundreds of people so if you like the look of it don’t wait too long to enter because it could go big.


Glad you enjoyed it! We (my friends and I) had been talking about it last year quite a bit. In the end none of us felt we could commit to an IM this year, but it’s definitely on the radar (especially just being down the road).

Didn’t realise they made you run on the shingle at Slapton! That’s savage! :joy:

I saw the video of this last year, and its on my bucket list. I want to see if I can beat a few Marines. Having trained with the marines in Lymstone, I think that it would be fun

Being good at Triathlon isn’t part of the job😅

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Make a triathlon but like Biathlon where you have to shoot at targets every few miles on both bike an run.

There’s the future for IM, Americans would love that, triathlon and shooting stuff.

Do you have to stop or like a drive-by?

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On the bike you have to at least stay mounted but get time bonuses if you can hit the target whilst still moving. No drafting penalties at this point obviously, that would be ridiculous.


thanks for that informative review cheers Duckhen, pretty much what we needed to know ta.
And very well done indeed on finishing before dark and 5/6th place :sunglasses:

Helps that you seem to have got good weather for it tho.
Being a terminally :poop: sw1mmer :roll_eyes:, on another day, is there much potential for the sw1m to be rough or tricky, or any currents etc.?

I was VERY tempted to do this but its a heck of a long way for me to travel etc, and I had the tempting option of more locally doing the HardMoors 60 trail race instead down the Yorkshire Coast instead, which I did.

Weather was spot on, could get a bit grim if it is torrential downpour………it’s similar weekend to IM Wales and that can be rather changeable! Enter the ‘Worst weather in Wales competitors’…….
The swim is a 3 lapper, in a fairly sheltered bay so I think it should be achievable in most conditions. Canoe safety is about 1 canoe to 10 swimmers, I don’t think there was a cut off either and if you got out at 2 laps nobody would have stopped you from getting on the bike. You have raised some dosh for the Charity and the organisers are about the challenge and everybody having a safe day.
The coastal path in the dark would be a challenge so quality headtorch is a must and hope for a bright day! If you are up for it IMWales will be the week before in 2022?

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