It’s going to be a LONG day (potentially from 4am until after midnight). So pace yourself.
As it’s a long day, don’t be afraid to go back your hotel for a few hours for some down time or to do something else while the race is happening.
Plan a fun activity for a few hours while the bike section is happening. This could be some sightseeing, or even a bit of your own training. My support team (Zelda Wilson, Clare and Jeremy Burgum) planned their 3 hour run combined with a sightseeing tour or Copenhagen while I was on the bike).
A long day is always better with snacks and a picnic.
Make sure you take essential sundries to help keep yourself happy – e.g. sun cream, water, hats, warm clothes, chairs etc.
Make sure to have spare battery packs or charging devices for mobile phones etc.
Check road closures and parking arrangements in advance.
Talk to your athlete about a range of approximate finish times to include a time if they’re having the race of their life through to the worst race of their life. This helps you to know what to expect and when. Download the mobile phone app to track your athlete but don’t rely on it being perfectly accurate. .
It’s worth reading the rules before the race about what happens about bike collection afterwards. At some races, especially those with a split transition it can be advantageous for a supporter to collect an athlete’s bike. But there are strict rules about how to make this happen which are worth checking in advance.
Don’t expect to see your athlete too clearly in the swim. They’ll be 2000 athletes in wetsuits with red hats on!
Take some props. This could be team t-shirts, banners, cow bells, fancy dress, music, fake tattoos or big green balloons! Anything that makes it fun.
Find places where you can see your athlete when they’re moving slowly. The Australian exit (a two lap swim where athletes get out the water run around a marker on the beach and then jump back in), T1 or T2 are good spots. Spectating on the bike course is not usually so great because it’s often tricky to get to and athletes are moving fast on the bike, so will fly past barely seeing any supporters.
Find places where the athletes pass multiple times – usually on a run course that is over several laps.
Ironman rules state that athletes are NOT allowed any outside support from spectators. So giving your athlete anything during the race.
Don’t be shy. Be an extrovert! Loud, big and positive!!!
Don’t forget it’s an Ironman. It’s meant to be hard. So be prepared to see your athlete suffer.
Be Positive! However crap they look tell them they’re amazing!
Be at the finish line to see the finish.
After the race, be patient as it can take a while to collect medals, get changed, get food, find bags and collect bikes etc.