Pete Slater, the man, the myth, the legend. Over 20 years experience in the Sports Nutrition industry and 30+ years in the competitive sporting world. We celebrate the anniversary of Pete's first ever Ironman and look back on how times have changed.

July 14th 1990

Our very own Co-Founder Pete clocked his finishing time of 9:50:57 at his first ever Ironman. Having raced sprint and Olympics distance triathlons through the back end of the 80’s, a strong showing at a Half Ironman in 1989 made Pete think maybe the longer distances were for him. An ironman felt like the next logical step.

In the 90’s there weren’t as many Ironman events as there are today. Roth in Germany, named ‘Ironman Europe’, was the most prestigious event on the calendar outside of Kona, and relatively easy to travel too. Also it was a Kona qualifier but Pete said that wasn’t really on his mind (yeah right!!)


Swim 54:57

Bike 5:24:20 (Bike time included both transitions which in turn were a full change of clothing, no tri-suits!)

Run 3:31:40

Note: There was no chip timing, 


Before we get into Pete’s retrospective race report, we just wanted to let you know that for today and today only we’re offering 30% off for 9hrs 51 minutes from 7am. So you’ve got the time it took Pete to complete his first ironman, to get your order in!


Just use the code PETE-IRONMAN-30.


Almost 2000 athletes took to the start at 7am in the Canal, it was a mass start not like events these days. From what I remember I got a decent start and was in my own space with clearish water pretty early on. I had swum with my local club as a kid so my 100m pace was always pretty decent which enabled me to get the good start needed. No kicking, punching or being swum over like happens far too often in races I have done in recent years. I was comfortable all round the swim and exited feeling pretty good. My wetsuit back in 1990 was sleeveless and one more suited to surfing rather than swimming fast.


Out on the bike after a full change into a cycling skin-suit. A daunting 112 miles (180km) ahead in what was forecast to be 30 degrees plus by late morning. I’d done a few 100 mile rides in training but never the full distance and never non-stop. A standard 753 steel road frame, very early one piece aero bars, 5 speed 11 – 23 cassette, 52/42 chain rings, down tube shifters and 19mm tubs on GP4 rims. All the mod cons – not. Nutrition consisted of water, bananas and the ever so sweet Leppin squeezies. Oh my how things have changed in terms of nutrition. My plan was to keep a consistent pace based on feel, and avoid going into the red at all times on the climbs. The crowd support on the bike course was absolutely amazing, without any issues and without knowing how long I had been out there for I was taking the right turn towards T2 after lap 3.  Again, from what I can remember I was feeling comfortable and only then did I start to think about what was ahead as I dismounted the bike and moved cautiously and slowly through T2 changing into full running kit.


Faced with my first ever full marathon I basically set off at whatever pace my legs would allow. By now the temperature was well into the 30’s and the run course is very exposed, no shelter from the sun. Again it was a matter of water and bananas to keep you going, how useful would OTE Gels have been back then. Despite the heat and this being my IM debut I somehow managed to keep plodding away. In the early stages of the run you take a left turn onto the canal towpath, run for about 8km then dead turn and head back. My focus was on how far can I get along the canal before I see people coming back the other way, I had no idea how well I was doing and was also hoping there weren’t a 1000 people heading back towards me. After another out and back section you are finally heading back towards town and the finish line, a very welcome sight indeed and great crowd support to welcome you home. Very happy to finish and knowing it was sub 10 hours was also a bit of a surprise. Another surprise was when a Kona ticket dropped through the letter box two weeks later.


So much has changed in the last 30 years in the world of triathlon and IM distance racing. Nutrition, bike technology and equipment along with training methods, techniques and understanding the physiology of the sport and how the body can adapt to longer distance racing. I still look back and feel happy with a 9:50 debut 30 years ago taking into account what little I knew. I came from a football and cricket background rather than a cycling and athletics one so it was all new.

And it was from experiences like this that OTE was shaped. Born from a desire to make Sports Nutrition better and be Open To Everyone.

How to Fuel an Ironman
Read Article
Alistair Brownlee’s Nutrition Plan For The Ironman World Championships
Read Article

Bottle Offer

Subscribe to claim a free taster pack with your first order over £30*

Join the OTE community to try a selection of our award winning sport nutrition products and healthy snacking products. Simply complete the form below then head to your email to find your exclusive product link.

*Or get your hands on the Taster Pack for just £10 + free delivery. Only available to new customers. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount. Terms & Conditions Apply.

OTE Sports Partnerships

See how OTE is fuelling some of the world’s best athletes.

Find Out More

OTE Guides and Insight

Find out how to fuel your next ride and see our delicious recipes.

Find Out More

Trade Accounts can now register for our B2B site.

Find Out More

Help us raise money for The Brownlee Foundation

Find Out More