I started doing triathlons in the same year as I did the London Marathon in 1983. My first race was in East Kilbride on a freezing cold November day on a borrowed bike. Since then I have continued to compete several times a year with a break only when work restricted training time. im just adding some more text to make sure the wysiwig editor inserts correctly
I started doing triathlons in the same year as I did the London Marathon in 1983. My first race was in East Kilbride on a freezing cold November day on a borrowed bike. Since then I have continued to compete several times a year with a break only when work restricted training time.
Preparing for a triathlon involves a lot of organising and time management and plenty of advice on training can be found in specialist books and magazines and on the internet. I chose a programme which I considered would best fit in with my weekly/monthly and long term plans. Then I customised it a bit to include local club sessions-AA run sessions, swimming, cycling, core sessions with Cheltenham Triathlon Club and extra sessions when I train on my own. Situations do crop up in the real world when training is not possible-injury, illness, holidays etc-and the plan has to be flexible enough to cope with these.
In June of this year I qualified for the World Triathlon Championships, as a Team GB competitor, with a silver medal (65-69 age group) at the British National Championships.
The final of the World Championship Series was held in Budapest in September. The weather was unseasonably cool and wet and heavy downpours made conditions extremely difficult in the transition area which became very muddy and slippery. The swim section took place in a little inlet of the Danube. The cycle course followed the Buda side of the river, a flat route with some tight turns and the run was a point-to-point along river's edge. We crossed the famous Chain Bridge, the original crossing between Buda and Pest and which was destroyed in WW2, to finish in Roosevelt Square.A fleet of local ferries transported the athletes, wrapped in fleece blankets, back to the start area.
This was my third World Championship and I was delighted to finish in fourth place with a personal best time.
Since I started I have collected eight Scottish Championship awards-six for triathlon and two for duathlon-and a gold medal for European Duathlon. My most recent event was the Lido Devil's Aquathlon-2K swim and 10K run to the Devil's Chimney. It was a totally unique challenge in very testing weather conditions. Plans for the future include next year's triathlon and duathlon championships in Spain along with a selection of local events.
Almost Athletes took on the early summer sun and scorching temperatures over a variety of distances, locations and terrains across the country this weekend. At the Runthrough Festival of Running at Cheltenham Racecourse, Mike Johnstone continued his rich vein of form, completing the half marathon in 1:25:15 for second in MV40 category. Not far behind was Josh Hand, who recorded a fine 1:26:24 for third MV35. Julian Brand and Ellie Haile completed the club’s quartet of half marathon representatives, finishing the challenge in 1:56:40 and 2:14:17 respectively.
In the 10k event, first home for the club in 57:29 was David Woolnough, followed just three seconds later by Ela Antosiewicz and club mascot Archie. In her first race of 2021 and coming back from an extended period of injury, Hayley Woolnough completed the exposed course in 1:01:05. The club was also well represented by Iris Mayo (1:21:03); Helen Yarnold (1:29:10) and Steve Yarnold (1:29:11).
Further north, Julie Averiss was the club’s sole representative in the Burton Leonard 10k, coming home in 1:27:17. This old school, not-for-profit event over an undulating rural course in the Harrogate area of North Yorkshire raises essential funds for the local community.
In Somerset, Cos Pearson completed the brutally beautiful Cheddar Gorge marathon in 6:44:25. The double lap course, which includes two ascents of the infamous Hell Steps, is considered so challenging that organisers recommend that runners add 20% onto their flat marathon time. Christopher Benjamin notched up his 85th half marathon over one lap of the marathon course in 2:59:55.
In Dorchester Kathy Haig and Karla Cleverley took on the Crafty Fox half marathon, another very challenging off-road event along the Wessex Ridgeway and Dorsetshire Gap, which rewards participants with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. The tough course includes steep climbs and sharp descents together with a bonus mile, topped off at the finish with one of White Star Running’s legendary medals.
Going furthest of all this week Martyn Fisher seized another opportunity to wear the purple vest with pride as he competed in the inaugural 50k Greensand Country Ultra, which started and finished at Shuttleworth House in Bedfordshire, just two miles from Martyn’s doorstep. He was pleased to swap searing temperatures and cloudless skies for an ice-cold lager to kick start his recovery, having completed the long-distance event in a very creditable 6:21:39.
Long distance events near and far kept Almost Athletes and their support crews busy again this weekend. A band of six travelled to Newton Abbot in Devon to take part in the hilly Dartmoor Discovery Ultra comprising 32.5 miles and 4,100 feet of elevation. Organised by Teignbridge Trotters the event is the longest single lap road ultra marathon in the UK.
Competing in her first event beyond the marathon distance, Amy Sheer led the team home in a time of 5:15 for seventh lady overall. Strong runs by Kim Mansell (5:36) and club coach Fi Barnes (6:11) helped the trio scoop the prize of glassware for second ladies’ team.
Richard Knightley achieved his aim of completing his first ultra, his finish time of 5:38 falling well within the course cut-off of 6 hours 30. Competing in his second ultra and first race of the 2021 season, Matt Proome was pleased to record a 5:42 finish. Mark Wreford-Bush rounded out the club’s contingent, recording a 6:16 finish, comfortably within cut-off.
Picking up supporter duties from where he had left off the previous week, Matt Barnes joined Helen Fursman on two wheels to provide invaluable support to the runners out on the hilly course.
Closer to home a larger contingent of Almosts, many of whom are training for longer events later in the year, participated in the Sharpness Canal 16 mile and 50km ultra events. The club’s sole competitor in the 50km out and back event was Chaweewan Hartley, who completed the course in the scorching afternoon heat in 7:12:43, almost certainly with a beaming smile.
In the 16-mile event, starting at Sharpness Marina and finishing at Llanthony Secunda Priory and running the full length of Sharpness Canal, the club was led home by Christopher Benjamin, who completed his 84th half marathon along the way and finished in 2:46. Next in were Karla Cleverley and Coralie Pearson, who ran together in 4:00. Iris Mayo recorded 4:29, one minute ahead of Sarah Fennell and Rachael Nolan. Dave Mayo completed the course in 4:35; Helen and Steve Yarnold in 5:12 and Kim Rodway-Pugh in 5:39.
Bev and Ollie Nolan turned out to cheer everyone on from the towpath. A much appreciated ‘prosecco pit stop’ was laid on by Penny Lewis and Ju Averiss and gave our runners a well-timed boost in the heat of the morning sun.
Finally a huge round of applause to Cat Davies Perkins, who completed the virtual Race to the Tower along the challenging terrain of the Cotswold Way from Stroud to Broadway, notching up 84km over two days in memory of Tommy Squire and raising funds with her friend Georgina for the Starlight Ward at Bristol Children’s Hospital through the Grand Appeal. Way to go, Cat!