I should first apologise for the unusual delay in turning around not one but three race reports. My goal with these is to avoid (as far as humanly possible) leaving any man or woman behind – you all do some fantastic races and the last thing I’d want is to create a report that selectively chose some as post-worthy over others. Normally, I get a solid Sunday and Monday evening to capture what’s been going on. A double whammy of a work trip and a chest infection put something of a kybosh on this.
Excuses aside, here are the last 3 weeks’ results. Thank you to all of you lovely people that are so good at emailing what you’re about to do, and what you’ve just done – it makes life so much easier ?
Just before we dive in – 3 IMPORTANT events coming up where you can both have fun with the club and give something back:
- Fix Relays – Saturday 21st Want a fun racing environment at an easy to get to location? Haven’t done a triathlon, or worried about your performance in a triathlon this season? Then, get your entry in to the Fix Relays (Dorney Lake). This is a great team event, and, unlike other relay triathlons, you get to: do each leg individually with no hurried transition; race with other club members of any standard; celebrate the end of the season in a relaxed fun sporty fashion! We have a fantastic discount, details have been in the recent newsletters, and the more we get on the field the more fun it will be!!
- London League Final Race – Sunday 22nd September sees the final race of the London League, and we are up against it in terms of points. It does not matter how fast you are – we get points for top 3 men, top 2/3 women, top 5/6 mixed and points for the total number of club racers. Yes, I know it is after the club party – but you could play a vital role in nudging the club back into a top 3 position in the League! London Fields is also easy to get to, and, I believe, features a non-wetsuit swim in a heated outdoor pool!!
- Legs of Steel – Sunday 29th Our one and only club event. A fantastic sportive in the Surrey Hills. The race we host where we raise money for a great cause. Enter if you haven’t. Encourage cycling friends to enter. Volunteer to help run the race if you haven’t!! Talk to Walt Rothon and Richard Harper if you want to play a role!
Week-ending 1st September
This was a fantastic lucky dip of the great and glorious. We had a couple of world champs, London League, Middle Distance and an epic mountain adventure, to name but a few.
Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc
First up was Nick van Praag taking on the epic brutality of the UTMB. It’s a race unlike most others. Starting at 6pm, competitors run through night and day, covering nearly 170km and at least 9 mountain passes. Of a field of 2,542 runners only 1,556 finished. Probably makes it the toughest event this season!
Nick finished well in the mix – 649th out of 1,556. A good 7 hours ahead of the last finisher, he has earned a considerable amount of kudos!!
Capital Tri Aquathlon “Fix Splash and Dash” – LONDON LEAGUE
The first of the critical London League races took place in North East London – a standard tri but without the bike leg. We needed a big turn-out for all of our September League races to stand a chance of scoring max points and climb back up into a top 3 position.
On the day, we only managed 5 on the start line – 3 men, 2 women – meaning we were off to a tougher start than we should have been. However, it was good to see that the 5 who turned out are part of our regular core of League racers: Euan Lees; Rob Argles; Gina Siebler; Tony Banner; and, Jane Osborne.
Euan not only came in first for the club but won the entire race, in a time of 59 min. Hot on his heels, in 6th place, and winning yet another age category podium spot, was Rob 5 ½ min later. Tony rounded up our men’s team scoring, just missing out on a top 3 position himself!
Jane grabbed a silver podium spot in 1hr 22min, with Gina rounding things up with a fantastic first top-3 spot herself!
Now, where did all of that leave us. Clearly, with only 5 racers we were going to be at risk from any other club fielding a bigger turn-out. The good news is that we were one of the biggest clubs on the day. The bad news is that Serpentine and Clapham Chasers also turned out with fast teams and similar sized teams, and London Fields also turned up with 2 female racers.
A fast Chasers men’s team (aided by former club member Ricardo Composto in 2nd place) bounced us off maximum points. This meant we stuck to our 4th place in the League, whilst Chasers rose to 1st. It also meant that our only winnable spot in the League would be 3rd – and this could only be secured through at least one maximum points score and fielding as many racers as we could to earn more Mob points (the gap to Crystal Palace being very, very thin).
For the women, our route up from 3rd required a maximum score of 100. with London Fields throwing in 2 fast runners, the best we could manage was a 97. Serpentine’s 98 score put them on equal points with us, and only Mob points now kept us in a precarious looking 3rd place. With London Fields hosting the final League race, this put us precariously close to sliding down the rankings further. It also meant that we needed to score big in the last 2 races of the season. 1st place was now completely out of reach (Chasers having secured this with London Tri). 2nd place required 2 maximum scores in the final 2 League races.
The silver lining was that our 2nd placed Mixed position was shakily secure – one point different to Crystal Palace. This was going to need a decent turnout for the final 2 races to keep!
Ironman 70.3 Zell am See
Over in the idyllic setting of Zell am See (perhaps more famous for snow-sports than triathlon), Ironman was hosting its latest Middle distance event. Rachell von Maydell and Robert Finn were both out on the course.
Rob flew around the swim and bike, before toughing it out on the run to finish in a fantastic 5hr 19min, in the top 20% of his age group and top 25% of the overall field! For Rachell, in possibly her first Middle Distance triathlon, some solid swimming, cycling and transitions gave her a good foundation for an evenly paced run along the lake-side, to finish in 7hr 12min – a fantastic base on which to build future Middle Distance success!
ITU Worlds (Olympic and Sprint)
In our first World Champs race of the report, Haukur Heimisson and Kerstin Mogull were out representing the club in the Olympic and Sprint events respectively, in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Haukur flew around the course in a great time of 2hr 13min, coming 15th out of 123 in his age group, and earning a pre-qualified slot for the World’s in Edmonton, Canada, next year!
In the Sprint, Kerstin continued her strong season form, despite injury niggles, to claim a 5th AG place, in a time of 1hr 20min, out of a AG field of 72 athletes!
Great racing both!
Hampstead Heath Pondathon
Closer to home, Hampstead Heath was hosting an Aquathlon, affectionately known as the Pondathon. Club members Nicky Huskens and Jess Spivey took part in the team event (racing in the 4 strong Team Grower) and claimed team silver!
Wolverhampton Half Marathon
Out-of-town club member and former comms secretary, Lucinda Springett was racing close to her new Midlands home – running in the Wolverhampton Half. She ran a strong race to finish in 1hr 51min!
New Forest Standard & Middle
In one of my favourite parts of the UK, the New Forest was hosting yet another triathlon weekend – with Standard and Middle distances on offer. Adrian Snow was racing in the Standard event, whilst Catherine Spurin took part in the Middle.
Adrian just missed out on a top 3 finish, crossing the line in a great time of 2hr 40min (the course being far from flat)!
Catherine sped around the Middle Distance course, successfully dodging the resident donkeys and other assorted wildlife, to cross the line in 5hr 53min and won her age group!!
UCI Grand Fondo World Champs
The final event of the week saw Moira Brailsford racing her bike around Poznan, Poland, in the UCI Gran Fondo world championships. Moira succeeded in navigating the 150km course to finish 21st in her age group, and 4th Brit across the line!
Weekend 8th Sep
The following week was no less varied or busy. Fewer world champ events but more involved. Marathons and halves. A spot of triathlon racing. And, some important aquathlon results!
Petra Desert Marathon
Who wants to run a marathon (or half) in the Jordanian desert? Apparently a lot of Europeans and Americans and very few Jordanians – which perhaps says something about the sanity of running in a desert (although potentially the ticket price too!) However, the Jordanian desert is not the Sahara, and Petra is a fantastic heritage site, so I may be adding this to my bucket list.
Out on the full course was Tamsin Ede, whilst taking on the half was Cheryl Boshi.
The full marathon was actually won by one of the few Jordanian runners – in 3hr 40min (which speaks to the unusual quality of the terrain). Tamsin was not far behind. She finished in 4hr 9min, winning her age category, and 3rd of a front group of anglo-american women!
The field for the Half Marathon was a little more reflective of the surrounding geography, with the top 3 places being taken by home nation runners. Cheryl, finished as 1st female by nearly 15min, finishing 7th in a time of 2hr 5min!!
Looks like a great holiday either side of the race too.
National Aquathlon Championships
This year, the National Aquathlon Champs took place in Arundel. Swimming 750m in the fast flowing River Arun, competitors then took on a 5k run right past the castle. Euan Lees was out racing for the club, and finished in a speedy 29.5min in 8th position, coming 2nd in his age group!
Clash of the Tritons – LONDON LEAGUE
Our penultimate race in the London League series took place in Greenwich. Stepping down from Capital Tri’s standard length distances, the Clash of the Tritons was a milder 750m swim and 5km run.
Following the good but nearly great result in the previous race, we required a strong and sizable group of Ful-on Tri racers for this event. Sadly, we could only manage 4, and this meant zero points for both male and mixed teams.
Racing were: Rob Argles; Rhys Davies; Gina Siebler; and, Sarah Watts.
Rob crossed the line first for the club in 35 minutes – with yet another age group win! And, though we didn’t have enough runners to get a team score, Rhys’ age group win put a silver lining on this!!
In great form, Gina earned another top 3 finish, with Sarah rounding things up for our women’s team with a 2nd place spot! Fantastic.
For the men, not scoring actually changed very little – we remain in 4th place. However, it means that we can do no better than a 3rd place in the League. It also means that finishing in 3rd place requires a win in the final race of the season at London Fields. The good news is there is very little risk of placing 5th.
Similarly, in the women’s results, the 4th placed 97 points just keep us in 3rd place overall. However, our 3rd place is at risk from good final race scoring by Greenwich Tritons, London Fields and Serpies. 3rd place is now also the best we can do.
Sadly, the one position move (downwards) was our Mixed Team placing. Unable to score in the most recent race, Crystal Palace have now taken 2nd place, pushing Ful-on to 3rd. With one point in it, we could equalise with Crystal Palace and take 2nd on Mob points – provided we have the largest field we can muster on 22nd September.
If you haven’t entered the London Fields Aquathlon, do so – the results of the club depend on you!
Daventry Sprint Triathlon
This sprint triathlon, not far from Northampton, features a 400m pool swim, 20km cycle and 5km run in Daventry Country Park. Sophie Kirk was our on and only Ful-on Tri entrant. She clinched 1st placed female (setting a new women’s course record), crossing the line in 1hr 4min!
Great North Run
Sharon Booth appears to be the only club member to take part in this year’s Great North Run – a popular half marathon through Newcastle. 2hr 45min finish time and a well-earned fish and chips or newcy brown!
From Northamptonshire to Newcastle and back down to Suffolk – Jane Osborne was racing in the Clacton Standard Triathlon. Finishing in 2hr 23min, she came 2nd in her age group and 5th female overall!
Woburn Middle Distance Triathlon
Woburn Abbey is the setting for a September middle distance triathlon (with shorter distances on offer too). Stephen Flexer was our only club entrant in the Woburner (middle), whilst Will Averill took on the Olympic, and Eimear Toomey snuck into the Sprint.
Stephen had a storming swim and strong bike, transitions and run, nearly landing him in the top 20% of the field, just 4 shy of an age group podium, and a great 5hr 38min finish time!
Will threw in a solid all round performance on the Olympic, but his bike leg (averaging nearly 35km/h) sticks out as truly exceptional! All in all this earned him a finish time of 2hr 37min and a very resounding age group win!!
In the sprint, Eimear’s swim and T1 set her up nicely to use her bike strength, where she clawed back places. A solid run saw her finish in 1hr 34min, well within the top 20% of the field, and snatching an age group win too!!
Great racing by all three, on a weekend dominated by talk of another race in France.
Mercedes Benz Running Grand Prix – 10km
Racing twice in the same weekend (!!!), Eimear Toomey trotted around the 10k course on offer in Weybridge to grab a season pb of 46min!
The London Duathlon has become a regular September feature in Richmond Park. Though a tad pricey, it offers the chance to race on two feet and two wheels around familiar home turf.
Jane Muir-Sands, Andrew Jack, Tom Raven and Katie Marsh were all out racing, and, aside from Andrew (coming in just under 2hr 23min), all finished within 5 minutes of each other: 2hr 42min, 46min and 47min for Katie, Jane and Tom respectively!!
Tour of Flanders – Summer Edition
Making use of mildly better early September weather, Tim Dearden was riding of the Flemish cobbles over the nearly 120km course. Continuing in strong cycling form this season, he finished in under 5 hours!
Ironman 70.3 Champs Nice
And finally, the one race everyone was talking about this week – the Ironman 70.3 world championships in Nice. Ful-on Tri had a large contingent going into this 2 day event. This is in no small part down to the club’s increasingly middle distance focus over the last few years.
Championship races like this tend to be split events. The women race on one day, the men on another. So, Saturday saw: Ursula Hankinson; Faye Sanders; Sian Morgan; Sybille Schorm; Ruth Purbrook; Stephanie Wise; Fiona Sander. And, then, on Sunday we had: Ed Dennis; John Borton; Will Manns; Nick de Bouillane; Karl Boehm; and, Richard Curling.
Back from injury, Ruth showed she is recovering well, posting a 5hr 1min finish time and a 7th AG place! Barely 20 minutes behind, we then had Ursula with another strong performance! Fiona and Faye, as if there surnames weren’t close enough as it is, finished 1 minute apart, on 5hr 49min and 5hr 50min! Sybille flew past 8 minutes later, with Stephanie and Sian rounding things off at 6hr 7min and 6hr 19min respectively! Great to see such a talented field representing the club.
Ed was first in for the men in a speedy 4hr 47min, though John takes the first across the line for those officially racing for Ful-on Tri in 4hr 54min! Less than 4min behind John was Karl, who has been having a great season! In a very, very tight finish group, the remaining men (Nick, Richard and Will) finished in 5hr 1 min, 5hr 5min and 5hr 7min respectively! For everyone finishing within a 20 minute window sounds more like target practice.
Well done to everyone for making it to Nice and doing the club proud!!
Weekend 15th Sep
And, finally, back to the present. This week / weekend has been significantly quieter, perhaps reflecting that the season is truly coming to an end. Aside from a couple of runs, we had a middle distance triathlon, and one of the toughest Ironman races on the circuit.
Shaun Wood was supposed to be racing the Sandman Savage this weekend (another 2 day mash up of Sprint and Classic distances). Sadly, the official results are suggesting he did not finish, so fingers crossed that all is ok!!
Depending on what stats you look at, Ironman Wales is either one of the hardest or the hardest Ironman races in the calendar. A sea swim is followed by a bike course packed full of undulation and climbing (with a merciless gradient to get up before the descent to transition), and a marathon course with patchy support and plenty of hills. Finish times are dramatically different to steadier courses such as Copenhagen or Austria.
This year, our two club members racing were Phil Smith and Ben Harrison.
Ben followed a solid swim with a quick T1 before grinding around the harsh bike leg. He appears to have paced things well. Coming to the run with energy left, he managed a relatively even split Marathon to finish in 13hr 45min – which is quite possibly a solid sub 12hr time elsewhere!
Phil clearly had a tougher time on this brutal bike course, with the Marathon biting in after the first 10km. A spirited and determined effort saw him battle through this welsh toughie, to finish in 15hr 11min!
Truly heroic efforts by both – and surely time to race a flatter course to earn those PBs??
Hampstead Trail Race
Borja Portos was running the 10k trail race on Hampstead Heath on Saturday – winning the event!!
Also on Saturday, but somewhat later in the day, Gina Siebler ran the Graze Sundown 5km race from Richmond Old Deer Park. A finish time of just under 27min earned Gina a new 5k PB – awesome work!!!
The Dart 10k Swim
As the event website points out “this is a journey, not a race”. Even so, 10km is not to be sniffed at.
Pete Doubleday was taking part in this year’s 10km swim down the river Dart.
The Vitruvian is, I believe, one of Rob Argles’ favourite events – you’ll have to ask him how many times he has now raced it. It’s a great middle distance triathlon based around Rutland Water – some rolling terrain slightly offsetting the fact that the bike and run legs are 6km and 1km too short respectively.
This weekend, Nicky Huskens and Rob Argles were both competing.
Rob finished his nth attempt at this race in 4hr 23min and came 2nd in his age group! Just 2 shy of a podium in her own category, Nicky finished in 5hr 26min!
Which brings us back up to date for the last 3 weeks of racing.
As usual, if you or someone you know is missing, or you have an upcoming race you may not have told me about, please email me at [email protected]
Remember, if you haven’t appeared in any of the race reports this season, it means I don’t have your results – and if they are a for a triathlon, you will not yet be in contention for any of the end of year race awards. If that is truly the case, please let me know ASAP. I can fix things in the near term, but by early November it will start getting too late to include you – which gives a good month and a half from now.