The Vitruvian "half iron" middle distance triathlon was held at Rutland Water on Saturday 10 September in what could best be described as biblical conditions. This year, the race was afforded greater significance as it had also been designated as the British Triathlon Federation middle distance national championships.
The ladies were off in the first wave of competitors in the half light of early morning and the rain that was to set the scene for the remainder of the day. Mid Sussex Triathlon Club were ably represented by Clair Hunt and Julienne Stuart-Colwill. Fortunately, the strong winds of the previous evening had subsided and with it calmer conditions for the majority of the 2 lap, 950-meter triangular circuit for the swim leg. Towards the far end of the course by the first marker buoy conditions were decidedly choppy making for difficult swimming conditions until turning that first corner and heading back to shore.
Despite the challenging conditions, the first lady back to shore set an impressive time of 25 mins 39 seconds to cover the full 1,900 meters and off onto an undulating 2 lap bike course totalling 85 km before the final wave of competitors had even started their swim. Last to go were the male 45 to 49 age group category and Mid Sussex Tri Club were again represented; this time by Matthew Critchley, setting off a full 40 minutes after the first competitors.
The weather for the day was due to deteriorate and the forecasters did not disappoint with temperatures dropping, wind picking up and the rain intensifying throughout the race. All of which made for increasingly treacherous conditions on the road for the cyclists.
The race concluded with a 21.1 km, half-marathon run along the picturesque banks of Rutland Water. Being 2 laps of an "out and back" course, it offered the perfect opportunity to stop club-mates and rivals as well as offering much needed support and encouragement to tiring athletes! The race for club "line honours" was getting quite tight with Matthew having closed the 40-minute deficit at race start to 15 mins 30 seconds by the start of the run.
With Julienne determined to hold off her club mate, she duly finished in an overall time of 6 hours 11 minutes and 29 seconds, to cross the line a full 6 mins 53 seconds ahead of her team mate, Matthew, who stopped the clock at an elapsed time of 5 hours 38 mins 22 seconds; both setting new Personal Bests at this distance. Clair completed the club trio with a very creditable 7 hours 32 minutes 47 seconds to successfully complete a middle distance race at her first attempt.