Race Reports

Paris Marathon 2016


Jim and Helen Graham along with Doug Mac Taggart joined about 54,000 competitors from 145 nationalities in the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris on Sunday. This marathon is now one of the largest marathons in the world and offers an incomparable backdrop of Paris with spectacular views and landmarks all along the route.

Jim said they were very happy with their times of 2.59 and 3.48 despite some problems before and during the race. Jim had been in bed 36 hours before the race with a tummy upset and Helen strained her Achilles at about mile 6.

They explained that the race was a warm up for them andthey  were looking forward to competing in the Brighton and London marathons later on in April.

Doug Mac Taggart was pleased with his time of  4.13 and commented that it was a very scenic and quick course, although a little congested in the second half.

Paris Marathon Douglas Mac Taggart

Goodwood Duathlon 2016


Sunday 3rd April dawned sporting light winds and sunny spells, meaning that the notoriously windy Goodwood circuit would at worst be breezy, rather than the knock-you-off-your-bike gales that had been endured in recent years. This was particularly pleasing as I'd forgotten just how tough a duathlon is and had optimistically chosen the long course to complete. (I thought: it's only a couple of quid more, so why not??). Also, having previously completed an event at Brands Hatch, where the smooth, wide tarmac was a pleasure to ride on, I fancied racing on another closed circuit. There were a large handful of MSTC members who had also chosen Goodwood as their seasons opening race, split between the two race options of 4,20,4 and 4,40,8 (Kms).

Cliché alert!

It's hard to avoid them when you turn up at Goodwood: It really was glorious in the spring sunshine. As you emerge trackside from the narrow entry tunnel, the area was as clean as a whistle and the art deco buildings made you feel like you had stepped back in time. Parking is a stone's throw from transition, there is plenty of spectator viewing space and a small pop up cafe, selling those treats to be avoided as you try get down to race weight. The relaxed gun time of 10 am and Goodwood's proximity makes it a very good venue for family and friends support.

Children's entertainment

This chap turned up in true Goodwood fashion, having painted his three-wheeler in MSTC colours. It reminded me of a visit to Jerry Cottles circus, I imagined seeing  'Clumsy the cycling clown'  wobbling around registration on a unicycle whilst juggling a pump, a water bottle and a banana!

The Race.

Simplicity itself: Mass start on the track, run a lap, T1 (in the pit lane), ride 5 laps (20km) or 10 (40 km), T2, run another lap (or 2).

Reality bit on lap 1 as a group of 9 set off like greyhounds after a stuffed bunny, disappearing into the distance: duathlon is an aquaphobic's sport. I took in the views, looking up to Goodwood race course and across the flatlands towards the Witterings, as the first circuit was completed.

The bike was fast, with only a short section of the lap into a stiff breeze: It was very enjoyable to race flat out, unconcerned about potholes, road furniture and sleepy eyed Sunday drivers on their way to brunch. Even still I was lapped by a few of the greyhounds I'd last seen on the run and Colin C gave me a cheery "C'mon Phil!" as he also whizzed by.

The second run was a different story. On dismounting and attempting to jog through transition, my glutes were in knots and I realised I'd overcooked it. Hobbling back out on to the track, I looked like a man who was "in a hurry after a curry"… Thankfully this eased off and I pressed on, ever conscious that my legs were pretty shot, but I could see I wasn't the only one suffering: the first race of the season is always a loud wakeup call!  The end of the two laps came along relatively quickly, 8km seeming much shorter than the 10 covered in a STD distance Tri. I was relieved it was over and happy that I'd completed my first race of the season, ticking off several goals: another event on a closed circuit, a distance PB for an hour's ride and a sub 1.55 finish. Time to head to the cafe and treat myself to a post-race feed!

Full results here: http://www.portsmouthtriathletes.co.uk/results/2016/163-goodwood-2016.html




Balcombe Bull Run 2016


A large contingent from the Mid Sussex Triathalon Club took part in the popular and friendly Balcombe Bull Run which attracted 88 runners on Sunday morning.

The Run is organised by Matt Record of the Balcombe C of E Primary School PTA and comprises a challenging 7.1km run on lanes, footpaths and tracks starting and finishing at the school.

Triathalon Club members James Dear 30.10.09, Mike Jaffe 31.06.03 and Graham Bond 31.21.02 claimed the top 3 places followed by Jo Fleming 31.35.03 and Neil Giles 32.02.03 in 5th and 6th positions.

Lucy Williams was the 2nd lady home in a very credible time of 35.12.09.

IM Barcelona 2015 race report


3 places and 12 minutes from securing Kona slot



Jeff Woodall of MSTC announced he was doing IM Barcelona 2015.

I loved doing this race in 2014, so it didn't take much to persuade me to take up a late entry for 2015, via Nirvana Travel.

Classic over-training by doing a full-distance 100% effort 3 weeks earlier at Challenge Weymouth, followed by an 80% effort at Gauntlet middle-distance 1 week prior to Barcelona.


Race Day

Perfect conditions with calm sea and 20 degrees air temperature with no rain and little wind or sunshine.


Rolling-start to swim made a stress-free experience and easy to find correctly paced swimmers to draft off. Exited the water in 1:18 (2 minutes slower than PB but 4 minutes quicker than 2014). Bodes well for a good race. Wanting to shave 8 minutes off last year's finish time in order to get a sub-10 result.


Was approximately half-way in field of 2,400 at start of cycle. Therefore, over a thousand riders to overtake over the coming 112-miles. Got 12 seconds to overtake each one in order to avoid a drafting penalty. Decided to give it 100% and try for a first ever sub-5 hour ironman cycle. Not thinking about the run. Didn't want to stop for loo or fuel, so only drank 3 litres that I was carrying (15 gels, 3 salt tablets and 4 sachets of isotonic dissolved in the drinks system).

Plan worked well and completed cycle in 4:49, with only 2 or 3 cyclists overtaking me during that time. 19 minutes quicker than 2014!


Started with a stitch and indigestion so didn't take a gel for the first 40 minutes. Happy with the cycle and not too bothered about doing a great run. Started to feel good after first hour, so focused on trying to get that sub-10 finish. Got the maths wrong by a 15 minute margin and sprinted frantically for the last 2-miles in order to squeeze in under 10-hours. In fact managed 3:32, which was just 2 minutes slower than 2014.



Felt fantastic and scoffed a big meal including 3 beers. Usually feel rubbish after ironman, so this was a pleasant surprise. Couldn't believe the 9:45 finish time. Not surprised that 6 male 50-54's had finished quicker than me, because there are some insanely fast middle aged blokes out there who beat many of the pros.

Met up with Jeff and his family. Jeff swam 4 minutes quicker than me and would have matched me on the cycle if he hadn't got a horrid puncture. Jeff had completed a terrific sub-12 for his first ever ironman.

Massive thanks to friends and family who supported us. Brilliant comments on facebook and it was heart-warming that some people had been followed our progress on the live-tracker then posted updates on facebook. It really helps to have positive thoughts about that sort of thing whilst racing.


SWIM DETAILS | Division Rank: 129






3.9 km












BIKE DETAILS | Division Rank: 20






180.2 km







37.34 kph





RUN DETAILS | Division Rank: 7






42.2 km











Originally from: IronMan Barcelona 2015 Results 

Who’s the biggest banana?


On the same weekend that the club's elite were taking on the continent's best at the European Championships in Geneva, or becoming Ironmen (all over again) at Hever, the elderly, the infirm, the has-beens and the never-weres took a deep breath and confronted the Bananaman Triathlon at Dorney Lake.

Why the 'Bananaman'? Well, there was a bloke in a banana suit (no one knew whether he actually competed - getting his wetsuit on over the banana suit would have been tricky) and there were piles of green bananas around the place, courtesy of upmarket sponsor Lidl. "Don't eat those," warned Professor Dr Sir David Ricketts, Bart, "they'll kill you. I remember when I was in Honduras…" etc, etc.

Sir David, Brad Williams and I were off at 10.30 for an 800m swim, followed by a 31.8k bike and a 7.5k run (note the strange, in-betweeny sprint/Olympic hybrid distances), while Angela Murray's wave was due off 40 minutes later.

An 800m open water swim. Gulp. We line up with the other green caps in the clear waters of the lake, conscious that the next wave of yellow caps (relay team swimmers, I think) are due off just five minutes later. So that means being overtaken by the first of them in about six minutes' time, I think. And so it happens. Otherwise, I have a relatively uneventful swim as I labour round two circuits of a rectangle marked by four buoys - no (deliberate) punches, kicks or gouges, unlike a lady in Angela's wave who later says she's planning an official complaint after being so badly bruised by swimmers ploughing through from the following men's wave that she was forced to retire.

Emerging from the water, surrounded by yellow caps (where are all the greens?), I'm confronted by my usual wetsuit removal problem of being unable to reach to undo that velcro thing at the top of the zip (howdopeople do that?) until, seeing my evident distress, a spectator kindly offers to undo it for me. Against the rules, I know, but wtf? It's only the Bananaman, not the Olympics.

Into transition and no sign of Sir D or Brad (they'll be miles ahead), onto the bike and straight into the notorious Dorney Lake headwind for six circuits of the lake. Down onto the tri-bars for the next hour or so (it's completely flat), except for a tricky little chicane where you sometimes have to slow down to negotiate the traffic. Towards the end, I overtake Sir D, who is making his usual stately progress on his venerable titanium Raleigh, having deliberately handicapped himself once again by electing to shun tri-bars. If ever there was a course where you benefit from minimising your frontal area (no, don't titter), it's this one.

Then onto the run, which is three out-and-back laps of a path by the lakeside - and is HARD, despite its pan-flatness. About two-thirds of the way out I meet Brad on his way back, and with an uncatchable lead, so settle down to my own private misery. Out on the second lap I see Brad again at approximately the same place, but on the third lap, no sign of him. So that means he was more, not less, than a lap ahead of me! Oh well, it's not a race, I tell myself - conveniently forgetting that, well, itisactually a race.

Finally, nowhere near soon enough, the finish comes, and there stands an only slightly sheepish Brad waiting to reveal that he thought it was two laps, not three. "Julie will never let me forget this," he chortles, as Sir D finishes in fine style, having, like me, naively thought you had to complete all three laps.

Suddenly, catastrophe! Sir D realises that he hasn't been given a medal. He's only doing it for the medals. Nor have any of the rest of us, and realisation dawns. There are, in actual fact, NO MEDALS! Except… Sir D says he's seen some children walking about with medals, so there must be medals. He sets off in search of medals and returns shortly afterwards, well satisfied with a children's 'Scootathlon' medal. "They've got loads left," he says airily. "Why not get one yourselves?" Politely, we decline.

Then we sit in the sun watching Angela finish her run to come first in her age group for the first time ever, before the obligatory team photo back in transition. "Don't post the times on Facebook this time," warns Sir D. "I wasn't really trying. I've got the Brighton Aquathlon tomorrow."

"Yes," agrees Brad, looking preoccupied. "Er, you know, don't post those times on Facebook or anything, will you?"

So I don't. But just in case anyone's interested, here's a link: http://humanrace.co.uk/results-archive/2015/lidl-bananaman-triathlon/all-results