Race Reports

Mid Sussex Tri Olympic Distance race

The Olympic distance race will be held on Sunday 24th July at Ardingly Reservoir.

This race is open to all members.  We want to encourage everybody to have a go at the event given that the emphasis for most is on having the opportunity to do an Olympic distance event in a familiar and supportive environment.  It is also cheap and involves little traveling or additional costs. We don't have marshals around the course although the bike and run routes are well signed. 

The 1500 swim will be a 2 lap course in the reservoir.  For those who are a little worried about the swim distance, rest assured that the route is along the normal swim lanes for Saturday morning swimming and there will be a safety boat and a canoeist in the water  at all times. 

Transition area is set up on the grass adjacent to the car park.

The 40 km bike course is essentially a slightly shortened route of the course used for the middle distance event last year.  It is a bit lumpy but not that bad and quite enjoyable - especially on the down hill parts on the return section.

The 10km run is on the paths around the reservoir.  It is wholly off road and, while there is likely to be some pedestrian traffic, it is safe and flat. 

The briefing is at 0645.  The swim starts in one wave at 0700.

We really want people to have a go at this -irrespective of ability or speed or any thing else.  The main point is having a go at this distance and seeing what happens.  Mark Jordan and Steve Alden are more than happy to speak to any body who wants to ask any questions that are not covered in the information sheets and entry forms.




Middle distance
The middle distance event will be held at the same venue on Sunday 29th August.  Again we want people to have a go at the distance, even if it is as part of a relay team or to do one or two of the elements.  The course is exactly the same as that for last year and, as such, an extended route from that of the Olympic distance.

The middle course has been set as:
1. an open water swim over a 1.9 Km course in the Ardingly Reservoir.  The course is 3 laps of an out and back route of 600 metres per lap (300 metres out - 300 metres back) with an additional 100 metre swim to the finish at the slipway.  

2. a cycle route of 79.25 Kms that will be held entirely on open public roads, where there will be unrestricted vehicular, pedestrian and other traffic.    It is a relatively hilly, testing and technical course.

3.  a 20-ish Km run over a course that is mainly on off-road, public footpaths and bridleways adjacent to the Ardingly Reservoir.

The start will be at 0700, just after a briefing.  Arrangements will be similar to those for the Olympic distance but with a water station for the second lap of the bike course and a water station at the run turn round point. 

Middle Distance Documents:

Steve Alden, James Dear and Mark Jordan are working on the admin at the moment and will get the entry forms etc out in the next couple of weeks.

Ironman Austria Triathlon 2011


Hi Everyone,

Its Claire here, I never write race reports so for the one and only - make yourself a cuppa and read on.


Wow, and I mean Wow! I actually can't believe that I did the Austrian Ironman - Whoo! Hoo! Hoo! I have spent months diligently training from the book that Tim is about to enjoy burning and not once deceived myself that I could be as amazingly fit and strong as you girls/guys.


I joined the Mid Sussex Tri Club in May 2005. I was treating Andy Heath and I am not sure if it was a recommendation of his or if I plagued the life out of him during the pain of having his hamstrings sorted that he mentioned he was part of this great club. From the minute I arrived at the club I was surrounded by lots of friendly faces and lots of encouragement. I am so glad that all those friendly faces are still my dear friends. For those that are new to the club beware of drinking and or being caught in the (Steve) Alden or Mac magic of entering any races..


So before you read this, I ask you do just one thing for me ...I very genuinely ask that you will not judge me and my efforts on my time. I am highly aware that those before me on their IM quests (even double IM quests) have gone faster and those that will follow after, will again go more speedily! So as the first woman in the club to have ever completed an Ironman, you might wonder why?


13 years ago I had a lifesaving/changing operation and after the celebral aneurysm my life has been a whirlwind of taking every single minute and enjoying it. I had to learn how to talk, walk and build up from a non-existent memory in the multiple months that followed after leaving Hurstwood Park. Tim and I had only been married for a few months and for this I am glad we had a great honeymoon as the shock of this operation and the next few months and years were going to be hard.


My first challenge arrived when I wanted to go back to work and was eventually allowed to go back to something nice, enjoyable and easy. I joined a gym and loved being the first face members saw on reception. I started getting into fitness again and managed to get friendly with a group of women that had just been running. Up until then I hadn't run - I wanted in! So I starting running with them, then in Sept I entered the London Marathon for the following year and despite huge concern from my parents and my brothers and sisters, I ran it and finished. That day was magnificent; my face ached for days from smiling so much. I had at last got back a little bit of me. Illness takes away your independence. and within the 5 hours that it took - I had this back and a bit more confidence ..


My IM time: 15 hrs 4 minutes 42 seconds. (1:18:17/ 7:27:13 inc T1 /6:01:53 inc T2).


For me, I did what I set out to do. Which was start at the beginning with a big smile on my face looking out over the lake (Rach where are you), and finish many hours later looking utterly exhausted and smiling still (now .where did I put that lip-gloss) knowing that I would still be loved by Tim. I truly believe that you can do whatever you want if you work hard enough. I only found the strength to do this IM by what I have learnt from you all in being part of the Mid Sussex Tri Club, so Thank you. The advice, kindness and friendship will never be forgotten.


We are at Stanstead Airport and waiting to check in for our flights, the other travellers are evidently not your usual bunch, its like bike box envy with stickers over the cases showing different events over the world. These pretty awesome athletes are all wearing compression anklets and T- shirts from previous Ironman comps. Wowsers, I really think I have the wrong queue!

We fly into Slovenia and the coach takes us into Austria. Austria is beautiful, and I mean breathtakingly beautiful it's so alpine and lush. I love looking at all the chalets and the lakes are the most beautiful colour of jade.


We have booked with Nirvana and it seems to be a very well organised succession of coaches and we eventually arrive at our destination. The following day we eat early and go into Klagenfurt, there is another coach that does a bike recce. I am worried about this. It's great that Tim can see the bike course however I can't change what the route is going to be like and thankfully the coach only struggles up one of the mountains. The rest of the day goes so well with registration and racking and before too long we are back on the coach.


A long, long night. I really need to sleep, however the tiredness in my body has lost its fight to my active mind that won't allow my body to sleep. All I keep thinking of is did I train hard enough, I will let so many people down if something goes wrong, I am just me, will Tim be ok. So much is rushing through my mind.all the pleasure I have had from seeing different parts of Sussex and Surrey on by bike, the nasty occurrence of my restless legs that has worryingly spread to my arms, with the endless hours of training to achieve my IM dream. My doubts that the results of my EEG and CT scans will come back as abnormal and that I have indeed driven my body to face some sort of self-destruct mode. Then more doubts will my ankle behave - two weeks ago I thought I have a stress fracture in my ankle, so a quick visit to see Steve Bendall and lots of money later a diagnosis of a heel spur and no running until the day (ekkk). again I wonder whether I have misused my body and if I should be doing this ...       I work such long hours and getting up hideously early and going to bed very late there is no wonder I look about 90..


3rd July in Austria


My watch alarm goes off and Tim and I head for breakfast - does anyone enjoy eating at 4 am? I don't and today even though it is the day I have trained so hard for it is impossible to eat there are knots in my stomach and I just can't eat. I get the 'eat' look from Tim and eat enough and wander down with Tim to the coach. A small journey takes us in to Klagenfurt and we follow everyone else and some newly found friends that are also doing their first IM. The music is pumping out and we all start to feel like this might be the day of our dreams.


I am standing at the front, looking out over the lake. I can't see the other 2900 competitors that are in between the two pontoons, and the smile is spreading across my face. I am here and this is going to be the day I hoped for..as I believe...


We start by walking into the water and wait for the starting clacton, I don't hear it, everyone starts swimming, and I start swimming I still can't hear it and carry on swimming. Its one loop into the centre of the lake and then back through a narrow canal, which gets a bit cosy. The swim goes really well and I love every minute of it. I get out and see that I did it in 1:18 so not my best time and not my worst time.


T1 is quite a way away and the minute I am out of the water I run along. The route is packed by so many supporters screaming and applauding their loved ones along that I leg it. I just have to remember that the finish line will only come to me if I keep moving forwards...OMG at T1 you have helpers. No other event will ever be the same! I get changed and it's a pleasing T1 time then I am out on the bike, this course is beautiful and an enormous part of it feeds around the lake and then up into the mountains and then back around again. I am so pleased that I did 7 lots of 100 miles pre this race as it means apart from any failing mechanics I can just focus on pedalling around and taking in the view.


T2 comes along very quickly and again, although not my best time for my 112 miles. I am pleased that I enjoyed all the descending and climbed the hills and got my nutrition right.


T2 has me forgetting my number as I search through the hanging bags - doh! So I am grateful to the helpers inside the tent that I decide not to waste time and getting changed and before I know it I start the run. I have seen Tim quite a few times now and I feel good. My smile is still in place and a huge amount of relief that the next part is down to the strength and determination to finish.


I have again lots of advice whizzing through my head, stop at every feed station and let the crowd spur you on, keep positive and Tim has some pictures that are of some very special people in my life. I have had so much water and the right amount of gels that it's wonderful to find some yummy watermelon on the course and as the weather has been kind so I don't hang on to the sponges for long. I run for the first 6 miles and then my ankle feels very sore. This isn't good. I keep running and think about the time left. I have 5 hours to do this in.


I can and will do this.


I start walking and I mean power walking, my walk is fast and I can see Tim. His support has been unreal. I continue to walk and it's a now a race against time. I am not going to ruin my ankle and run, this walk is faster than my Ironman shuffle and every so often I can hear the tannoy announcing that someone else is an IRONMAN. I keep going, everyone is showing the signs of determination and I think of you all, my family and Tim and start running again. This isn't for long - my ankle is very tender and swollen now, and it is the final lap of 13 miles. I am willed on by everyone and there is a strong connection between everyone racing that we are all Ironmen all that is to be decided is our times. I keep going and I can hear music. The carpet leads the competitors along to the finishers stadium and the IM podium is 600m away.


Its such an emotional experience, everyone is lining the route, all you can hear is the smacking of the bang bangs, everyone singing and dancing to the music, screaming your name and I run ..like I have never run before and then I hear the most magical voice... Claire from Great Britain you are an ...IRONMAN.


I know that my reign in being the first girl to do this distance will only last one week, and then I hope along with Kate's amazing efforts at Switzerland and Jade at Outlaw (wishing you both the very best of luck) Perhaps some more women will follow in my footsteps...so for this reason only Tim..perhaps don't burn that book yet.. I think that I have at last found at last my distance

Yours as always a very tired, skippy and happy IronMan Claire

Author: Claire Cresswell

Dorney Lake WomenOnly Triathlon - 2nd July 2011


On Saturday, the 2nd July, there were many different ladies only races going on at Dorney Lake, with Clare, Jean & Sharon in the Challenge triathlon and Fiona in the Sprint. So here are two race reports for you:

Author: Sharon

Left the house at 7.30am which is not too early; apart from my teenage kids thinking that they have been woken up in the middle of the night. My crew in the car were: Gordon (hubby), Sean & Alina - the kids. We were hoping to catch up with the other car - Clare, Jean & Rob (Jean's hubby). Unfortunately 15mins up the road and we are straight back to the house for the forgotten camera.

No sign of Jean's car but the M25 was blissfully quiet and drama-free so we made great time to Dorney Lake.

There were loads of parking and a bit of walk to the boathouse so support crew were handed equipment to carry & off we went. The walk helped to settle the nerves a bit - worrying about all the unknowns for my first open water triathlon; the mass swim start, spotting & getting out of the spray-on wetsuit.

Saw three lovely smiling faces waiting for us outside the registration tent - Rob was trying to stay cheerful as when he had first spotted the large registration tent, he thought it was full of beer.

After collecting my number, we headed for the posh boathouse and upstairs to the balcony & café, which gives great views of the Lake and an excellent place to settle all the support crew who immediately organised themselves bacon sandwiches - oh crikey I'm going to hurl, there goes the nerves again.

As Clare, Jean & I racked our bikes, we were able to watch the first Wave enter the water. The first group were the Relay team and there didn't seem to be many of them so gave us all the wrong impression that the groups were going to be small. Not long before it's our time to wander down to the start position & there were LOADS of us (our wave - under 30s & over 40s). Clare was the bravest - going in without the wetsuit - whereas Jean & I just went "NO WAY - gives us the rubber".

All in the water, treading and trying to find our space while listening to the race briefing - excellent place to tell you the race details - knowing full well that you couldn't escape at this point. Then went the Starting Gun & wow! Arms, legs everywhere, all trying to head for the 1st buoy. Had to stop as goggles were knocked off and then tried to avoid the kicking breast stroker. Going round the first buoy, someone actually grabbed my ankle. First time ever I was actually kicking!

Swim was 2 laps - bizarrely 800m in open water doesn't seem so long or so hard compared to a pool environment. After the race I discovered from the support team that the girl who was leading mistakenly starting heading back to the first buoy instead of the finish ramp & had to be chased by the speed boat to correct her. Even with her extra 200m-ish, she still managed to beat the rest of us.

Hit the finish ramp with my hands, straight up and running (first fear dealt with as I thought my legs were going to be too wobbly). The wetsuit came off so smoothly - shock - (2nd fear dealt with) but then I had to sit on the floor to put shoes on as felt a bit dizzy. Out of T1, next came Jean - who absolutely loved her first experience of open water racing and then Clare.

I loved the cycle ride as it is SO flat, no cars and the surface is lovely & smooth. Its 6 laps around the lake and some excellent corners to take. Only time in each lap you had to slow down was when you return to the boathouse as caution was required from cyclist coming from the T1 slip way and supporters crossing the path. All our support crew were giving us great encouragement as we went past them on each lap - is that bloody ice-creams in their hands?????

T2 was okay, and then onto the run. A bit of a boring route as up & down the same path for 3 laps. Excellent option to check that everyone is okay. Saw Clare (looking strong and happy) while on my 1st lap but where is Jean? - getting worried now! The positive aspect of the run is that it is as flat as a pancake, so my currently sore knees weren't suffering too much (last fear sorted).

Finally last lap & it is so hot, just kept looking straight ahead, counting to 100 and not worrying what other ladies were doing & then finally, I would love to say a sprint but more like a crawl to the finish line. Here I was met by a group of sweet cheering marshals, our screaming support crew and a dodgy looking man with a garden hose splashing everyone with cold water. In other circumstances he probably would have got a slap but this time I was truly grateful. Not long after a beaming Clare & then a smiling Jean crossed the finish line.

Now to hear "what had happened to poor Jean" - to be honest we are not really sure as number of laps are not officially counted, but we think that most probably Jean did an extra bike lap - I told you the bike route was so good - you just want to do more!

After we packed up and were ready to go home we were lucky to have a chance to cheer Fiona as she headed to the finish line - my god that girl can run.

To summarise I think I can happily say from all 4 of us that Dorney Lake is an excellent venue for competing and for your spectators. All the races were very well organised and had a great buzzing atmosphere - but no beer tent - sorry Rob.

Here are our results:

STANDARD DISTANCE (800m, 30km, 7.5km):








































Author Fiona:

Managed to get round the M25 with relative ease so hoped that was a good omen for my 2nd attempt at triathlon.

On arrival the nerves really began to take hold and it seemed an age to walk from the car park to the boathouse and race registration.  After collecting my numbers and timing chip there were lots of green hats in the water.  Wondering if this could be Sharon, Claire and Jean in the challenge event.  The hooter went and there was flying arms and white water.....crikey that's a mass start then!

Racked the bike trying to remember the tips Steve B gave me at East Grinstead and then it was just a case of waiting.  This was probably the worst part of the day as thoughts of getting stuck in my wetsuit or further bike malfunctions did nothing to calm my nerves!  Standing on the balcony at the boathouse looking down on transition I was trying to spot the others but sadly didn't see them before the start of my wave.

I was glad that I had a couple of Ardingly swim sessions under my belt as I made my way to the water and chatting to some of the other competitors who were first timers I started to enjoy the moment!  The marshals friendly banter certainly helped and by the time I'd swam round the second buoy I was really enjoying the swim.  Was surprised to get a mouthful of weeds and realised that I'd veered off to the left on the final approach to the pontoon - idiot! I didn't struggle with the wetsuit as I'd thought but my 2:51 T1 will need some work!  The bike course was great fun and cycling with two fully inflated tyres makes it all the more easier.  I knew I would have been slower on the swim but wasn't sure how many people were in front of me on the bike.  It was also difficult to work out who was who as they were different waves out on the course so I just kept pedalling and praying for incident free cycling.  At the end of my final lap I was expecting a marshal to point me in the direction of transition but nothing so I was glad that I'd kept count myself.....it was 4 laps, wasn't it?  Now for the real test, running off the bike.  Dodged past some milling competitors in transition and made my way out onto the run course.  Getting off the bike I realised just how warm it was out there and hoped that my legs wouldn't cramp up.  I heard some shouts of encouragement, which was a real boost.  I certainly found it harder to run a 5k after the swim and the bike, and kept thinking to myself that I really should have practised some more brick sessions.  The sight of the finish arch after my second lap was a welcome sight and crossing the line I was very surprised and pleased to be given 2nd place in my wave.  I'd completed my first tri and it was worth the wait!

My results:

SPRINT DISTANCE (400m, 20km, 5km):



















Pontevedra 2011 ETU Championships


The GE Great Britain Age Group Team delivered a phenomenal 81 medals including 27 gold across the sprint and standard distance races at the ETU European Championships in Spain over the weekend of 23rd to 26th July 2011.

The two age group races gathered from all over Europe 1.500 to 2.000 athletes and as part of the GBR team, 3 of our own MSTC athletes were there: Rachel Baker, Margaret Hollamby and Steve Alden.

On June the 25th the sprint distance race (swim 750m, bike 20km, run 5km) took place which included Margaret who achieved an amazing 2nd place in her age group (55-59).

Next day, Rachel and Steve took part in the Standard distance race (swim 1500m, bike 40km, 10km), coming a proud 16th & 11th for Great Britain.

The GBR Age Group recorded the fastest overall male and female triathletes in both the sprint and standard distance races. In the sprint race, Mat Clarkson (35-39) from Hertfordshire crossed the line first in 1:01.50, with Anna Turvey (30-34) from Newcastle leading a British one, two, and three in the women's event finishing in 1:08.12.

In the standard distance event, an equally impressive race saw Roger Witz Barnes (25-29) from Manchester finish first overall in 1:58.40, with Nick Dunn (30-34) from Nottingham crossing the line in third.

Final results:

















































Author: Sharon


UK Half Ironman Wimbleball Lake - 19th June 2011

No doubt you have heard of the film Nightmare On Elm Street, welcome to Nightmare at Wimbleball.

The day started at 06.00 with the putting on of the wet suit ready to be walked down to the lake at 06.30. It was overcast and windy but at least it wasn't raining, like Saturday!!! Eventually all 1600 competitors were in the very cold water having waded through the mud!! No "God Save The Queen" this year, not that "she" will be too worried! The gun goes off at 07.00 and we're off, not exactly at a gallop more like a massive washing machine on fast spin!! My swim was okay, got kicked a few times but isn't that what triathlon is all about!! 

I exited the water on 55 mins 17 sec , about 30 secs down on last year. T1 went okay at least i didn't get interviewed like last time! I was a bit unsure as what to wear for the bike as it was still a quite cool and very windy, anyway i opted to remain in my tri suit and put on arm warmers. The bike course is two laps and very hilly and although it remained cool, overcast and windy at least it didn't rain until about ten minutes before reaching T2 but luckily it was only a short shower. I had no problems on the bike, unlike a lot of others who suffered punctures and broken chains etc. and completed the ride in 4:03:51.  T2 passed without any hiccups and the sun had come out by then, it always shines on the righteous!.

Hope you are covering your eyes because this is where the nightmare begins, during the first lap i could feel the underside of my right foot starting to niggle where i had injured it at work a week ago! Even being passed and encouraged by John Webster [we met by chance at the race briefing the day before] couldn't help and by the end of the first lap i had been reduced to a hobble and for a split second i thought maybe i should call it a day!!! But it's an Ironman event, so there is NO GAIN without PAIN!!!! How i got to the finish i don't know,  but i dragged myself over the line after 2hrs 42 mins 4sec.

My overall time was 7hrs 53mins 15 secs, about 30 mins down on last years time. I was gutted at the time as i had wanted to try and finish first in my age group,

You're not going to believe this, i have just checked the results  and even with a shit performance i came FIRST in my age group!!!! Mind you i was the only ONE !!!! Obviously i shall be looking for the MSTC to sponsor my trip to Las Vegas later in the year for the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!!! Ha! Ha!

                 Cat Pos    Total        Swim      T1      Bike         T2    Run
Jon Webster    29    05:57:32   37:54  07:40 03:25:28 01:48 01:44:44
Derek Hastings 1     07:53:15   55:17  08:59 04:03:51 03:07 02:42:04