Race Reports

Dambuster Olympic Tri - 18 June 2011

1.5k swim - 42k bike - 10k run 

The night before

The Dambuster adventure started the night before as our MSTC athletes battled their way up the Motorways for a long journey up to Leicestershire. Exhausted Rose & Trev arrived at the Travelodge at 11pm, after driving for 4 hours navigating around the closed A1 which didn't stop Trev loading up on route for his pre-race dinner of chips and baked beans. Trev managed 4 hours sleep and surprisingly felt rested on the morning of the race! While poor Rose was up at 4am for the day to begin.

Jeff had his support team (Sue & two of his daughters) with him at the Travelodge to give home encouragement - again an early start for them all as checkout was 5am - now that's what I call a support team!


Nancy had all her support team in the campervan, but next time she is very keen to leave it at home and book a hotel (don't blame her!).


Poor Steve & Kay didn't arrive at the hotel until 00:30, so not a good start. Kay made the wise decision that with the lack of sleep, over worked and a bad cold that it was time to pull out and - oh it was so tempting for sleep-deprived Steve to do the same. Good job Steve found the strength to compete as he ended up thoroughly enjoying the swim and achieved a fantastic 9th in his age group.



The swim


So Suited and ready to go...... the girls' warm up included a lesson in lip gloss application from Julie!!!..... a complete dance routine for which they won an award!!! "For best warm up"


So all warmed up and ready to go on the start line in bib number order were James, Ant, Steve B, Trev, Steve Mac, Jeff, Sam, Hazel, Pippa, Nancy, Rachel, Jules, Rose and our lovely lip-glossed Julie.


To best grasp the atmosphere and high/lows of this race, I can only do the report justice if I now hand over to the athletes' own words:


ANT - "I kinda went a bit off course on the swim, following a group of other swimmers to the right on the back leg of the swim. Maybe that was why my swim time was so slow?"


TREV - "I spent half of the swim drafting Ant - I can thoroughly recommend it as he swims in a very straight line and I would have stayed there if some idiot hadn't rammed into me from the side. Even after I lost him it all went very well and I loved the swim."


Nancy - "I was SOOO nervous beforehand but hanging out with the club members and some spontaneous wetsuit dancing helped to calm the nerves.  I had a dreadful swim - kept going in the wrong direction, more practice at Ardingly and Southwater required!"


STEVE B - "Swim - sat at a comfortable pace, middle of the pack... Tried not to drink too much water as it was a bit choppy out there."


Rose - "Totally loved the swim.... made the mistake of waiting at the back to start which meant I got kicked by lots of breaststrokers :(.... but once I swam through and found clear water it was a joy..... so came out the water with a big smile on my face.... fabulous support from Kay... suspect I lost time telling her how much I enjoyed the swim..... Fell over in transition think the body was still swimming!!!!!......"

Jeff - "I was disappointed by my swim after having done quite a bit recently, I was a good 5mins over my normal time for 1500m, but just didn't get into a comfortably rhythm.. Longish T1 so plenty of room for improvement."



The bike


Ant: "On the bike transition I got shouted at by a Marshall for mounting my bike before the bike start line, even though I asked her if it was OK - she was too busy speaking to the other Marshall and got very upset when she noticed I had got a 'leg over'. Muttered stuff like 2 minutes time penalty, which fortunately I didn't get.


The bike was a bit of a nightmare for me. On the big downhill my rather large 90cm front wheel caught some turbulence and oscillated all the way to the bottom. How I managed to stay on is beyond me. That kinda shook me up so all the other descents were taken a lot slower! Traffic was also a problem in some parts as the slower riders were holding up the cars which left no overtaking room.


I was looking out for Macca on the bike, and was quite surprised not to have seen him. Little did I know what a superb swim time he had done"


Trev - "Enjoyed the bike but found it pretty windy. I've no idea which was the Ripple bit, it all seemed ripply to me."


Nancy - "I felt like I was flying on the bike and over took loads of people uphill so my bike confidence is brimming - which is lucky since I've signed up for the Brighton 100 miler.  Unusually for me I wasn't the slowest person in transition - not fast but I did actually try for once."  


Steve B: "- with front 82 section wheel and lots of wind..... Not a great combination for the conditions ...  (but looks good) ...Had some very scary moments down the hills with the wind blowing me into the centre of the road, hanging on for dear life as bike front end wobbles... I still managed to clock 67 km/hr (41.6 m/hr) top speed, and could have gone faster!!!"

Rose: "Out on the bike.... Great to be greeted by Lucy along the route shouting support and encouragement, it's this that makes our club special and made me more determined...... So now I understand the meaning of the word ripple.... if it went down it went up and again and again and again.... Thought I was lost towards the end as lack of signage but finally made it into transition...."


Jeff: "Cycle ok but steady stream of people overtaking me - including Rachel who gave me words of encouragement - sorry if you didn't catch my laboured response Rachel! Then I saw Lucy running along the cycle route which confused me somewhat........"


Steve Mac: "the bike was a bit blowy so the deep section wheels made it interesting and although being bigger means you can control the bike easier when the head winds come up you really suffer, my main thought was not to get taken by Ant, so I was very relived to get to T2 ahead of him but I knew he was coming"



The run


Ant - "At the start of the run my quads felt completely shot, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to manage the full 10km but after a few minutes the pain lessened enough to establish sub 7 minute mile pace. By this time I had spotted Macca, a quick goose on that barn door before I pressed on, fast enough I hoped to stay in front of him (and to try and hide how tired I felt). The run section was ace, lots of high fives with Macc, Steve B and a quick Hi to Trev on the switchback section. I was starting to get tired on the second loop, the run pace was going over 7 minute mile pace now but I felt I had a big enough lead to keep in front of Macca. I even seemed to be catching up with Steve B, but then I hadn't realised he was running his iron man speed in preparation for his forthcoming event."


Trev: "The run I found hard but somehow did my best 10km time for a triathlon and my 3rd best ever for a solo 10km. All this despite my bad foot, which seems to have meant I protected it and in the process sprained my big toe. But I never felt this to afterwards so that was ok. I then demolished a wall at Roses and dropped a concrete block on the same toe! Even so I still really enjoyed it, a brilliant event. Totally recommend it."

Nancy: "With the run I managed to tuck in the 10k within my target of under 50 mins so I was happy with that.  Smiling faces to cheer me on at the finish was great and made up for the heavy rain showers and hail."


Steve B: "Paced out for a 9 min mile (as I want a 4hr marathon for my Ironman) making sure I did not get sucked into racing other bodies... It's harder than I thought, as my mind and body want to race.... Dambuster was a training race for me - used it to pace out for my Ironman...Had a great race felt very comfortable and could have gone round again, oh and again and some more..."


Rose - "..Again all the women in the club either passed me or lapped me but all with encouraging words.... Took time to get legs working but a fabulous playlist from the music guys really helped.... By the time I got to the dam it started to heavily rain then hail that stung!!!!.... So abandoning myself to the elements I had my Kate Bush moment along the top of the Dam!!!.... you have to laugh... and then Julie swept past me!!!!... but I kept going aware that Joules was just ahead of me ... but there was no catching her!!!!!..... last bit I knew you guys would all be there and you were.... i could have finished then... Superb moment.... I'd been worried that the marshals would have been packing up but thankfully they were great.... So I maintained my usual place in the last 10 in every Olympic I have done ... but this time it felt good and I truly enjoyed it :)"

Jeff - "T2 not bad and the legs took a bit of warming into the run - suffered for the first 15 mins or so. Again, sorry Steve, you saw me and shouted me, but I think I had my eyes closed at the time. I caught up and overtook some of those who went passed me on the bike, but by the end of the run I was pretty knackered. Glad to beat the 3 hour mark, but sure I can knock 10-15mins off the total time next time."


Steve Mac - "I was not looking forward to this as I had not run that far since October so I was getting ready to suffer, Ant caught me in the first mile as I was doing just over 8 min miles then it was high fives all the way round, I think I could have gone faster but didn't want to risk further injury. Good run though really enjoyed the whole race."



Final quotes from the Dambuster gang:
"I must say WE are a great club, the support and encouragement shown to all members is fantastic..."


"Awesome outing from everyone in the club :)...... This was a real personal achievement for me and still on a high...."





Our deepest sincere apologies to a particular pub in the Derby area for Jeff meeting up with his brother & family, while still wearing his tri-suit under his clothes and stunk the place out. His excuse was no shower facilities at Rutland. Lol. Didn't stop him partying all night in Crewe either!





Pos Cat Pos     Name      Total Time    Swim     T1       Bike         T2          Run
99      21 JAMES DEAR           02:15:36  28:32  01:21  01:07:33  00:58    37:12  
262    32 ANTHONY GREY       02:28:29  30:12  02:16  01:13:04  00:58    41:59  
311    04 RACHEL BAKER        02:31:24  26:24  02:04  01:17:23  01:15    44:18  
321    46 STEVE MCMENAMIN  02:31:53  22:55  02:08  01:19:20  01:19    46:11
391    71 STEPHEN BIRCHALL  02:36:42  26:59  02:46  01:19:18  00:56    46:43
482    18 SAM ANDERSON       02:43:28  25:10  02:29  01:28:47  01:28    45:34
572    89 TREVOR MOORE      02:50:29  30:49  01:54  01:27:41  01:12    48:53
586    10 HAZEL TUPPEN        02:52:05  29:54  03:47  01:31:01  01:31    45:52
621    51 JEFF WOODALL       02:56:05  32:17  03:47  01:27:48  01:41    50:32
660    28 NANCY DOYLE         03:01:54  34:21  03:29  01:32:28  02:09    49:27
701    22 JULIE WILLIAMS      03:13:54  31:48  03:10  01:40:00  02:25    56:31
712    34 PIPPA CROUCH       03:20:10  28:45  03:54  01:41:05  02:39  01:03:47
728    23 JULIENNE                03:30:09  34:23  02:52  01:44:06  02:25  01:06:23
730    26 ROSE RYAN            03:34:30  34:16  03:52  01:48:25  02:13  01:05:44



Author: Sharon & quotes



Enduroma Man New Forest - Double Ironman


Double Enduroman (New Forest) - 11 & 12 June 2011

Two members of the club John Liebers and newbie Jim Graham have just completed the Enduroman double IronMan event in the New Forest which took place on the 11th & 12th June at the same time as the Deca Ironman event. Here are both their outstanding race reports:

Author 1: Jim Graham 

The Enduroman Ultra Triathlon Championships at Avon Tyrrell in the New Forest was held for the first time. It was an intimate friendly small event compared to Ironman UK. The organisation was very good. The medal, finisher's shirt, food, drink, energy gels and goody bag (including t/shirt, beanie and buff headwear) were all first rate.


The location was good with a pleasant lake for the swim and a challenging hilly cycle course. Cattle grids, pot-holes and New Forest horses added to the difficulty. The run was hilly on soft ground that turned into a bog during the heavy rain that fell throughout the final day.


It seems that Enduroman like their events to be a bit tough, so it was never going to be an event for PB's. This course evidently turned out harder than anticipated as only 4 out of 20 entrants completed the deca-iron and the average finishing time for the single-iron was 16 hours 49 mins.


John Liebers completed the double-iron brilliantly in 34 hours 54 mins. John achieved consistently excellent times in all disciplines to finish 8th (despite coming off his bike to avoid a horse in the road).


Jim Graham did manage to register the fastest bike lap, as if ignorant of the fact that another 19 laps were required in addition. Jim finished 18th with a time of 37 hours 52 mins. A bit tired and wet by the end, with the last mile taking over 30 mins of trudging through swampy conditions in the dark. Only 25 of the 42 double-iron entrants completed the course.


The Enduroman organisers and marshals were fantastic. Recommended but best take the morning off work next day.


Don't even think about doing this event unsupported. Jim and John had a superb support team of Helen, Dave and Ben who all deserve medals for a massive effort. Much appreciated.


 2ndAuthor: John Liebers

"30 seconds to the start...."  Steve Hayward, the race director calls out from the jetty.

That's close enough... I set my watch alarm on 15min repeats then change the display back to chrono ready for the start.

I'd got up at 0430 that morning feeling fairly relaxed but without any certainty about how the next couple of days would unfold. However as I slipped off the jetty into the water and waded out something like a big electrical relay switch went 'CLUNK' in my head. I breathed in deeply....  "I'm here, let's get this done".

"5...4...3...2...1..." the klaxon sounds and we're off - Double Enduroman 2011; swim 4.8miles, bike 232 miles, run 52 miles.

I find my groove and slowly count off the swim laps. Each lap is just less than 300m round a small picturesque woodland lake. We come through a funnel system next to the jetty each time for the marshals to record our laps.

"71" I call out my number each time past. "71 confirmed". And a second marshal ticks off the lap.

The "20 laps completed" call agrees with my own mental tally and that of my support crew... only 6 to go. I was feeling good and a renewed energy anticipating the "last lap" call as I approached the jetty 5 laps later.

"2 laps to go..."   What?... you're bloody kidding, I thought. I'm on my last lap you tosser.

I politely challenge the marshal. My race crew, who were race  using a tally counter, question the marshal as well but to no avail.

Oh well... I got to swim 5 miles.

Okay, bike leg - not 232 miles but 20 laps. I refused to let myself think in distances... '232 miles followed by a double marathon'. I tried to banish these measurements of distance from my mind. Stay in the present and just count laps... 1 to 20, that's not so bad. For the same reason I'd taken my garmin off my bike... I didn't want a constant reminder about how far I'd gone and still had to go. Heartrate?... well I'd just try to keep the effort steady and comfortable.  Besides I didn't want to be carrying any extra gear over that distance and the battery wasn't designed to last long enough anyway.

Late in the day, standing out of the saddle working my way up a short but sharp incline a car of young girls slowed to pass me, cheering and leaning out of the window. "Corrr... you've got a fit bum!" one of them called out.            

Well that was a better lift than any sports gel. I had a shit-eating grin for the next couple of miles and amused myself imagining retelling the episode to my wife..."Yeah, they probably said you had a fat bum!"

The New Forest ponies though often standing adjacent to and sometimes in the road seemed pretty docile and for the most part ignored both cars and cyclists. Although initially wary when passing them I began to get complacent as the day went on.

Sweeping round a downhill bend I was suddenly faced with several horses trotting along either side of the road. I tried to scrub off some speed but not before a couple of horses veered across in front of me. Instinctively I jammed harder on the brakes... my back wheel skidding out beneath me. Shit... I was going to hit that horse in front of me. I released the pressure on my brakes to regain control of my bike and somehow managed to miss the horse but only by riding onto the embankment at the side of the road. As I came off my bike I thought my race was over.

I took the impact on my left shoulder and upper arm but thankfully onto soft ground. I'm okay...saddle's twisted about 70' but my bike seems okay...wheels good. Easton wheelsets are renowned for being bloody bombproof. In my haste I get on my bike and carry on. Thank goodness for that - I must concentrate.

The road sweeps downwards along a fast section of the course and I make the most of it leaning into the bends. Johnny - you arse! You've just crashed your bike and you haven't even checked it over properly. I slow down and pull over and give it a proper once over. Wheels true, quick releases secure, callipers aligned, chainset and derailleurs good, bars and headset secure. Okay... now get back on your bike and take it steady.

I felt good during the night although the temperature dropped quite a bit... down to 4'C according to the race organisers and occasional drizzle. Stopping for the odd hot drink or bite to eat the laps count down and soon the sun was coming up. Ironically that was the first time I really wanted to sleep and I was struggling to keep my eyes open. I found myself cycling with my eyes shut...just a few moments would be okay?

"C'mmon  Johnny!" I shouted out loud to myself "Stay with it."

The urge to sleep passed and soon I was back in transition preparing for the run. My uber-efficient support crew were like a Formula 1 pit stop team. You could almost hear the high pitched "ZZZZiip...ZZZiip" of electrical power tools as they undressed and re-dressed me, changed shoes, handed me food and massaged my sore back - all at the same time. Pat on the shoulder; thumbs up; ready to go.

The run course was a short loop on a woodland trail passing round the lake we'd swam in yesterday. Soft underfoot but undulating and plenty of trip hazards.  Soft underfoot eventually became ankle deep mud in many places as the weather turned for the worse. Relentless  sheeting rain and gusting wind; a couple of marquees and the race control tent were blown over.

I'd changed kit twice during the run and had no more dry clothes left. I was running in my club bike jacket which I can testify is definitely not waterproof.

I'm soaked through and my core temperature is dropping. Just stopping long enough for a hot drink I get colder...I have to keep moving. Just over a marathon to go... (don't think of those distances Johnny) ...but I'm shivering badly; teeth chattering. I need to sort myself out...  I go into a toilet block adjacent to the run course to get some temporary respite from the weather and think. I remove some wet clothing and repeatedly use the hand driers to blow some warm air over me... that feels good.

As if fate Jim Graham, the other mid Sussex tri club competitor, is in there too ...in the closed cubicle diligently reducing his racing weight. I haven't seen much of him since the bike leg but he's doing good. Jim gives me a spare space blanket... Yea Gods! And to think I had been taking the piss out of him on Friday for bringing so much kit! But the space blanket alone wouldn't do the trick. Back on the course I shout out to Ben (race crew) to bring a dustbin liner, small plastic bag and duct tape. I was annoyed with myself for not thinking to do this earlier. Sheltering among some trees we duct tape the space blanket round my torso next to my skin and use the bin liner over the top of my bike jacket. A small plastic bag taped over my head completes the ensemble. Great - I was more waterproof and had the means to trap some heat. After another couple of laps I was warm again.

The finish was sweet; not just the end of two days racing but the culmination of eight months training. I crossed the finish holding hands with my children.  But I will remember the race for these other things as well:

My support crew:

Ben my eldest son, Dave brother-in-law and Helen, Jim Graham's wife.  What a solid crew-able to anticipate our needs and keep us going. They got little sleep and spent the whole of Sun- cold and wet but never complained. Like Jim said don't even think about doing a race like this with-out a support crew. Outstanding!

Running miles 50 & 51 with my wife alongside me and Friends turning up unexpectedly having driven 2hr and standing in the rain for another 5 to help me finish.

The characters:

Both other competitors and Enduroman organisers. Take Rev Graham - Enduroman staffer and Buddhist priest. Gold tooth, bone earring in a stretched earlobe - kilt, army boots and wearing his buff pirate-style. He helped keep me running with hot beef stock drinks - it was if he was offering me the Holy Grail full of the elixir of youth.

Craig Spring, Royal Navy, eventual winner of Double Enduroman. Such composure; his face a study of complete determination and focus. Walking up an incline together we reached the point to start running again when he barked out "Right legs...move!" and off he went already 20miles ahead of me.  Amazing.

Fabian Pwi, Singapore Army. He was wobbling all over the road on his bike some 20hr into his race seemingly exhausted but still completed his triple another 44hr later.

Monique, the only female attempting the deca (10x daily iron dist format). One of only 4 remaining competitors on day9 (20 started on day1) she had to be pulled out of the water due to cold injury. It seemed her race was over but after 30min in the medical tent she was back at the jetty getting back into her wetsuit and into the water.  "Whatta you lot staring at!" she harangued the crowd of awestruck onlookers.... Hard as nails!

Jim Graham for having the grit to finish the run well into the second night in foul weather...cold,wet,muddy and hungry...but getting the job done.

Everyone was hurting, but everyone still had a ready smile and a few words of encouragement for each other. Most didn't know the meaning of 'giving up'. I like being in the proximity of these kind of people

  Why do it?  ....

It seems I have a button somewhere inside that requires an occasional 'press-to-test'..    ...Besides you get a great t-shirt.



42 started the Double, 25 finished (including both MSTC competitors)... I came 8th in 34h54 (cutoff 39h) having had no sleep on a course where the average time for Sunday's single Enduroman was 16h49.

Jonathan Liebers
Swim 02:44:34 (13) Cycle 17:43:44 (11) Run 14:25:54 (7)     Finish Time 34:54:14 Overall :  8

James Graham
Swim 03:16:29 (23)  Cycle 18:03:07 (12)   Run 16:33:14 (17)   Finish Time  37:52:52  Overall : 18 

Ardingly Sprint Triathlon - 5 June 2011


Ardingly Triathlon Race Report - 5 June 2011

The reincarnated Ardingly Triathlon, revived by Paul Hedger's Hedgehog Tri after a one-year break, was not on the BAR list this year, but with 12 MSTC athletes competing surely deserves a race report.

Five MSTC athletes - James Dear, Ant Grey, Andy Heath, David Ricketts and Callum Murray - were enticed to compete by the offer of a free place in the race in exchange for counting lengths in the pool, an experience that generated a new respect for those that do the tricky job of counting the lengths of four swimmers simultaneously, while remembering to stick the '2 lengths to go' paddle in the water at the right time for each swimmer.

Two others, Angela Murray and Rachel Baker, counted lengths but didn't compete, contributing to the good relations we are building up with Paul, who will play an important role at the Go Tri! Juniors event we are running on July 30 and 31.  Many thanks to them.

For those doing both, as James Dear said, it was a case of getting your counting head on first, followed by your race head, and not mixing up the two.  James, needless to say, had no such problems, coming second in the race overall in 1.08.50, with a magnificent bike split of 40.36, considering that the long drag up to Turners Hill - hard going at the best of times - was into the teeth of a strong headwind.

Performance of the day probably has to go to Ant Grey, though, who was 13th in 1.16.31, with strong showings in all three disciplines.  With a five lap run course up and down the hill on the college playing fields, I got plenty of chances to see him gradually closing the gap between us as he came round each time.

Also proving himself to be a strong all-rounder was Martin Sanwell in 32nd position, while Andy Heath's strong swim split of 08.19 drove him into 46th position.

Other notable performances came from: Trevor Moore, who was competing the day after completing the Arun River Swim; Stuart Anderson, with a welcome reappearance in club colours after concentrating more on cycling recently; Paul Wills, who's definitely getting the hang of this triathlon game; David Ricketts who continued his long-awaited triathlon comeback; Tim Cresswell who was reduced to a walk at one stage on the tough run course but still gamely finished in a decent time; Jean Fish, who threw her leaky goggles away in disgust as she emerged from the pool (don't worry Jean, I rescued them, and will return them when I next see you), but vented her fury on the bike course with a storming split; and Rose Ryan, whose delight at getting another triathlon under her belt warmed the heart.

As at East Grinstead, it felt like MSTC 'owned' the finish line, as our athletes gathered to cheer home each of our finishers.  Great shouting guys!

Oh, and perhaps I could just mention that I scored an Ardingly Triathlon PB and have been on a high ever since.

MSTC athletes' results below.  There were 149 finishers in the race in total.  For the full results, follow this link: http://www.hedgehogtri.co.uk/ardinglytri/docs/results/Ardingly_20110605_Tri_Summary_v0.pdf

Ardingly Triathlon 5 June 2011.  MSTC athletes' results
Position Name Time
2 James Dear 1.08.50
13 Ant Grey 1.16.31
32 Martin Sanwell 1.22.41
46 Andy Heath 1.25.00
51 Callum Murray 1.25.34
55 Trevor Moore 1.26.42
61 Stuart Anderson 1.27.38
65 Paul Wills 1.28.03
83 David Ricketts 1.32.44
111 Tim Cresswell 1.40.24
120 Jean Fish 1.42.58
128 Rose Ryan 1.46.54

Author: Callum Murray

Bar Race 4 100m TT 29th May 2011


With a lot of other races going on we were not expecting a large contingent from MSTC for a 100m Time Trial. Loz Wintergold and Dave Lashbrook entered but unfortunately Loz was struck down with a tummy bug that resulted in significantly more running than cycling. This left the door open for Dave for a stress free uncontested ride to 10 BAR points.

However Dave still had the small matter of attempting a PB over this distance but it was not going to be easy. This course can be quick, but today it was windy which made it very tricky.

In 2008, Dave did 4hr35m26s, and I know he was round about 4h 35s this time but I have not heard his final time yet. Clearly it is going to be close. Fingers crossed! (Just for the record Dave then beat his 10m TT PB on Thursday evening in 23m51s. Well done!)

Mind you the winner did 3h38m46s - a truly astonishing time - and about 5 minutes inside the course record.

Winner: 3h38m46s

Dave Lashbrook:    4h 35m approx      10 points

 Author: Steve Alden

Race 5 Arun Ironman Swim 4th June 2011

We had 13 entries from the club, but Dave Lashbrook and Sam Anderson did not race, leaving 11 hardy swimmers on the start line. This is an interesting swim as it in salt water even though it starts 2.5 miles inland. It is timed to start with the high tide so by the time you reach the finish you are swimming with the current. Theoretically this could be the case all the way along but it certainly doesn't feel it.

There were about 250 swimmers on the start line, and when that klaxon goes the water just turns to froth as everyone scrabbles for room. There is bumping, kicking, elbowing, and occasional swimming in the melee that is the first 800m. Then suddenly it all settles down and as far as I can say, is just plain boring for the next 2k as you just concentrate on keeping the effort up. Nature did its bit to keep it more interesting as a headwind in some parts of the river made it very choppy, resulting in many unexpected mouthfuls of sea water. At least that reduced the risk of cramp with a steady salt intake. It was a relief to see the A259 road bridge as Steve Mac had told us that meant 1200m to go and time to ramp up to the finish. When we passed the Ropewalk Bridge he had warned us there was just 400m to go, and we were now in the strongest current. We all felt like Olympic athletes as one good pull seemed to propel you 5 metres downstream.

Steve Mac was easily the strongest swimmer of us without Dave racing and he did not disappoint with a very strong swim finishing in 57m25s and 33rd overall. Steve Alden was 2nd home over 5 minutes behind (62.54), with Andy Jenkins just over a minute behind (64.18).

John Liebers treated it as a gentle limber up before his double Ironman attempt next Saturday and cruised home in 68.35 - some 6 minutes faster than last year. (Good luck next week, John).

Pete Harris showed that his swimming has improved massively as he surprised himself with a 69.37, just seconds ahead of Jeff Woodall (69.44) and Trevor Moore (70.21). Trevor was also delighted to get 4 BAR points! He also beat last year's time by 7 minutes. Excellent! Pete and Jeff have not done this sort of distance before so this was an amazing achievement.

Katie Walch led home the ladies with 64.52, but had only got back from Hungary the day before and had lost a couple of weeks of training.

Claire Cresswell showed that her Lanzarote training camp had really paid off with a strong 70.43 swim, which hopefully will improve her confidence as she heads towards her Ironman attempt.

Jules was rightly delighted with her swim, nearly 13 minutes faster than last year, in probably harder conditions to finish in 73.29, one place and just 13 seconds ahead of Sharon Chladek in 73.43. This was Sharon's first attempt at this sort of distance and open water, so was a superb effort.

One final mention goes to all the family support crews who came along. Some followed the race all the way down the river bank! It was a beautiful day and I think they all enjoyed it.

The Results:

Men Winner 47.27

  • Steve MacMenamin       57.25    20.91     10 points
  • Steve Alden              1.02.54    32.47      9
  • Andy Jenkins            1.04.18    35.42      8
  • John Liebers             1.07.35    42.32      7
  • Pete Harris               1.09.37    46.60      6
  • Jeff Woodall             1.09.44    46.85      5
  • Trevor Moore            1.10.21    48.05      4

 Women Winner 48.49

  • Katie Walch                  1.04.52    32.87   10 points
  • Claire Cresswell             1.10.43   44.86     9
  • Jules Stuart-Colwill    1.13.29   50.53     8
  • Sharon Chladek            1.13.42   50.98     7

Author: Steve Alden