The East Essex Aquathlon at Basildon has 2 separate races, the earlier race for the Tristars and a subsequent race for the adults which includes the Youth age category. The club were represented by 9 members in the Tristar events and another 5 in the Youth category.
After setting up transition along the side of the grandstand the Tristars listened to the race briefing before heading to the pool to get ready for the snake swim with the Tristar 3s going first.
The club had some very strong representation in the girl’s race which had a huge field of 33 competitors with Emily Rayden, Jess Thorn, Christy Durbin and Hannah Newman. Sadly injury deprived Sophie Mabbs from also taking part.
Emily had a fantastic 2nd place swim, only 7 seconds behind the leader at that stage, and after a fast transition set off on the run. At some stage during the race Emily was in fact in the lead, but got overtaken by 2 quicker runners than her to finish in a superb 3rd place overall.
Jess and Christy had their normal battles with slightly surprisingly Christy coming out on top after a 10th place swim to 13th place for Jess. With 4 seconds between them it was always going to be interesting to see who would be first out of transition onto the run and it was Jess who had a 6 second lead. Both girls are good runners but Jess further extended her gap with a great 4th place run and overtook a number of competitors to come 4th overall. Christy also made headway up the leaderboard with a 6th place run and finish.
Hannah commented on her race:
“I enjoyed this event as it was a lot warmer than last year. The pool is one of the better ones so I really enjoyed my swim and put in a good time coming 15th. The transition was good – especially as I had no bikes to contend with! However, I hurt my knee early on in the run and struggled a bit. It was quite an uneven course and it was very sore by the end….”
This was reflected with Hannah’s 26th place run and finishing 22nd overall. Because of the injury, her Dad had to desert his post as the chief website photographer, to look after her and as a result I am afraid there are no photos of the Tristar 2 boys or Tristar 1 girls competing on the gallery.
In the Tristar 2 girls race Sara Laitner was our sole representative in a field of 28 competitors. Having come off winning at Epping, Sara was full of confidence coming into this race and this was reflected in her superb performance. Sara was in 2nd place after her swim only 4 seconds down on the leader who she promptly overtook in transition to head out onto the run leading the race. With the fastest run she extended her lead to brilliantly win the event with 20 seconds to spare over her nearest rival.
With Sam Newman having withdrawn from the event beforehand due to an athletics camp, it was left to Tm Rayden and Luke Muller to fly the flag for Tri-Force Juniors in a very strong and large field. Neither of the boys have much experience of competing at this level with Tom having done a couple of events last year and Luke having only recently joined the club and had the added disadvantage of being in the younger age band.
Tom came out of the swim in 21st place and after a good transition had already moved up to 17th place at the commencement of the run. A 14th place on the run moved him further up the field to finish 13th overall.
Luke had a good swim and came out into transition in 25th place. Because he is not used to doing transition work, and the club have not had a dedicated transition training session yet this season he did lose some time over Tom and other competitors in that area before setting out on the run. A 29th place on the run meant he ended up 30th overall, frustratingly beaten by 1 second by the competitor in front of him who was slower in the combined swim and run phases. With more practice Luke, your times will tumble in transition and it is great to see you looking so happy while competing.
Our final competitors for the morning race were Louisa Muller and Mackenzie Holt in the Tristar 1 girls race which yet again had a large field of 30 competitors. A bit like the boys in the Tristar 2 category, Mackenzie is only in her second season of triathlons having moved up from the Start category from last year and for Louisa this was her first ever East Region aquathlon having missed the Epping event due to illness. The two girls had a real battle between themselves with Louisa after a superb 9th place swim having a commanding lead over Mackenzie (21st place) of 26 seconds. Mackenzie immediately started to reel Louisa in on the run and finished 20th overall just 3 seconds behind Louisa in 19th. A great race between the 2 of them and it will be interesting to see what happens when the bike is added into the mix.
As the Youths arrived and were setting up transition the results were being announced and an almighty mess up ensued and much to everyone’s surprise Mackenzie was announced in 2nd place and collected her trophy and Louisa was announced as the winner but had gone by then. As you can see Mackenzie was really pleased receiving her trophy
but then sadly had to give it back once the organizers realised they had read out the wrong sheet of results.
As the Youths race is incorporated into the adult race the jump in distances is quite marked, especially in the run where the distance doubles from Tristar 3 to 5km. Added to the severity of the run is a hill which from a distance does not look very high but when you get there is very deceptive. The runners have to go up and down 3 sides of it and each time it gets steeper and steeper with the third climb extremely difficult (the photo does not do it justice as to the severity).
In the Boys race was Matthew Honeyman who had taken on the challenge the previous year and so knew what to expect. After the 400m swim Matthew was in 6th place and then a really strong 4th place run pushed him up to 4th place overall beating his previous years time by nearly 3 minutes.
In the Girls race Tri-Force had one of the largest contingent of competitors with Hannah Rayden, Hannah Trotman, Naomi Holt and Alannah Mabbs taking the challenge for the very first time.
The two Hannahs and Naomi had a really good battle between themselves with Naomi in the lead after a 7th place swim followed by Hannah Rayden in 13th and Hannah Trotman in 16th. Naomi would be the first to admit that running is her weakest triathlon discipline, and found the hill and the extended distance quite hard and was overtaken by both Hannahs. Hannah Rayden had the 7th fastest run and led the trio home in 9th place, followed by Hannah Trotman with the 8th quickest run in 10th and then Naomi with the 13th quickest run in 11th.
Alannah wrote the following about her experience:
“I was not looking forward to the race as had heard so much about the hill we had to run up and was worried about the ankle I had damaged the day before going over the handlebars at Tri-Force training. On my arrival and having registered I then looked at the course map and found to my horror that I had to go up the hill 3 times in different directions. I was not amused and went to give Naomi my thoughts as she was the one that had cajoled me into doing it telling me it “would be fun”. My vice-captain has a strange sense of humour!!!!!!
The snake swim started earlier than I expected, I think due to a number of no shows, and they were calling my number out as I was still getting changed. As a result Naomi who was meant to have started 2 places behind me in the swim went into the pool before me. Out of the pool in 9th place my transition was the 2nd quickest which meant on the clock I had actually overtaken 2 competitors including Naomi by 1 second. I started on the run with my Dad telling me to try and catch up to Naomi who I could just see in the distance. Does he think I have a turbo charger hidden in my tri-suit!!!!!
The run started on very flat ground and I felt very comfortable. I then arrived at what I thought was the first climb (transpired it wasn’t) and my achilles tendon started to become very sore and tight. I then arrived at the first major climb and saw my Dad and brother at the top so felt I had to run up it but was in a lot of pain. My Dad told me stop but I ignored him (didn’t realise he had said the next 2 climbs were even worse) and hobbled up them but was determined to finish the course. Back on the flat and on to the running track my leg felt ok but just as I crossed the finish line in 15th place it gave way and I ended up sprawled in a heap on the floor and was unable to put any weight on it as the area around the achilles had swollen quite badly. The marshals got the medics who ended up putting me in their ambulance
to try and keep me warm and trying to stabilise the injury with ice and a compression bandage. Suppose it was one way of not having to walk to the cark park as they gave me a lift!!!!!”
A huge congratulations to all the youth competitors for completing such a challenging course.