We had a fantastic turnout for the Tri-Epping Aquathon, held (curiously) in Upminster! The weather was perfect – sunny, not too warm and not windy! It was really encouraging to see so many Tri-Force competitors present – we had over 20, probably the largest team at the event. The logistics of trying to get a team photo prior to the start proved impossible, so in the end only those members that stayed for prize giving were captured.
It would be great if we could keep that up! Even more welcoming was the way the team cheered each other on throughout the races – there was a great team spirit which clearly rubbed off as we had some brilliant performances on the day.
However, for many spectators (regardless of their club allegiances) the stand-out performance of the day was that of eight-year-old paralympic TriStart competitor Millie Partridge who completed the rough, grass run section in her wheelchair – a tremendous feat which earned her huge applause as she crossed the finish line. Superb!
First up from Tri-Force was Tom Pruett in the Tri1 Boys. Tom had a had an early night to charge up his energy levels and this clearly paid off as he was first out of the pool in his swim heat. As Tom said about his run: “It was a good race because we ran on grass which I prefer, it was well set out, it was fairly flat and there were lots of people to give us water in the drinks stations. There were a lot of TriForce spectators spread out along the course who cheered us on and gave us a lot of support. It was two laps and on the second lap two people overtook me so I was third. I started to speed up as I was getting near the finish line and I even managed a sprint finish! Tom did really well – 3rd in the Swim overall, 8th on the run and 6th overall!
We had two competitors in the Tri1 Girls: Lucy Crooks and Mackenzie Holt. Sadly our third competitor Louisa Muller was too ill to take part. Both put in similar swim times coming 10th and 9th respectively, however Lucy managed a more consistent performance in the run (coming 11th on the run and 6th overall) , whilst Mackenzie battled round to finish 14th on the run (and 11th overall).
We had a single competitor in the Tri2 girls: Sara Laitner. Sara made a great start on the swim, coming 4th and then surpassed this with a tremendous performance on the run coming 1st on that leg and 1st overall by more than 15 seconds – WELL DONE SARA!
The club had 4 Tri2 boys varying greatly in experience from Luke Muller who had only done one aquathlon previously at our practice race, to 3 closely matched and experienced East Region competitors in Ben Crooks, William Hughes and Sam Newman who spent most of the time before the race catching up on old times. I wonder what William was talking about!!!!!
On the swim leg Ben put in the strongest performance finishing 7th with William and Sam some way back, but closely matched, in 12th and 13th.
All three boys are stronger runners so were hoping to move up the field – and so it proved, but not before “Calamity Sam” has made his presence felt [as was the case throughout the 2015 season] by
a) forgetting to adjust his race new belt and having to be escorted into transition before his start time to adjust it from “large adult” to “11 year old boy” setting! –
b) slipping on the way to transition and ending up thrashing around in the safety fencing like a freshly caught salmon!
Still, Sam recovered well and to finish 6th on the run and 8th overall. William finished 4th on the run and 6th overall.
Ben put in a classy and perfectly timed run, swooping round the final bend to overtake 2 competitors to secure our second podium finish of the day – 2nd place. Ben as the fastest runner ended up only 8 seconds off winning. WELL DONE BEN!
Luke was in 18th place after the swim, but due to his inexperience found the pace of the run tricky to judge, and finished the race in 21st place, but thoroughly enjoyed the experience and couldn’t wait for the next East Region event.
Next up the Tri3 girls where we had 6 competitors. Apart from the actual race Sophie and Christy were also in competition as to who could wear more tape on their legs!!!!!
Katie McAree put in a good swim and gutsed it out on the run to finish a creditable 16th. Hannah Newman and Sarah Crooks had a competitive battle throughout the race: Hannah put in the stronger swim but Sarah put in better run – however Hannah put in a big sprint finished to pip Sarah by 1 second, finishing 8th to Sarah’s 9th. Christy Durbin put in consistent swim to be in 9th place coming into transition and then made up places on her favoured run leg to come in 6th overall. Jess Thorn was in 6th place out of the swim and quickly set about trying to catch the 2 girls from Ipswich who were immediately in front of her and to everyone’s belief were occupying two of the three podium positions. A great final lap and Jess managed to separate them to have the 2nd quickest run and believed that she had made it on to the podium only to be disappointed to find out she had come 4th overall. However pride of place goes to Sophie Mabbs who was our second 1st place finisher of the day. WELL DONE SOPHIE! As she said of the race: “I was in the quickest swim wave with a fast Ipswich swimmer in the same lane who was much bigger than me. She also had very sharp finger nails as she cut me pushing off from the wall. Luckily I was quicker than her and soon got well clear of those dangerous weapons!!!!! Although I was out of the pool first by about 10 seconds from 2 Ipswich competitors the officials marked me down as second!!! I set off on the run with nobody in front of me to chase down and the 2 Ipswich girls behind me running together pushing each other on. Thankfully when it came to my final lap one of the Tristar 3 boys came out of transition and immediately passed me
and so I was able to sit in behind him as he was running at a good pace, and gradually pulled away from the chasing pack. Little did I know at the time how crucial this was, as the previous wave had a very fast runner who eventually finished in 2nd place overall only 14 seconds behind me.”
In the Tri3 boys we had James Mabbs and Aidan McLean competing. James’ report reads: “My lack of swim training really showed as although I wasn’t in the quickest wave I found myself last out of the pool and having to try and catch a number of Hoddesdon competitors in front of me. My dad kept encouraging me to lengthen my stride but he didn’t realise that my hamstring was very tight. On the final lap I at last started to make inroads into the deficit on the Hoddesdon boy but not quick enough, and he then had the audacity to put in a sprint finish and pull away from me again to beat me by 11 seconds. I hobbled away with my hamstring now really sore and watched in envy as the other Tri-Force Juniors ran around with a mini rugby ball
while waiting for the prize presentation”. It was a close run thing between James and Aidan though. James won the battle finishing 11th overall, but only 5 seconds ahead of Aidan in 12th.
In the Youth Girls we had 3 competitors: Noami Holt, Alannah Mabbs and Hannah Trotman.
Naomi was our most consistent performer coming 4th on both legs and 3rd overall. WELL DONE NAOMI! As she said about the race: “The course was simple, maybe a little boring after doing 5 run laps for Youth! Thanks to a practise race with an identical course two weeks before we saw some good performances from the Tri-Force competitors.”
Alannah also had thoughts on the race “Although I have been swim training a reasonable amount, my lack of running was a real concern coming into this event, especially as in the practice aquathlon the club hosted recently I had jogged and walked with a friend. I was in the slower swim wave which I was really happy about, and much to my surprise came out a long way ahead of the nearest competitor – in fact I had nearly finished my first run lap when the last swimmer came out of transition. This gave me a lot of confidence on the run although it did mean I had nobody to really chase. I kept a steady, comfortable pace the whole way through the 5 laps and was surprised that I had enough energy to spare to put in a sprint finish at the end. Even my dad complemented my running!!!! I was really happy coming 4th just behind Naomi in my first ever Youth race and celebrated by making a beeline for the food stall to see if Sophie had left any Haribo packets for me – thankfully she had for once!!!!!”
The best leg however was Hannah Trotman’s 3rd on the run section – however this came after an 8th on the swim leg so she came in 7th overall.
Finally (phew!) we had Adam Hughes in the Youth Boys. After the swim leg Adam was 6th in a strong field but put in a great run, moving through the field and coming 3rd on that leg but unfortunately the finish line came too soon to improve on his 6th place overall.
All-in-all a great day for the juniors: 2 first places, 4 podium finishes
and 14 top 10 finishes. WELL DONE EVERYONE!!!!