Over the 26th and 27th September 9 Tri Force Juniors were competing in the annual Hever Castle triathlon. This event is one of the Castle series and for most of the Tri Force Juniors was probably the biggest event they will have competed in and the standard is high.
The event is set in the grounds of Hever Castle and features an open water swim, on and off-road bike leg and an off-road run in the spectacular grounds. This year the event catered for over 1,600 children as well as staging numerous adult events as well. The weather was relatively kind even if the water definitely required use of a wetsuit for the keen youngsters and the grass on the Sunday was a little slippery from earlier rain.
On the Saturday the club were represented in the 8-10 year old race by Maisy Manson, Molly Bateman, Daisy Oliver and Olivia Swinbank. Daisy’s younger brother Jake also competed in an enormous field of 642 competitors. The race comprised of a 100m swim, 4km cycle and 1300m run. This was probably the first time they had ever competed in an open water triathlon.
Maisy had a tremendous race and was the leading club member finishing 54th in the girls race. Next was Olivia in 122nd place followed by Molly in 166th with Jake just behind her (classified 341st in the boys race). Daisy finished in 199th place 4 minutes behind her brother. The general consensus from her Dad was that both kids really enjoyed it and were looking forward to watching the race on Channel 4, however the shock of the cold water has put Daisy off open water swimming for the next 6 months!!!!! Hopefully Daisy will partake in some open water training with the club in 2016.
On the Sunday the club had 5 members with Christy Durbin, Katie McAree and William Hughes in the 11-12 year old race and the boys captain Matthew Honeyman and vice captain Adam Hughes in the 13-15 year old race.
In the 11-12 year old race (200m swim, 4km cycle and a 2km run) the pick of the bunch was Christy Durbin who was 2nd girl home, only beaten by the 2015 East Region champion, and finished in 34mins 13seconds and a fabulous 17th overall from a field of 351 finishers. Her finish was down to her good all round performance but especially her bike, in 13:31, where she had the 14th fastest time in the field and run, in 11:24, where she was 35th fastest overall.
Paul Durbin reported:
“Christy was looking forward to Hever Castle as the last triathlon of the season, a race that was not in the league so no pressure and being out of the normal region was full of competitors she does not normally meet. Tristar 2 was hugely popular with 3 waves of 50 girls. She was a little disappointed not to have been in the same heat as her friend and rival from the East Region – Katie Tasker, nor Katie McAree from Tri-Force – the heats being divided purely in alphabetical order.
After a somewhat stressful set-up, due to not being able to register until less than 30 minutes before her start she just made it into the briefing next to the lake that was immediately before her start. Once the horn sounded she got off to a good start coming out around 10th from the lake but quickly sprinted ahead into transition. After a good bike section followed by another smooth transition to the run, she just knew she had to run her best and then wait and see as others come in on their heats. With being out of the region she was in no position to see how she had done as she did not recognise the others coming in before or after her. Only when the results were read out at the end of the day did she find out that she had actually come 2nd – beaten only by Katie Tasker. However as they have become friends over the season – competing in just about every event in the East region they were at least pleased for each other and this made a fitting end to the 2015 season… Let the battle resume in 2016″
Finishing in 36th place overall (26th boy home) was William Hughes in his first open water triathlon with a strong run in 10:35 which was 12th in the field. This all bodes well for next season as most of the competitors above him were a year older.
Katie McAree also competed and wasn’t far behind finishing in 47mins 27seconds in 73rd place. Her swim probably the pick of her disciplines with a time of 6:51 finishing in the top third of a strong field.
Sean McAree reported:
“Katie decided that one more race was in order before going up an age group and having to face running a longer distance. That race was to be Hever Castle and what turned out to be the largest Juniors Triathlon that has taken place to date in fact a world record.
The last minute formalities included jumping in the lake at 7:30am the day before the race for an hours swim as a bit of last minute practice. It was a little chilly but far more daunting for those racing open water for the first time such as William or wearing shortie wetsuits and never having swam in a lake either!
The day itself was really nice the journey to the venue uneventful till you get within4-5 miles when you are sharing the same roads as the various adult races and it gets a bit frantic. For those planning this in future years leave loads of time just in case you get held up, take a picnic blanket and food.
Once on site we tried to look out for one of the Tri-Force seniors racing in the half iron man event but you soon realise it’s pretty much impossible and given how tough that race is and any predicted finish time could be hours out compared to other events.
We met up with Christy, Paul and Fiona Durbin fairly easily they like us had an easy journey but were parked far further away. During the time there we met up with Mathew Honeyman and Adam and William Hughes and watched parts of their races where possible.
There is a good set of viewing points for the swim start and exit but after that you can see very little of the bike or run course as it’s in a forest. The swim is critical on this event as if you are not out quickly then you have little chance of making up ground.
Katie had a reasonable swim but following was complaining of a pain in her stomach at the start of the bike so I left her to decide how she wanted to play things. The bike included a few inclines where with one competitor stumbling it meant those behind were held up and in some cases had to walk up the inclines as they were caught up in a queue of stationary bikes.
She did not look too comfortable at the start of the run but said it was less of a problem than she had feared and did not lose any places.
The organization of the event was very good. The waves themselves were run exactly to time. The race briefings were very good and managed to put people at ease. Personally I am not a great lover of these huge events but the kids really do seem to enjoy them so they must be doing something right. I much prefer the smaller club run events for a more friendly atmosphere so as you can easily meet up with friends and club members.”
The 13-15 year old race was competed over a 300m swim, 8k bike and 4k run and although the field was smaller than other age groups it was no less competitive with athletes from across the country in action. Matt was off to a great start with a typically strong swim finishing his 300m in 5:16 which saw him 2nd in his wave and 11th in the field of 206 finishers, Adam, exactly a minute behind was 44th overall out of the water. After the bike the pair were relatively neck and neck with Adam gaining 35 seconds in T1 and the bike. With strong runs the pair both finished near the top of the field with Adam 20th overall and Matt not far off in 31st, although his recent illness and lack of race fitness meant he was absolutely exhausted at the end.
This is a great event to experience, a large very professionally organized Triathlon with open water swimming plus varied terrain bike and run through the grounds surrounding the Castle – thoroughly recommended for a good day out.
Well done all!!!