Report by Sean McAree (Head Coach)
It was another damp and drizzly Sunday morning in the middle of June when Katie set off for the Merchant Taylor race. The race was organised by Jetstream and using a new location rather than the Hatch End pool for the first time.
As part of the race preparation they arranged a open water swim a couple of weeks before which Katie and I attended. Katie is fortunately a very confident open water swimmer having being used to swimming in lakes and the sea for a couple of years. This was useful as we were able to visualise where the bike and run course would be as well.
On the day we turned up in good time and did a full course check and were able to see the youth wave so knew where the bike and run courses where. This proved invaluable as in the earlier waves there was mass confusion in the routes runners in particular were to take.
The choice on the day was whether to brave the water without the wetsuit or not and save time in transition. Only about 2 mins before the race started Katie decided to use the wetsuit so put it on and was about the only one in her wave not to scream on entering the water.
There were three waves 2 of girls and one boys. Katie went off in the last of the waves at 9:55am and got off to a good start she was baulked on the turns and needs to get more ruthless there and came out of the water 6th and a quick sprint to transition (150m). No issues with getting the wetsuit off here and a respectable time of 1min 40 seconds in transition.
The bike was nice and flat around the outside of the playing fields and on to a roadway at one point. Katie immediately made up one place on the flying start and then was off after the next competitor in front of her. We did see a couple of youth come off early on as the surface was very slippy with the constant drizzle and I was glad she had cyclocross tyres on. There was 2 laps and it was flat out all the way. A stray cyclist did put her off at one point but we were there to shout encouragement at the right time so she powered on with no other incidents on the bike.
The run was a simple out and back but was causing so much confusion runners did not have a clue where they were going with some youths going on the completely wrong course and running onto the T2 course before being corrected.
Now this is the thing there were ample amounts of marshals you could try and blame the organisers but in reality it’s not their fault there were clear race instructions sent out but many of the competitors were relying on the marshals (who were giving their time to help but are not triathletes) therefore would not know the course only the instructions they were to give in their location. Note to all arrive early walk the course and be sure of the route yourself do not rely on anyone else.
Katie’s weakest part of the event is her run but she always has a smile on her face and keeps going she only lost one place on the run in her wave and that was in the last 50m. Her running is improving each race and we plan on doing more of this.
Katie finished 22 in the T2 girls in a strong field as this was a London league race so the standard was stronger than many other races. For some reason I cannot log on to get the results this morning I do believe some of the times are wrong as so many went wrong on the run so she in doing the full course would have been higher overall.
As for my race scuppered before it even started with a back problem. Having looked at the final results I firmly believe I would have either been second or strongly believe I would have won. The times for the winner for 10km bike and 2.5km run I have been smashing by up to 4 minutes on each discipline and with only a 400m swim open water I would have been very competitive and the course suited my bike and run ability.
I cannot wait till next year as its local the course is really nice, the facilities are excellent there for a race and it’s good to view the race.