Sophie Mabbs decided that she wanted to try out her injury prone legs by competing in an aquathlon and so was looking forward to taking part in the Bedford Open Water Aquathlon. Sadly that got cancelled due to lack of numbers so in the end she travelled on a Friday afternoon around the M25 to compete in the final race in a series of 4 aquathlons run by Phoenix Tri in Guildford. To say the journey was painfully slow was an understatement, and if it hadn’t been for a couple of diversionary routes to avoid the traffic she would not have arrived before her race started at 7pm!!!!!!
The race itself was reminiscent of the Letchworth Aquathlon in that it was held in an open air lido, however much to her horror rather than the run being flat and on grass, it transpired the run was up and back on a pavement next to a busy main road which involved a gradual climb to the turn-around point – not what her legs needed!!!!! The main difference was that the adults race took place at the same time as the kids race in the other half of the pool as it is so big.
On arrival, she set up transition and then bumped into a girl from Croydon who she had met at a swimming gala earlier in the year and so continually chatted until it was her start time.
Just like Letchworth, the snake swim started with the slowest swimmers first which resulted in a some instances 5 swimmers trying to get out of the pool at the same time – it was like a rugby scrum.
The chip timing was something that I had never witnessed before, in that the chips were strapped to the wrist and then at certain points in the course the competitor had to tap a pad for the time to register.
Sophie put in a really strong performance on the swim leaving the one girl who started after her (i.e. was supposedly quicker) a long way behind and had a 22 second lead on exiting the pool and coming in to transition. The equal fastest transition meant she then set out on to the run 25 seconds ahead. Although her knees really started to hurt going up the hill, and Sophie has said that she ended up walking near the turn-around point, she came back down the hill running hard, despite the pain, to record the quickest run by 30 seconds and ended up winning the event by over a minute from 3 competitors who came equal second. Bet the organizers were glad they weren’t handing out trophies!!!! A few days later an email arrived with her winning voucher to spend at a triathlon shop.
The event is really well organized with the standard of competitor ranging from complete novices to seasoned triathletes, it is just a shame that travelling around the M25 on a Friday afternoon to Guildford is so horrendous – it only took 50 minutes to get home!!!!