All the competitors and helpers at Sandringham School were greeted with the hottest day of the year to date and for those that didn’t have any sun protection they were burnt by the end of it whereas some spectators were at least sensible.
The day started early for the few volunteers we had to set up the course and after unloading all the kit as usual we found that the school had left some obstacles in the way which either had to be moved or meant a change to our normal course set up. Firstly we found the strip of grass that leads from the swimming pool onto the field was being re-seeded after all the building works which meant we had to find a longer route across the car park to get into transition. We then also found 6 football goals all padlocked together that needed to be moved, which was not an easy task, as they were blocking the entry and exits from transition.
With the course set up for both the triathlon and scootathlon registration was transition were opened to accept all the competitors. The competitors also completed some cards with facts about themselves and handed them to our race commentator Barry Thorn. It was great also seeing the Tri Starts and under 8s all excited about what lay ahead for their race.
In the absence of our race director, Ian Cairns our previous race director stepped in with the assistance of Richard Gray the assistant race director to run the event which started with a comprehensive race briefing.
With all the marshalls in place
and the drinks station ably manned by Joy Walters who unfortunately was unable to compete due to injury and her younger sister Sophia
everything was then ready for our first competitors to enter the water. The first race was the adults which had a slightly disappointing turn out of only 3 competitors, with the mitigating factor being that a number of parents had already competed in a race that morning. After the swim, Richard Chase was in the lead, followed by Matt Lanstone and the Head Coach, Sean McAree, bringing up the rear. Onto the bike and Richard set off at a fast pace, although he had not walked the course beforehand, and came tearing down towards the blind turn around point at the bottom of the hill – I cannot repeat his exact words as all of a sudden he spotted the 360 degree turn and slammed on his breaks while descending rapidly!!!!! Sean meanwhile was making huge inroads into the gap on the 2 guys in front and was soon into the lead which he never relinquished for the rest of the race. It was however spotted by the marshall at the turn around point that a little bit of cutting of the corner was taking place – a fact Sean vehemently denies. I wonder who set up the turn around point in the first place which I have to say looked tighter than normal!!!!! Sean did admit at the end how tiring and hot the event was (and this is someone who has done multiple triathlons over the years of far greater distance) and even unusually for him he had to take on water at the drinks station.
Richard Chase came in 2nd and Matt 3rd and both guys appeared to really enjoy the experience.
The Youth girls were next and Naomi Holt, Alannah Mabbs and Roslyn Chase all came in to transition with only 11 seconds separating the 3 of them with Alannah making up the deficit on Naomi with a rapid transition. Hannah Trotman was about 40 seconds behind at this stage but all was about to change.
Naomi is a really competent cyclist and was gradually pulling away from the rest of the field and Alannah in particular was suffering with the very tight turn around at the bottom of the hill which she thought was grossly unfair and gave a volley of abuse to the marshal (her Dad) who she assumed had set up the course (thanks Sean!!!!). After about 3 laps she pulled out blaming mechanical failure. At the same time Hannah had got past Roslyn who had not done a triathlon before and set about trying to minimise the distance between herself and Naomi.
Onto the run, which Naomi does not enjoy so much, and Hannah started to reel her in quite quickly and eventually finished winning quite comfortably from Naomi and Roslyn.
For the first time in a long while we actually had a full wave of Tristar 3 boys and a very competitive swim ensued which saw Louis Paganuzzi out in front by 9 seconds from Aidan McLean and only 13 seconds separating him from Tom Jarman and James Mabbs. All of a sudden transition was getting very busy.
Although Ben Cliffe and Christian Earley were behind the other boys this was probably not surprising as they have far less experience of doing these events, in fact Christian had never done a triathlon in his life before.
Aidan, Tom and James all set off in hot pursuit of Louis knowing that they had an advantage in that they were on racing bikes compared to Louis on a mountain bike. Soon Aidan was pulling away from the rest with Tom in 2nd place and James 3rd just ahead of Louis. Onto the run and Aidan had a good lead over Tom and was nearly a lap in front of James. James set off in pursuit and was cutting the deficit on the 2 in front quite quickly when he decided to “decorate the grass” and pulled out of the event. Aidan finished a minute and a half ahead of Tom and both were happy with their performances afterwards.
Louis came in 3rd after a good performance with Ben 4th and Christian 5th who enjoyed the whole experience despite the pain he was in on the run.
The Tristar 3 girl’s race in comparison was poorly supported with only 3 competitors, Jordan Walters, Katie McAree and Tara Cairns. For all 3 girls this was a quite step up in distance from the previous year. After the swim Jordan had a 13 second lead over Tara with Katie a little way behind but looking forward to her favoured bike ride. Jordan and Katie had no problems on the bike course, however poor Tara on a much larger bike than she was riding the previous year found the tight turn around point at the bottom of the hill and real issue and her first 2 attempts resulted in her not making it round the turn and ending up coming to a grinding halt in the bushes. Her third attempt was better in that she only hit the bush with her arm and after that had got the hang of how to complete the turn successfully. As a result Katie had pulled out a good lead over Tara for the battle for 2nd place. Jordan won the race in the end about 3 minutes ahead of Katie with Tara a couple of minutes further back. All 3 girls will have learnt a lot about pacing the much longer distance race for future events.
Where had all the Tristar 2 boys gone? Poor Tommy Groth was left as the sole competitor and although he had nobody to race against gave it his everything despite a long standing foot injury which was giving him a lot of pain
he got a lot of encouragement from his younger brother Sammy on the run route and finished in a time which beat all of the girls in the race.
5 Tristar 2 girls took part in the race with Francesca Paganuzzi the most experienced and in her second season in the age category, Zara Mohammedbhai, Amelia Weaire and Maisy Manson stepping up in distance from last year and Jenny Laird being very new to triathlon. The swim was very close with Francesca in the lead from Maisy and Zara and only 23 seconds covering the 3 of them.
Amelia was out next followed by Jenny who was not feeling very well so pulled out before getting on her bike. The first 3 had a very close race with Maisy and Zara having an advantage of a racing bike over Francesca’s mountain bike. Maisy was in front and Francesca and Zara were having a battle behind with Amelia who was by far the smallest of the 4 competitors keeping pace with the other girls. Onto the run and sadly we had our second dropout in the race with Maisy having problems with her back. That left Francesca and Zara to slug it out to the finish with Francesca prevailing by just 2 seconds thanks to a great sprint finish
and Amelia coming in 3rd.
The swimming now changed from waves to a snake for the Tristar 1 competitors. In the boys event there was a large field of 11 competitors with age and experience varying greatly – the final competitor Edward Earley entering on the spur of the moment as he decided he wanted to give it a go having originally come to watch his brother compete. Not surprisingly experience told and a very close race unfolded, not that they knew it at the time, between Tom Pruett and Jonathan Bint with only 1 second separating the pair at the end. Maybe a few less poses for the photographer on the run and Jonathan may have turned the tables on Tom. Behind them, there was some great racing with Ben Taggart coming 3rd, 9 seconds ahead of Robbie Laird who in turn was 13 seconds ahead of Josh Lanstone in 5th. The next 5 boys, Daniel Mohammedbhai, Toby Pettit, Sammy Groth, Ciro Sadikot and Logan Cottenden each had good races and hopefully gained a lot from the experience which they can take forward to subsequent races in the season. Although Edward was the final racer to cross the line, he got a lot of encouragement from his brother on the run and must be commended for having the bravery to complete the course with very little preparation beforehand.
The 6 Tristar 1 girls comprised of twins, Katy and Emilie Manson, in their second season in the age category, 2 experienced girls who were moving up an age category Megan Gray and Mackenzie Holt, and 2 girls embarking out on their triathlon career Abigail Holmes and Madeline Metcalfe. The race turned into a battle of the twins with their elder sister giving them huge encouragement from the side-lines. Katy prevailed to win by 15 seconds from Emily with Megan only another 12 seconds back in 3rd. There was then a bit of a gap before Madeline finished ahead of Abigail and Mackenzie. All the girls appeared to have thoroughly enjoyed the event and hopefully will be back for more later in the season.
We had 3 girls and 3 boys in the Tristar Start category which was great to see and they were all keenly looking forward to their first ever triathlon.
In the boys race Beau Knight stormed round the course in a very fast time and behind him Toby Weaire and Noah Law fought tooth and nail for 2nd place which they both achieved as they came home in an identical time.
In the girls race Rebecca Bint used her advantage of having done a couple of aquathlons before to win by 20 seconds from Emily Groth and Larissa Cowley just behind in 3rd.
The committee decided to hold another scootathlon for the competitors under the age of 8 and 6 of the 9 entrants turned up and competed on the day.
By the looks of things the spectators were a lot more nervous
than the competitors.
The scoot involved a lap of the car park and then an out and back along the footpath before entering transition onto the bike, a lap around the 400m run track on the bike (more about that shortly) was followed by a further 400m run around the track to the finish. Quite long distances given the age of the youngest competitors.
In the girl’s race were 7 year old Emily Gray and Sophia Walters and 5 year old Francesca Cowley. Emily shot off in the lead on the scoot and was well in the lead into transition and onto the bike. She started on the bike course around the running track only for the marshal, who had not been informed that the bike course had been changed at the last minute by the race director, – something that will be taken into account in future by buying some walkie talkies, to direct her back onto the original bike course. To her commendation, not only did she go down the hill and around the turn around point she got back up the hill with ease – much better than some of the older triathlon competitors. Having eventually been put back on the correct bike course she stormed around the rest of the bike and run course to win the girls event and would have been a very close call as to whether she would have beaten the boys as well. Hopefully we will find out later in the year when a re-run of the scootathlon could take place. Not surprisingly the difference of 2 years was a telling factor in the battle for 2nd place with Sophia heading Francesca.
In the boy’s race were 6 year old Gabriel Taggart, 5 year old Robey Knight and 4 year old Oli Pruett. Robey set off very quickly on the scoot and maintained his lead throughout the rest of the race with Gabriel only 30 seconds behind. Again, age being the telling factor, Oli started to lose ground on the other 2 on the bike and although he set off like a rocket on the run, as spotted by the commentator, he was unable to keep up the speed not surprisingly and needed a lot of encouragement from his brother to get round the course and received a rousing reception from all the spectators at the finish.
It was great to see all the older siblings encouraging the younger ones round the course and they all seemed to thoroughly enjoy the event and can’t wait until we hold the next one.
Ian Cairns conducted a small post-race brief applauding all the efforts of the kids and it was pleasing to report no major infringements were incurred.
For those kids that had just finished it was time to descend on the cake stall ably supplied and manned by the chairperson, Hannah.
The Committee would like to thank all the volunteers who helped set up the course and marshal the event as without your help it would be impossible to run such events. Also a very big thank you to Barry Thorn who provided his sound system and commentated on the race despite his own daughter jess not competing. It was also great to see the ex girls vice-captain Elizabeth Markwell and her parents in attendance and vociferously supporting the kids and keeping the marshals fluid levels up.
Click here for the full set of results.