Triathletes in action across the North

Tom Clements, Thom Gilbert and Florence Shekleton give the lowdown on the terrific Team Newcastle Triathlon's efforts at three different events

Tom Clements
1st May 2018
Thom Gilbert passing a rival on his way to ninth place in the time trial. Image: Team Newcastle Triathlon

By; Tom Clements, Thom Gilbert and Florence Shekleton

A triple whammy for Team Newcastle Triathlon saw club members take part in a cycling time trial, a duathlon and a full-on triathlon all in a single day. While four members travelled to St Andrews for a triathlon with a view, one cycled round rural Northumberland and a few more slogged it out in the Stockton Duathlon.


St Andrews Triathlon

After an early start to the day, Bonnie Murphy set off in the St Andrews pool at 9am as Newcastle’s first racer, in with some of the fastest in the competition even though it was her first triathlon. A quick transition and she was off on the bike, looking excited and bouncy (as per).

Her teammate Xanthe Polaine was soon underway in the pool while Murphy started on a two-lap course round the beach.

Shortly after, Polaine arrived from her cycle, and after a brief helmet-hair tangle ending in a wrestle (with marshall assistance) she got away onto the run.

Murphy came over the line, beaming, after an amazing debut performance of 1:25:30, putting her top of the juniors. Polaine then posted a speedy 1:22:33 after a lightning run.

[pullquote]Murphy came over the line, beaming, after an amazing debut performance of 1:25:30[/pullquote]

Next: the boys.

Ed Hayden was first in the pool at 11:40, and after having to do two more lengths than expected, was determined to set it straight on the bike.

Hugo Marsh was next in at 12 with a solid swim. Despite catching his knee on the poolside on exit he stormed through transition and onto the bike.

Hayden came back from the bike, looking ready for the run, and getting off cleanly, after reporting on the savage wind on the bike course that had picked up through the day.

Marsh’s transition ended in a loud wahoo while Hayden’s finish was just a lot of heavy breathing. Hayden came in in 1:21:39, and Marsh followed later in 1:19:51.


Stockton Duathlon

There was also an early start in Stockton for the three Newcastle athletes taking part in the sprint distance duathlon. Ellie Russell lead the trio in a strong 5km run to start, with Tori Gilbert and Megan Inch following close behind. A puncture forced Inch to retire from the race, but Gilbert and Russell both had a strong 20km bike, with Gilbert just taking the lead. They finished with a short all-out effort in the grueling final 2.5km run in the now pouring rain, both managing to maintain smiles throughout!

The second race of the day was the standard distance duathlon: a 10km run followed by a 40km bike and a final 5km run. Miraculously the rain stopped and the clouds cleared leaving windy but sunny conditions for Newcastle’s racers.

Fergus Ingledew lead the way in the first run in a fast 38 minutes. On the bike Tom Jackson-Taylor took the lead with his new Canyon.

[pullquote]It was Tom Elmer who crossed the finish line in the best style - still sporting his cappo[/pullquote]

It all came down to mental willpower to run through the pain in the final 5km. Jackson-Taylor managed to maintain the lead taking 26th position, with Riley Richardson then Ingledew coming in just behind. Andy Shaw decided to forget his aim of “taking it easy”, letting a competitive edge take over with a brutal overtake of Jamie Partridge in the final 100m. But it was Tom Elmer who crossed the finish line in the best style - still sporting his cappo.

In the women’s race, Louise Mcleman pulled a 45-minute 10km run out the bag to take an early lead. Fiona McDonald did her best to catch up on the bike in a rapid 1hr 10 min. Mcleman managed to maintain the lead on the final run, coming in a very impressive 15th position with McDonald just behind in 16th.

Wren Langford came in next. Despite a run-in with a traffic cone taking her off her bike she got back on and pushed though to the end with her final run six minutes faster than her time last year.


M27 Time Trial

Meanwhile Thom Gilbert traveled up to Rothbury for a 27-mile ‘mountain’ time trial. Racing against riders from across Northumberland and Durham, Gilbert’s bike gave him a multitude of technical problems.

[pullquote]He managed to return the chain to its rightful place to save what he figured could amount to a couple of minutes in the long run[/pullquote]

After struggling through the early stages of the race he was forced to dismount ahead of the speedier sections. Sacrificing 30 seconds, and a bit of blood (chainring teeth are sharp) he managed to return the chain to its rightful place to save what he figured could amount to a couple of minutes in the long run. To keep it coming off again on rough ground, however, he was forced to keep the chain tight, which occasionally meant simultaneously pedaling, braking and cornering in the wet… a bit scary, and certainly not ideal racing conditions.

Gilbert managed to avoid any further chain drops, however, and even sneaked into the top ten with a time of 1:15:33, just seven minutes behind of the winner.

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