Triathlons, Duathlons and Marathons

TNT took on all sorts of competitions over Easter, Jordan Scudder tells us how they got on.

Jordan Scudder
8th May 2017
Bombing along: Louise McLeman completes her 25km stint on the bike at the Stockton Duathlon. Image: Dave Charnley

Team Newcastle Triathlon’s race season started this Easter. With only three BUCS events a year, the club also enters many other races to get their adrenaline and competition fix.

The first of these was the Manchester Marathon on April 2nd. It was a beautiful day with clear skies and an amazing atmosphere. The race is only in its fifth year, though regardless of its infancy it’s incredibly well run with plenty of nutrition and aid stations to hand.

Almost a dozen current and old members of the team raced with some amazing results on hand. Everyone got a new PB and a few of our members even qualified for good for age entry for the London Marathon; those being Harry Putnam, Danny Bluff, Leticija Petrovic, Sara Tomassini, Gabby Withrington & Laura Bassett.

Special mention must also go to Tim Bonham who ran an amazing 2Hr 55minute race but will be retiring due to health conditions. Tim has been an avid and inspiration member of the club for many years and his amazing attitude and performance will be sorely missed.

For Gabby, Manchester was the beginning of her challenge to run eight marathons in eight days for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Despite running an incredibly fast 3hrs 37 she could power through and run a consecutive six more before finishing at the Brighton Marathon a week later. She raised over $1500 in the process!

“Special mention must also go to Tim Bonham who ran an amazing 2hr 55minute race”

April 23rd saw the Stockton Duathlon Festival. This weekend of racing offered both Sprint & Standard competitions. There were two Sprint races as one was draft legal whilst the other wasn’t. A draft legal race is one in which you can follow the cyclist ahead of you, with a gap of only a few centimeters between you.

This allows you use up to 40% less energy than the person in front of you as you ride in their slipstream. The respective distances for these were 5km run, 20km bike & 2.5km run & 10km run, 40km bike and 5km run.

The draft legal sprint distance was also a qualifier Duathlon World Championships so competition was fierce. The bike course is incredibly technical, so competitors needed to pair skill with power to gain speed coming out of the corners.

There were fantastic results in all three races. Louise McLeman came was the second woman across the line in the non-drafting Sprint distance, and Rachel Pearse was third. Sam Steele also came tenth in the Standard distance race. It was also the first race for a lot of our newer members and great practice with BUCS just on the horizon.

8/8 marathons completed  by Gabby Withrington

April 30th was the penultimate event of the year; BUCS Sprint Triathlon at St Mary’s School just outside of Bath. This consisted of a 750m pool swim, 25km bike leg and rounded off with a 5km run. For a lot of the newer members this was their very first full triathlon, so a lot of preparation was needed.

Competitors set off in waves depending on their swim times behind heading into the first transition (also called T1) and getting on their bikes. The bike course was undulating and very scenic, though there was the occasional twist and turn so wits were needed.

This then lead into the second transition (T2) before starting the final run. The move from bike to run can be difficult on the legs, so this is the hardest part of the race. The course was flat and fast and where the athletes truly needed to push themselves before reaching the finish line.

The first wave was at 9am and the last wave was at 2pm so there was a full day of racing to take in. The atmosphere was incredible with university teams from all over the country congregating and setting up banners, gazebos and more as makeshift Race HQs for their athletes. The final wave is the most competitive and filled with top tier triathletes. Last year saw the likes of Gordon Benson who raced alongside the Brownlee brothers in Rio last year.

“For a lot of the newer members this was their very first full triathlon”

It was an exhilarating day and the club had some fantastic results. Thom Gilbert got the tenth fastest bike split out of almost two hundred competitors. Unfortunately, the skill level was incredibly high, so no BUCS points were earned.

Later in the month will be BUCS Standard, the last and hardest event of year. It is also usually out most successful. Many of TNT’s members specialize in longer distance racing, so that should be their time to shine and hopes are high for BUCS points.

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