Monday, 20 May 2013

Eton Sprint Triathlon 2013

On this weekend just passed the Eton SuperSprint Triathlon was held at Dorney Lake near Windsor. The events, which ran on Saturday and Sunday, are organised by HumanRace who not only run triathlons throughout the year (many at Dorney Lake) but a vast array or other events including open water swimming, duathlon, cycling and running (including trail/cross country). This event cost £62 which I think is fairly comparable to others I've looked at.

I've taken part in HumanRace events before and have always found the organisation to be top notch. This was no exception. All race information held on the website and you're emailed links a couple of weeks before hand. No race packs are sent out in advance, everything is collected on the day, which means less to forget on the day.

The event was well sign posted, car parking plentiful and the event village well laid out. The grounds were really beautiful and most people seemed to have brought their families and picnics, ready to enjoy a full day by the lake. It was easy for spectators to move around and find spots to watch their competitors. The atmosphere seemed far more laid back than at many of the running events I've been to. It felt friendly and inclusive and family oriented.

At registration you collect your set of race numbers and event t-shirt as well as pay your one-day membership fee for Triathlon England if you're not already a member. Before the main event kicked off there was a kiddies scootathon for 4-8 year olds (scooting, cycling and running). It was possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen and was a fantastic way for children to feel part of the day.
Contemplating the temperature of the water
Triathlon can be a little overwhelming but everyone was really helpful and kind to newbies such as myself. There's a lot of kit involved, labels need to be in the right places and for a novice, finding your place in transition can feel a bit like the first day at school. Thankfully there were plenty of people on hand to guide you. Male and female changing areas and showers were provided and toilets in ample supply.
I was entered in Mates Wave 1, the first wave to start at 10am on the Sunday. I didn't have any mates taking part with me but the mates waves contain a higher percentage of first-timers then the age and gender based waves that start later in the day. Starting in waves means that you're not too crowded on any section of the course and I never felt as though I was at the back of the pack, a huge mental advantage! Each wave has a different coloured swim cap so you don't get mixed up and it's easy to call a group to the start.

Final leg!
The water was around 14 degrees, making wetsuits compulsory but I don't think anyone was brave enough to go without. The swim/race brief is given IN the water as it's a deep water start, prompting a fair bit of squealing. The 400m swim was just one lap of the markers but the water marshalls were still very encouraging to those of us at the back. 21km of cycling was made up of 4 laps of the lake on a beautiful flat course and the 5km run was two laps on a section of a path between the cycle route and the lake. Everything was very clearly marked but you are responsible for counting your own laps. There is chip timing but you only cross the mats at the start and end of each section. At the finish everyone got some water and a carton of cocovita.
Me and mum at the finish
I didn't expect to enjoy the event nearly as much as I did. I grinned most of the way round, and made some of the marshalls laugh when I shouted gleefully each time a completed a lap on the bike. The bike ended up being my favourite part. I couldn't feel my legs once I got off so found the run challenging but still achieved a good pace. The weather was so lovely we had a little post-race picnic by the car, watching later wave cyclists zooming past. It was a wonderful event, a great day out and I would love to do another. I think the only thing I was slightly dispointed with was that you don't get a medal.

Commemorative t-shirt
Results were up by mid afternoon and I was thrilled to achieved a fairly respectable time of 1:39:12.
I was not first, I was 515th

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