Steyning Tri Sunday April 6 2008OK so this wasn’t our race – not quite as bad as Steyning Triathlon today!


Well what a day!! Wasn’t it cold? 87 athletes in total took part in Cornwalls first triathlon of the season and probably thought never again! Over half the competitors were first timers – I can assure you all it’s not always that cold or windy. I think it was the first race I have attended where it was necessary to break the ice on top of your water bottle before taking a sip!

The event set up had started the day before with two great lads from Brandon Tool Hire and a load of borrowed scaffold from Chris Sedgman spent a good 3 hours erecting the racking – that, accompanied by Yvonne, Chris, Sue and myself barrier erecting, hazard taping and unloading several car loads of carpet, goody bags, water and cups, computer, printer, bananas, medals and trophies, large cones, small cones the list seemed endless – ‘get an early night’ says Yvonne as I’ll see you here at 6.00 in the morning!

Awoken through the night by heavy hail storms I dreaded to peer out of the window at 5 as I got myself ready as to what might it be like out there, but it wasn’t too bad, wet, but at least it wasn’t a white world – woke the Mrs who was on registration and teenage son on car parking duties – was I popular?!

Arriving at the centre – carpark empty, where was Yvonne? She was out on the run course with Mike E arrowing up – she’d already done the bike route as she found she couldn’t sleep and had started at 2.30am and carried on through the night.

Soon other marshals and competitors started to arrive. Poles were driven in, barrier tape erected, cones put in place, chairs, tables, water taken to station, carpet laid – 7.30 all the marshals were briefed and given detailed instructions as to where they would be and what they had to do and at 8 O’clock we were just about ready!

Competitor number one was off! We decided to do the same as last year and have no ‘waves’ and continue with ‘once the lane was empty we could get two more in’ We had a few gripes about this last year as people said they liked to know who was in their wave, but then we only had 2 hours pool time, had to get everyone through and as we all know triathlon is an individual sport – you race against yourself!

A steady stream of ‘blue’ swimmers gingerly ran up the carpet path to the transition area ready, for most, probably the coldest, windiest conditions for 15 miles they had been out in – some were certainly not prepared and off they went, no gloves, no jacket, just top and speedos! They looked cold! I was stationed in the transition, so it was a time before the first cyclist returned – some were so cold they couldn’t undo their helmet strap or tie their run shoe laces (we didn’t help, honest!)– but at least they were moving – we had 60 marshals on the course who by this time were probably frozen to the spot or stuck under a snow drift!

The ‘flyers’ had all gone through, Junior Heffernan, defending title holder closely followed by Nathan Jolly who both put in sub 5 minute swims (the swim times are taken on exiting the pool area at the door) Rich Brady, Matt Lewis, Dave Pell, Adrian Bell, Jeremy Stephens – some real quick swims – definitely lots of winter training has gone on I can see.

One by one they all returned, including the poor chap who walked a fair old way back after his chain snapped – he was going to finish this race for sure.

Competitor one – Ella May, she was still pressing on, first to go on the swim, and last coming in on the bike – she was suffering, she had cycled through a blizzard, probably had her picnic from her panniers on her bike, but she was going to finish.

I zoomed around the bike course thanking the marshals, sending them home or back to the centre and clipping down all the signs then around the run course encouraging Ella to ‘keep going’

Reaching the last roundabout, Mark O, shouldn’t have really, but hey! Ran back with her – the last one was back, everyone was safe – now to work out the results.

Dominating the Dojo in the mens race (Irontalk lingo) was Junior Heffernan who retained his title admirably, just a few seconds slower this year but the conditions were a lot worse! Second place by less than a minute, was local triathlete Nathan Jolly and in third another local Matt Lewis – WELL DONE GUYS

In the ladies race 1st was Katheryn Burgess, 2nd Sarah Jarvis and 3rd Margaret Knight –  WELL DONE LADIES

Again, breaking with triathlon tradition, we separated our age groupings differently and had under 30, 30 – 39, 40 – 49, over 50, over 60, Novice and local postcode categories – we also made the decision that if a competitor had already won an award the prize would drop down to the next qualifying athlete – not accepted by everyone but we try and ‘share the love’

Spot prizes donated by Cyclelogic, Helston were also awarded for slowest swim, bike and run (but you had to be present to collect) and also a prize was awarded to Ella for showing ‘true grit’ in completing her very first triathlon and not giving in.

Todays event was excellent for a number of reasons, the race will have meant something different to each and everyone who watched, raced or marshalled it, but for me it was to see 60 Mounts Bay Harrier members come together and marshal and help out, watching the ‘top end’ of the sport who make swimming, cycling or running look so effortless, seeing the latest bling top of the range race bike etc but most of all, most, most, most of all, it was about watching Mr or Mrs Ordinary, who put their mind to something, trained, prepared and challenged themselves in getting up off that sofa and doing something extraordinary – Well Done to all you NEW triathletes, show your medal to everyone, wear your t shirt and be proud of what you have accomplished  and perhaps ask yourself ‘when’s the next one?!?!?!’

See you next year?

Don’t forget to take a look in this weeks Cornishman and also the new Triathletes World magazine available early June for full features on the event.

If you have any comments good or bad please feel free to e mail us!

Look out for entry forms to the MBH Jubilee Pool Summer Aquathlon series coming soon.

Thankyou everyone for entering, racing, marshalling, sponsoring, helping out or supporting, I gotta go as going out for a run – Tresco next week!


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