Date: 14th July 2019
Location: Fambridge Yacht Station, Ferry Road, North Fambridge, Essex
Event Type and Distance: Middle distance triathlon 1.9km Swim / 90km Cycle / 18km Run
Amenities: Free camping to all competitors, BBQ, chip timing, Sports massage, wetsuit hire, Trophies for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd male and female, medals for all competitors
Entry Price: From £91
The Fambridge Half Iron Triathlon is the premier Half Ironman event in Essex and London.It starts and finishes at Fambridge Yacht Station on the River Crouch. North Fambridge is a charming and peaceful village and there is plenty to do with Maldon, Chelmsford, Basildon, and Burnham on Crouch all nearby. The area is rich with wildlife and Blue House Farm Nature Reserve is well worth a visit. For those who enjoy walking, you can follow the sea wall to the historic town of Burnham on Crouch, get the train back and grab something to eat at The Ferry Boat Inn.
Athletes will be swimming in the River Crouch. Participants will get to enjoy the quiet, scenic roads of the Dengie Peninsula on the bike section of the race. The running course is situated around the Fambridge Village; it's recommended that friends and family stay in this area as this is where the spectators gather. The running course is also lined with aid stations providing various energy bars and drinks. The Ferry Boat Inn will also provide refreshments and a BBQ at the finish line.
Date: 6th October 2019
Location: Southchurch Park, Southend-on-sea, Essex, SS1 2XB
Event Type and Distance: 10k run
Amenities: Chip timing, closed roads, water stations, medal
Entry Price: From £15
The race sees up to 2,000 participants run from Southchurch Park along the Southend seafront and back again on closed roads. There is also a 3k fun run on offer. The event provides water stations on the route and awards at the finish line. Headphones are strictly forbidden on this course, with anyone caught listening to music being disqualified from the race.
The event is an annual local spectacle, with seasoned athletes and professional runners descending on the flat course to try and hit a personal best time. Previous winners include Paul Whittaker and Adam Hickey, local athletes who are often the competitors to beat.
The Essex 100 Bike Ride is organised by Action Medical Research and is one in a series of bike rides put on to raise money for this charity. The Essex 100 starts and finishes in Central Park in Chelmsford and takes in the beautiful scenery and quiet country lanes of rural north Essex.
There are three distances to choose from - 101 miles, 60 miles, or 40 miles - and all participants receive a finisher's medal. I decided to sign up for the 60-mile ride as part of my preparation for next year's Prudential RideLondon event which is 100 miles. I decided that if I could survive 60 miles in the saddle and finish with a smile on my face, I could survive 100 miles.
From start to finish, this event was incredibly well organised. The pre-event race information emailed to each competitor contained all information needed and there was free event parking which was a nice touch. The registration process was very smooth and so quick that before I knew it, I was listening to the race brief and heading out onto the road.
The route was excellently executed and planned very well. Signage was very clear and at no point did I worry that I'd gone the wrong way, even without other cyclists around to assure me. Most of the roads were traffic-free as they were such small and unused country lanes and this made for some very effortless cycling and gave me the opportunity to enjoy the scenery.
There were a few hairy moments, such as a long stretch of road with loose gravel and some sharp bends and steep descents, but for most cyclists this would be standard practice. Even coming back into busy central Chelmsford was fairly uneventful, despite the traffic.
I'd also say this ride was quite 'easy' (as easy as spending 4 hours on a bike can be) due to the gentle elevation profile. There weren't any big climbs but I would definitely say the route is undulating - I was shifting gears every few minutes to accommodate for the continuous ups and downs. I'd certainly say that this route is beginner-friendly and any cyclist would be able to complete it.
The only thing I would say about this ride compared to the other sportives I've done is that because there weren't that many participants, it got a little lonely out there! I spent most of the course by myself whereas in other rides I've had a constant stream of other cyclists around me. This wasn't something I minded though.
This ride was hugely enjoyable and from start to finish it was very obvious how well organised and friendly it was. The feed zones/rest stops were very well placed and there was ample opportunity to sit down, rest, use the facilities, and fill up water bottles and refuel. Everyone taking part was in very good spirits and I would definitely recommend this event to others.