Photo courtesy of Richard Knight Photography
F3 events have gone above and beyond in organising this multi sport event, especially during these trying times when restrictive social distancing measures have strained everyone over the past few months.
Conquer The Chilterns is a festival of events that consists of several races, including a river swim, duathlon, triathlon and trail run. It attracted many enthusiastic athletes, featured two separate areas for transition, a beautiful and scenic location, and wonderful September weather, all of which made up for the limitations that people had to follow to make the event happen safely and securely.
Firstly, a huge thank you must go to the F3 Events staff, the marshals, and the volunteers who coordinated, supported and cheered the athletes. The different events and the numerous activities would not have gone as smoothly as they did if not for the outstanding effort and enthusiasm of the staff. Kudos!
I raced in the sprint triathlon, so other races were already in progress when I arrived; nonetheless, the different areas (parking, transition areas, enquiries booth) were brilliantly set up so that the flow of events was never interrupted or disrupted. It was the first time I had to use two different transition areas for a race, but the set-up made the race flow smoothly. The transition areas were set up to guarantee the required 2-meter distance between athletes, and the one-way transit system put in place provided a safe and secure passageway for athletes and staff.
The swim had us starting individually in the water to ensure distance from each other, the track was well marked and swimmer safety was well considered. The sun rising over the hazy water of the Thames was beautiful.
Onward to the first transition and to the bike course. It was well sign-posted and marshals were positioned to facilitate athletes and alert for possible traffic. There was plenty of support out on the course from EVO triathlon club members and other athletes. The bike climb was…let's say, a little hilly, but the beautiful chilterns scenery helped to take the mind off the pain!
Finally, the run course, a lap in the woods with yet another climb, but I still managed a dash to the finish line!
It was a great experience with a friendly atmosphere in an amazing location with professional staff. What a fun race! I will definitely be back next year.
About the author: Pasquale Lamberti is a triathlete and member of EVO Triathlon Club.
Right in the middle of the school summer holidays I signed up for this 5km race, which for me is a bit of a challenge as it takes me 5km just to warm up. However I enjoyed this race, especially with my new Nike Zoom Pegasus running shoes which I won in a competition!
The race stared at 7pm at the Village Hall in Marsh Gibbon, just outside Bicester in Oxfordshire, on country roads and had just over half a mile of off-road terrain.
The start was congested and I didn’t have a good start, especially getting clipped by the lady who eventually won. I managed to stay on my feet and tried to close her in, but 10 seconds separated us (and she was 18 years younger than me).
I had a great young lad babysit the kids and a nice evening off doing what makes my blood rush and my heart pump and what I love.
One of my PT clients did the race too and that gave me a boost being able to see their achievements.
I was second lady and second in the county championships. Final 5km run time 18:53.
Many people ask how I fit in training in the school holidays. Well I just make it my priority along with work and looking after the kids full time. I have had some amazing offers of help from friends and their teenage kids. My kids see me putting in hours of training and effort even if they sometimes come down in the morning to see me on the treadmill. Then I stop to sort their breakfast out.
So you can make time for it if you really want to!
I have also been wearing and loving my Sundried Les Rouies women's running vest which has a really flattering fit and is so comfortable and ethical! I love it!
On race day, Saturday 4th August 2018, the temperature was 32 degrees Celsius – so what better way to spend my morning than running 10k at Queen Elizabeth Park, Stratford?
The week before the race, I went for a local run and took a fall causing injury to my knee. Because of this, all last week I was panicking about whether I would actually make it round the course. I had fallen over some bricks outside a supermarket, landed on my ‘bad knee’ which caused it to swell and was painful to walk on. I tested it Sunday and made it 2 miles before needing to stop - so Saturday's race was looking a bit daunting.
I set off with my boyfriend on Saturday morning for a 9.30am race start. Dan is an amazing runner and has really helped me improve my running lately and is a brilliant motivator. Part of me was thinking the temperature would be cooler at that time of the morning, but by the time I stepped off the train, I could already feel the heat.
The race consisted of 3 laps, which is never my favourite type of event but at least this one was scenic. It was quite undulating with a few ‘hills’. My view on hills is if it’s not flat then it’s a hill, I know most would disagree.
I always get caught up with race mentality but knew that with the temperature and not knowing how my knee would hold up I made my way towards the end of the start line. I have a habit of checking my pace when I’m running but I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t this time. I left it to Dan to tell me if I needed to slow down or speed up. My pace felt comfortable and I was surprising myself that I was able to run up the ‘hills’.
We ran through the finish line to start the next lap which was a bit soul-destroying as you know it isn’t the end yet. The first lap took me 19:10 which I was happy with as I was running a 9.00 -9.21 minute mile. I haven’t run at that pace for quite some time.
As I started the second lap I was starting to feel the heat. The marshals were amazing and very encouraging the whole way round. As I was coming round to the finish line for my second lap I felt like I had nothing left in me. I finished that lap in 19:14, maintaining the same pace.
Now for the final lap. My legs felt like jelly, I was very hot and sweaty but I knew that this was the last bit and I was done. The last 400 metres I was very tempted to walk, and even mentioned to Dan that I wanted to walk, he told me there was no way I could walk that last bit as I was on for a PB. As soon as I heard the cheering I knew I was at the end and I only had to run the finish line and it was over.
I finished the race in 57:36 – a new 10k race PB. I was 35/117 for my gender and 27/90 for my age group so I was very pleased with the results.
It was a great event, very well run and organised and I would definitely do that event again.
Now for a rest until my next events in September which will be all obstacle course races.
I participated in the first Owler Middle Distance Triathlon in Kent back in 2013 and was really looking forward to taking part again this year. 5 years on, the race takes place at a new venue and features a new route but it's the same great race.
The 23rd July dawned a beautiful, warm, sunny day. So sunny that at 6.30am, the lake temperature was 24 degrees – eek, compulsory non-wetsuit swim. I was nervous as I had not swum that distance before without a wetsuit but hey, if I wasn’t up for a challenge I wouldn’t be a triathlete, right?
My swim was definitely a little slower than if I had been wearing a wet suit, but I enjoyed it – if I had worn a wetsuit I would have boiled. It was quite freeing to swim without a wetsuit. I recommend it.
The bike route is fantastically flat as it winds around the marshland of Kent and is a very pretty route if you ignore the brief detour to the Dungeness power station and for the 70.3 you complete the lap twice. No doubt a PB is possible in this race but with a beautiful flat route near the coast you get strong headwinds, which always adds to the fun and makes up for the lack of hills for those who a like a few lumps in the road. I was thrilled as I completed the fastest 90k of my triathlon life in 3 hours 6 minutes.
I can’t speak for other competitors, but I hit the run just as the heat was reaching its peak. I think the run is my favourite element of triathlon, but this was one of the tougher ones I have experienced due to the heat. It was 4 laps of farmland which was tough as it was uneven in places.
I want to commend the organisers, Trispirit Events, for the way they looked after all of us triathletes in the heat. I believe extra feed stations were put on around the run route, with water available at all of them and it lasted until everyone had finished. In addition, there were lots of cold, wet sponges to keep us from overheating. Having read/heard the tales of marathons and other triathlons where water has run out by the time the later competitors get there, I was hugely impressed – and grateful!
Although tough because of the heat, I thoroughly enjoyed this race. I beat my PB by 38 minutes and was so glad I could go back for another crack. Ultimately a crowning glory of any race is the bling and you do get a fabulous medal with an owl in the centre.
This was a really well organised event with an option of 3 different tri distances. I would recommend the Owler event to anyone and I will be back again in the future to try to beat my time again.
Race To The Stones is a trail ultra marathon that takes place on the stunning, historic trails between Oxford and Swindon every July.
I can’t explain the meaning of this race to me; I find I am drawn to the lure of the combination of stunning scenery and brutal distance and terrain and the challenge of going as fast as I can for as long as I can.
I did this race for the first time in 2016, shortly after the realisation that doctors could do nothing more to help my mum with her cancer which had spread from her bowel to her liver. This cancer had been diagnosed after emergency surgery in 2012 around the time of the Queen’s Jubilee. So we had endured 4 long years of chemotherapy and surgery and never any remission, but my mum battled on and was so strong.
I used running to deal with my pain and could easily do back to back long runs, so I signed up for this ultra marathon even though I had not run more than marathon distance.
In 2016, at just past the 90km (55-mile) mark, I was feeling great and was first lady. Sadly, by 60 miles, I realised I was hopelessly lost and had a DNF by the side of a busy main road.
2017 saw me complete the 50km route which I did with confidence and crossed the line second overall and first female having run a few other ultras in between Race to the Stones 2016 and 2017. I was determined my failure in 2016 was not my final chapter.
Roll on 2018 and the challenge was finding a way to train whilst also being a single mum with no support, so babysitters and taking the kids with me to training was the only option. I was not intending to do the race as I thought I couldn’t get anyone to look after the children, but my friend said she would look after them for me... Amazing!
For the 2018 race, it was a hot day and the heat was relentless. Thankfully, I love the heat! I was running well and I thought I was hydrating well as I had my hydration vest and I was sipping on water and taking electrolyte tablets regularly. However, after leading the whole race and being 2nd/3rd overall for most of the run, at 80km I started to feel unbalanced. Something wasn’t right.
Running suddenly felt much more of an effort, my chest started to hurt, and I felt a bit light headed, so being sensible I slowed my pace. I then got a stitch and had to slow for that and so getting from 80km to 90km was a real struggle and seemed to be mostly uphill.
After 90km, I tried to push on (this time the signs were a lot better and I went the right way!) I was determined to finish but my mental strength was starting to fade and I had a few grumbles to myself, but I thought, "Come on you’re nearly there." Time was slipping off what I had hoped to run and I felt very uncomfortable; each step felt like an eternity to the finish.
But, I did it! After finishing some electrolytes that were given to me by the medics, I felt a lot better and drove back home to collect my children and put them to bed.
I felt a sense of achievement that I had finally done the whole 100km. The only thing is, I went out to win it and did not achieve that so I’ll have to try again!
About the author: Sophie Carter is a personal trainer, ultra runner, and Sundried ambassador.