On Sunday 17th June 2018, Sundried hosted the second annual Southend Triathlon. Open to 600 competitors, this sprint triathlon consisted of a 750m open water swim in the Thames Estuary, a 20km flat lapped bike course along the seafront road which was closed to traffic, and a 5k run around the local park used for Parkrun.
32% of the athletes were female, which is a great result in this stereotypically male-dominated sport. 240 of the athletes had never completed a triathlon before while another 240 were experienced or professional triathletes. We were happy to advertise this event as being perfect for novices and experienced triathletes alike with its searingly fast and uninterrupted bike course and spectator-friendly swim and run.
We also enjoyed a fantastic turn-out from triathlon clubs, both local and further afield. The largest club presence was from local triathlon club JBR Run & Tri who had 42 triathletes representing them. The second largest was from the East London Triathletes and there was also a big presence from East Essex Triathlon club.
The overall winner of the race was local boy and Sundried ambassador Matt Leeman. Matt recently turned pro and has been enjoyed a fantastic start to his professional triathlon career. Our fastest lady was professional triathlete and Ironman champion Alice Hector. Alice is also a Sundried ambassador and is a fantastic role model for female athletes.
Southend Triathlon 2018 saw triathletes of all shapes and sizes, all ages, and some with all the gear and expensive triathlon bikes but equally plenty on a mountain bike in their gym gear just out having a great day, and that is truly the heart of our event: making sport accessible for all.
Chris Hargraves: "Thanks for the event. My first tri & really enjoyed it."
Mark Whitney: Thanks for a great day and all your efforts."
Linsey McCarthy: "Thank you for a great event. My first tri & absolutely loved it."
Clive Trevelian Cheese: "Great day well organised."
Dave Jacobs: "Thank you for a great day hope to see you again next year."
Claire Joyce: "Great effort! Well done to the organisers and all the marshals."
Sally Smith: "Absolutely loved it and definitely will be back next year."
Richard Whan: "My first Tri. Event was very well organised. Marshalls/officials were very supportive throughout. Crowds were encouraging too. Loved the whole experience. Thank you Southend Tri!"
Dan Robinson: "A great day, very well organised and run, especially with the water the way it was, thank you all at Southend triathlon."
Victoria Smillie: "Thoroughly enjoyed, even the sea swim! Great organisation, volunteers and supporters!"
Jo Fenn: "Thanks to organisers, volunteers and loads of supporters. I had a great day."
David Lloyd Clubs: "Thanks for having us Southend Triathlon. We had a great day cheering all the athletes on and ‘sending them Home’ to the final run. From the first chap to the last couple you smashed it well done!"
Russell Larthe: "Great effort from all involved at the Southend triathlon... great event, glad to be part of it."
Matt Bicks: "Southend Triathlon was brilliant. The crowd and stewards were so good cheering everyone from the first to the last competitor Well done everyone!"
What better way is there to spend your Sunday lunchtime encased in a world of pain for an hour or more?
To be honest, other than Yorkshire puddings and roasties, I'm sure you'll agree not much beats a Sprint Triathlon (right?)
Southend-on-Sea provided a great location for the first Sundried Triathlon. The town really welcomed the event and a whopping 2500 people came out to support the 300 athletes, many of whom were competing in their first triathlon.
The swim took place in the Thames Estuary with a refreshing midday start, due to the tide times. 1 hour before the start all we could see was mud flats for miles. I'm familiar with a non-wetsuit swim, but a non-water swim? That would be a first.
There was no need to worry. A mini tsunami came in as scheduled and the bay rapidly filled with clean salt water. We flip-flopped our way 500m along the sea front to the start, (flip-flops were then deposited back at the start for us), and the swim was simply point-to-point parallel with the beach: great for nervous swimmers who didn't have to venture far out their depth, and nice for spectators who could walk along and see the race unfold.
After failing to hold the fast feet of the lead man who set off beside me, I found another set, then decided to have a go on my own and make it hurt. The speed that is easy in a draft becomes really hard when in front, and I probably should have stayed where I was, but as this was a training race there was no need for energy conservation!
A smooth transition and we were quickly on to the fast, flat but quite technical bike course. The organisers are talking about a closed-road multi-lap affair for next year which I think would really draw the crowds in further and give it the buzz of a French Grand Prix tri: something the UK scene could really benefit from. I lost one place to another fast boy through the 20km bike leg, finishing up that bit in 4th; feeling rather power-deprived throughout. Some days you're the firework, some, the damp squib.
The run was out and back along the sea-front where people out for their Sunday stroll probably wondered why all these lycra-loving lovelies were self-flagellating themselves upon this Day of Rest, but they were giving great words of encouragement and seemed really into the spirit of the event: Southend seems to be a perfect match for a triathlon.
So, back to the run. 2.5k in a straight line does seem a long way, and to turn around and repeat the feat was another painful prospect, especially when you could see the Sundried finish banner over a mile away in the distance, not getting any closer...
Coming into a shorter triathlon as a longer distance athlete, you have visions of it 'being over quickly' and being 'no big deal' but I tell you what, Sprint is long and Sprint is hard! And I could only seem to muster limited speed anyway, but it was hurting as much as I could make it, so will hopefully prove an excellent training session as part of my preparation for the European 70.3 champs in 3 weeks’ time.
Coming to the finish, I didn't have much time to celebrate the female win and 3rd place overall as I was very aware of the clock ticking close to 60 minutes, and I always enjoy dipping under an hour in a Sprint. Sadly, I was 25 seconds too fat, but this will come in the next few weeks as I start to sharpen up for my first peak of the season. A couple of kilos makes a lot of difference to speed!
I would like to thank Sundried for their support of me as a pro triathlete this year, providing great PR opportunities as well as beautifully crafted clothing, and now adding another string to their bow: by producing a fantastic first event. Sundried really does stand for quality through and through. I look forward to seeing how the Southend Triathlon develops in years to come, and will definitely be back for that sub 1 hour in the future!
About the author: Alice Hector is a prolific elite professional triathlete, having already won the Volcano Triathlon in Lanzarote earlier this year. She is also a professional fitness model and has done lots of work with Sundried as an athlete ambassador.
Global technology brand Garmin are gearing up for their second year collaboration with the UK’s biggest mass participation running event series, Great Run.
The three-year partnership covers all Great Run events across the country for both adults and children including the Simplyhealth Great Newham London Run, Europe’s biggest 10K - the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run, which is this year being ran by Sir Mo Farah; and the world’s biggest half marathon - the Simplyhealth Great North Run.
New for 2018, Garmin have been announced as the title sponsor for the Great Ireland Run which includes 5K, 10K, Mini and Junior events. Taking place on Sunday 15th April, thousands of runners of all ages and abilities will make their way through the spectacular surroundings of Europe’s largest urban park, Phoenix Park in Dublin.
Garmin has a rich heritage in running technology, with the first Garmin forerunner 101 launching in 2003. The brand has built strong relationships with the running community over the years and understands the technological needs of runners of all ability.
Garmin’s Head of Marketing Richard Daish said: “We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Great Run and to be named as the title sponsor of the Great Ireland Run. With the Run Series’ wide range of distances and our diverse range of products ranging from beginner to elite level, we are dedicated to supporting and encouraging runners of all abilities. Last year, we saw thousands of runners push themselves to Beat Yesterday, we hope that 2018 we can inspire even more”.
The Great Run series has had more than four million people take part since it began in 1981, with events ranging from family activities to 5K, 10K, half marathons and marathons. The events offer competitors of all abilities the chance to take part and compete against the world’s best athletes – as well as raising millions of pounds for charity.
This year’s series will commence with the Junior Great Edinburgh Winter Run on Saturday 13th January, followed by events taking place in cities throughout the UK and Ireland including Edinburgh, Dublin, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and London. The 2018 series will conclude with the Simplyhealth Great South Run on Sunday 21st October, which was last year opened by Garmin ambassador and double Olympic champion, Dame Kelly Holmes.
Nicky Homes, commercial director of the Great Run Company said, “We're delighted to extend our partnership with Garmin for the second year. Like us, Garmin believes in supporting everyone as they work towards achieving their own personal activity goals and we are sure this will resonate with runners taking part in the event.”
To find our more or to enter a Great Run event visit www.greatrun.org.
Bearbrook Running & Triathlon Club is based in Aylesbury and boasts 300 loyal members. Each year the club hosts the annual Bearbrook 10k running race which starts and finishes at Aylesbury Rugby Football Club near Wendover in the Chilterns region. This was my first race away from my home county so I was excited to see what was on offer.
The course was one of the best I've ever done for a 10k race! It is described as 'fast and fairly flat' but I was in for a treat. My home county of Essex is deathly flat and running can become a bore, so undulating hills are something I enjoy to mix it up. The first 2 miles of the 10k took us runners through beautiful countryside and an idyllic village reminiscent of the Cotswolds. As we took a left turn out of the village, the marshalls uttered the dreaded words "That's right! Up the hill you go!" and I thought okay, time for a challenge. I do like running uphill so I wasn't too worried. The hill was a long, gradual incline which meant it didn't take the wind out of my sails too much and none of the runners were having to walk it. Upon reaching the top there was a short downhill stretch which was a nice reward. However, the next marshall I passed then said something I wasn't ready for: "Great! Just 3 more hills and then the home stretch!" Three more hills! I was up for the challenge. The great thing about the hills was that they weren't too steep and they meant the time flew by. There was always a slight descent after each one so that I could get my breath back a bit before tackling the next one.
After reaching the top of the final hill I felt great, and when a marshall said "That's it! Downhill all the way now!" I looked at my watch and thought, "Really? 2 whole miles all downhill?" and that was absolutely the case! 2 glorious miles powering downhill a gentle decline which meant my joints and muscles were not put under too much pressure but I was able to run at my fastest pace and make up the time I had lost slogging up the hills.
The final 0.2 miles are back inside the Rugby Club grounds and are round the field. It was reminiscent of school cross country which was not pleasant and was on grass so I had to consciously keep pushing round. I could hear the announcer over the speakers from around a mile away from the finish so it was very encouraging to get to the end. The support at the finish was great and it made the perfect end to a perfect race.
I was utterly impressed by how well organised this race was. There was an abundance of marshals which meant every road crossing was safe and I never had to hesitate or slow down my pace. They were all incredibly friendly and supportive and it added a great atmosphere to the race. The announcer at the start line was witty and put the racers at ease before the big race. There were ample toilet, parking, and food facilities on offer meaning everything was taken care of.
Results and Prizes
The winner for 2017 was Matthieu Marshall of Southampton AC in a time of 00:32:42. I thought I might get a PB as the last 3 miles were so fast but I was 1 minute off thanks to taking the hills a little too slow in the first 3 miles. There was a branded mug for every finisher but no medal which I was rather disappointed about! There were free sports drinks, water bottles, and snacks for every finisher too which was a lovely touch.
I was hugely impressed by this race and I thoroughly enjoyed my time here! I would definitely recommend this race to others and I will probably make my way back for next year! Bearbrook Running Club is hosting its inaugural duathlon in September which should also make for a great race.
Entries open for Skipton Triathlon soon and British triathlete Emma Taylor is encouraging people to take the plunge and have a go.
Emma, who won her age category and was fourth overall in the Duathlon World Championships earlier this year, and won the Wasdale Half Ironman last year, is looking forward to starting next year’s season with Skipton Triathlon on April 9th, 2017.
She says the sprint distance triathlon, which starts at Craven Swimming Pool & Fitness Centre, is the perfect way to get started in the sport – whatever your age or ability.
“Lots of different abilities will be taking part from all walks of life, some trying it for the first time, which is brilliant,” said Emma, who is a health promotion officer for Craven General Practices, made up of Dyneley House Surgery, Fisher Medical Centre and Cross Hills Group Practice.
“I got into triathlon as I was coming out of university, I liked running, and I love the social element of cycling and I was a keen swimmer as well. I got started with a local event, similar to Skipton. You can get a true feel of the sport with a local event like this. It’s at the start of the season as well so it’s a really good race to dip your toes in.”
Emma is hoping to use the Skipton Triathlon as a springboard to another successful season. She’s hoping to go to Canada to compete again in the Duathlon World Championships, subject to funding, and then there is the IRONMAN 70.3 in Weymouth, following on from last year’s third place in her age category at IRONMAN Bolton.
“Once you’re started, you’re hooked,” she said. “And you don’t have to be good at it to enjoy it. It’s a brilliant sport for anyone of any ability.”
Councillor Linda Brockbank, Craven District Council’s lead member for Working with Communities, said: “I’m delighted that we’re running this fantastic event next year and would encourage people to sign up. I have huge admiration for anyone who gives this sport a go, whether they are elite athletes or novices; they should be very proud of themselves.”
Skipton Triathlon consists of a 400m pool swim, a 22km bike ride and a 5km run.