The exciting sport of triathlon is returning to Southend On Sea in Essex for its second year on Sunday the 17th of June 2018!
The Sundried Southend Triathlon is a sprint distance race with a 750m open water swim in the Thames Estuary, 20k pancake flat cycle along the seafront promenade, and speedy 5k run around the local Parkrun route. This race promises searingly fast times as it is the flattest triathlon you'll find, making it perfect for seasoned pros who want a PB as well as beginners who are looking for a friendly course.
For its inaugural event in May 2017, the race was a roaring success and attracted nearly 3,000 people to the buzzing seaside hub of Southend On Sea. Over 100 of the athletes were first-time triathletes, showing how this event encouraged more people to take up sport in the local area and take on a new challenge. For 2018, there will be 600 competitors instead of 300, meaning we expect up to 5,000 cheering fans and spectators! It promises to be a huge day, with support from local running experts Runner's Edge, bike fitting and turbo competitions from Cycles UK, and wet suit hire and expert swim advice from Tri N Swim Well.
Additional to this, there will be support from local gyms including DW Fitness Thorpe Bay, David Lloyd Southend, Fusion Lifestyle Southend, and Virgin Active Thundersley. The gym staff and personal trainers will be providing expert training advice, warm ups, and cool downs for all athletes. To spoil the racers even further, there will be smoothies provided by The Honestly Good Smoothie Company and goody bags featuring treats from Oppo Ice Cream and Pulsin Healthy Snacks.
The entire event is in aid of Havens Hospices who provide end-of-life care for adults and children in Essex. The event is also proudly sponsored by Pinnacle Mortgage Centre.
There are still spaces available, so sign up now on the Southend Triathlon website!
For training advice, check out the following articles written by expert coaches, trainers, and triathletes:
Sundried ambassador Harry Kleiman is an endurance runner who decided to tackle the challenge of running 6 marathons in 6 consecutive days to take him 156 miles along the stunning Jurassic coast of the UK. With his friend Adam Swycher, they ran from Southampton to Exeter with no GPS trackers and all their provisions carried on their backs. Here's how they go on! This report is written by both Harry and Adam.
We had always wanted to do an intense running expedition but we never thought that we would finally settle on running six marathons in six days. We are both long distance runners and we wanted to push ourselves to our limits and achieve something memorable.
Choosing the route was easy. Adam has driven along the scenic south west coast of the UK between his home in London and university in Exeter many times. However, he had never really explored the coastline that he had driven so many times before and felt it was time to change this.
Training for specific races isn’t an alien concept for us because we have both competed in races and stuck to strict training plans in the past. However, we had only allowed ourselves about three and a half months to train for running six consecutive marathons while carrying a bag which weighed about a third of our body weight. We started with long training runs and slowly introduced a weighted bag. We also included sessions with steep elevation gain as the coast would be hilly. We followed similar routines to most marathon training plans, running a variety of distances throughout the week at varying speeds with a long run at the end of the week. What did differ, however, was the fact that we ran the full 26.2 miles on multiple occasions before we started as we wanted to feel comfortable with the distance.
We planned to carry all our food, clothes, essentials and camping equipment on our backs and to do it as simply as possible - no support, just the two of us. We knew that we would have to pack light for our run and found that Matador’s Beast28 Packable Technical Backpack was ideal as it’s light but sturdy, making it perfect for running the distances that we were travelling.
We pondered for a long time how we would be able to get the best night’s sleep whilst carrying the least amount of equipment on our journey. I decided that hammocks would be more useful than tents as, not only are they lighter, we wouldn't have to worry about uneven, damp, or rocky flooring. Hammock Bliss’ Sky Tent 2 and two single hammocks were perfect because those three items weighed just under 1.7kg. The Sky Tent 2 is a waterproof and bug-proof tent that is suspended and two hammocks are hung inside bunk bed style.
After catching an early train from London to Southampton we began our first marathon, running through the New Forest - we were absolutely buzzing. Without knowing what exactly we were in for or where we would be sleeping, we headed west and followed signs within the forest. The first day went without any problems and we found the perfect place to wild camp. We set up our hammocks with ease and started cooking. We had bought tins of tuna, beans, instant porridge sachets and rice for a hot dinner/lunch. We packed enough food for the first three days and then restocked for the last three.
After a good night’s sleep, we packed up and started running southwest towards the coast when our first setback hit after two hours of running. We realised we had about 20 ticks all over our bodies. Ticks are small insects that live in long grass and can carry Lyme Disease, a potentially serious virus. Not wanting to take a risk, we visited a local doctor who was able to remove them and reassured us that we had no more ticks on our bodies, albeit we had to forgo about three hours of the day.
Camping that night, however, we realised that some of the ticks had found their way to some very questionable areas of our bodies. So, with a torch in one hand and tweezers in the other, we took turns, solidifying our friendship as we went…
Our third and fourth marathons were undoubtedly the hardest, both physically and mentally, with our bodies really put to the test and the realisation that we were only just passing the halfway mark. I started to suffer from blisters just before midday, but Trail Toes had provided us with enough blister cream to last a lifetime and pushing through the pain was easier than stopping to then start again. Adam also developed a pinched nerve in his shoulder, but with enough padding, we were able to push through the most scenic part of our journey. Our determination and long-distance training started to pay off during this period and we gave each other the spirit to continue.
As we woke up on our fifth day, spirits suddenly jumped back up again because we knew we were close to completing the challenge. Our clothes had been cleaned thanks to Scrubba, a portable ‘washing machine’, so we were feeling fresh and ready to go. We had not been able to find two suitable trees to hang our hammocks between, so we used our Sky Tent 2 as a normal tent on the ground. The base of it is waterproof, so we just attached one side to a fence and pegged the other in the grass.
Day five felt sluggish, but that was expected, as our bodies continued to resent us for the pain that was developing in our feet and backs, but we were determined to keep a good pace. Energy levels were running low, but we had lots of snacks that mostly consisted of Clif Bars and Clif Shot Energy Gel for protein and energy.
We were waking up at about 6 am on the last couple of days so we could finish our marathons earlier. Our “relaxation and rest” time after the marathons consisted of swimming and rock climbing and then eventually some cooking and falling asleep from exhaustion at about 8:30 pm. We wanted to explore the areas we were running through as well, so it was great that we got to have some fun along the coast.
Day six was finally upon us and it felt great. We blocked out the pain and exhaustion as we ran the whole of the last marathon smiling whilst discussing what our first proper meal would be. Once we saw the first signs for Exeter, we knew we were almost there. We knew there were a house, a bath and a beer waiting for us not too far away.
We finally made it and we had completed our challenge. We successfully ran six marathons in six days from Southampton to Exeter whilst camping each night and carrying all our gear on our backs.
Spending a couple of days resting in Exeter was much needed to get us back to our normal running routine. I am currently training for the Amsterdam Marathon in October and it’s great because the long runs now seem a lot shorter and less painful than they used to!
We’re both very chuffed that we managed to complete our 6 in 6 challenge and we will definitely be doing similarly intense challenges in the future - maybe completing a marathon on every continent? Running to Paris? Or maybe an Ironman? The possibilities are endless and we can’t wait.
We decided to do a challenge so extreme to simply put our physical and mental strength to the test, but to also encourage other young people to get out and do something active. We know not everyone can simply put on a pair of running shoes and run six marathons in six days, but we want to show people that there are much better things than sitting on the sofa watching Netflix. We’re nothing special - just a couple of guys who decided to go on a run!
Sundried had the pleasure of chatting to James Anderson and his cousin Rusty, who was born with cerebral palsy. Together they are a motivational and inspirational duo who set out to spread the message of inclusion and positivity in the running community.
Please tell us about Team Rusty- who you are and what your journey is about.
Team Rusty is a duo wheelchair racing team. I push the chair and my cousin Rusty is the motivational engine up front. He's the one that makes us go! Rusty was born with cerebral palsy. He is unable to walk or talk and has limited use of his arms but he has a big personality and even bigger heart.
We come from a huge sports family and Rusty is the biggest fan of us all. He truly has the heart and competitive spirit of an athlete. This is a great way for us to unite and compete together as a team. Our journey is about spreading a positive message of inclusion and positivity.
How did you first start Team Rusty?
My family had heard of the iconic father and son racing duo Team Hoyt long before we started racing but for some reason we had never put 2 and 2 together that we could do the same type of duo wheelchair racing that they have pioneered. We looked into it online and saw that you can sign up for races and they would let you borrow a racing chair. So just before cross country season my senior year of college we reached out to team Hoyt and they were gracious enough to let us borrow a chair. We had a great race and quickly fell in love with the idea. We had an absolute blast! The following summer we raced every other weekend and ran our first marathon that fall. We raised money to buy our own chair and haven't looked back since.
Have you always been into running? Where did your passion start?
I started running my freshman year of high school. I loved the sport. The work it takes to improve, tracking your progress, and the team element of cross country and track. After high school, I ran at the university of New Hampshire on their cross country and track team for 4 years, which was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I loved my teammates and coaches and honestly couldn't have asked for a better 4 years. Since then, I have raced with Rusty and have coached spring track at my old high school. Running is a central facet of my life and a huge passion that I share with Rusty.
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
Awesome question and a difficult one to answer. There are so many awesome races to choose from. We have really fallen in love with the marathon. It's a great challenge and takes a big team effort. Our first major marathon was the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC last fall. The atmosphere was incredible, huge crowds and such amazing tradition. There were also 90 duo teams that raced, it truly is "the people's marathon" .We achieved a big PB (3:27) and we can't wait to go back this October and race for a Boston qualifier.
How do you find it training together? Are there some days when one of you needs to motivate the other?
Rusty lives a few hours away from me so we don't get to train together too often. We race together about every other weekend throughout the summer and autumn, which really helps build our fitness in addition to all the fun we have racing together. For me it's all about Rusty. He gets me out the door and running everyday. Especially in the winter when it's cold and wet out and the last thing I want to do is bundle up and run for 60 minutes. Knowing that he is relying on me as his teammate pushes me every day.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Rusty. He's the absolute best. Every mile of every marathon he goes wild. As soon as he sees the mile sign he starts cheering and making some noise. He is such a driven competitor. He wants to win every race we start. He wants to know the time and pace at every mile, if we are too slow or too fast, he really tracks the progress of the race as best he can. Despite not being able to talk, Rusty has a real way with getting information out of you! I admire his attitude and spirit more than anything. He is such a positive force, just being around him - especially in a sporting environment - is so inspirational.
A good story about Rusty is before we started racing together when I was running in college, Rusty would be on the computer at school trying to type something into the search bar. This can take him some time and it can be challenging for him to hit the key that he intends to. So his teachers were trying to figure out what he was trying to look up and help him out. A few days in a row he kept going to the UNH track page. His teachers were rightfully confused so they asked my aunt why he kept doing this. My aunt explained that Rusty was trying to look up results from my races. That just meant the world to me, it still does. He's more than my cousin, he's my team mate and one of my closest friends. I really can't say enough about him.
What advice would you give to other people in a similar situation who wish to do what you do?
Go for it! It is so rewarding for everyone involved. It is so much fun. Go onto the Team Hoyt website and see if there are any races on their schedule near you. They can loan you a chair and teach you how to drive. It's a great way to meet other families in similar situations as well. We have a met so many amazing people through Team Hoyt. If you want to raise money and buy yourself a chair, you should reach out to them. They have the resources to help get you started!
Follow James and Rusty's adventure on their Instagram @teamrustyrolls