A triathlon belt is a race bib number holder that is worn during races in order to hold your race number. The point of wearing a triathlon belt is so that you do not have to pin your race number onto your trisuit thereby poking holes into the material and potentially ruining a piece of kit you paid a lot of money for.
The main benefit to wearing a triathlon belt is that you need your number to be visible from the back on the bike but from the front on the run. If your number is pinned to your tri suit using safety pins, you won't be able to swap it round. If you wear a triathlon race belt, you will be able to easily swivel your number from your back to your front between disciplines, saving precious time during transition.
The London Triathlon is the world's biggest triathlon, attracting over 13,000 racers and up to 30,000 spectators. If you are looking for a triathlon to test you or for an exciting and exhilarating initiation into the world of multi sport, this is the triathlon for you.
Amateur and professional triathletes are regularly joined by celebrities for this huge occasion, with London Triathlon finishers including presenter of The Gadget Show Jason Bradbury and TOWIE star Lydia Rose Bright.
There are several different triathlon distances on offer to suit all level of competitors. From super sprint to Ironman, the distance you choose depends on your fitness level and also your experience, as diving straight into a full Ironman is definitely not advisable if you are a beginner triathlete!
Swim Bike Run Super Sprint 400m 10km 2.5km Sprint 750m 20km 5km Standard/Olympic 1500m 40km 10km Middle Distance 2.5km 80km 20km Long Distance 4km 120km 30km Ironman Distance 3.8km 180km 42km
It's important to check the exact distances of the race you intend to participate in before you sign up as some race distances can vary. An Ironman triathlon is a specific brand of triathlon and the distances vary slightly from that of an ITU long distance triathlon.
How to use a triathlon belt
Using a triathlon belt is very easy and straight forward. Ever spent ages trying to fix your race number to your top using fiddly safety pins? A race number belt is so much easier to use and means you don't have to puncture holes in your activewear.
Your triathlon belt will feature two toggles at the front. Simply take the toggle off the elastic, slide your bib number through the pieces of elastic, and then replace the toggles so that the race number is fastened into place. That's it! You can wear your triathlon belt wherever is comfortable on your body, whether that's round your waist or round your hips. You can easily swivel your triathlon belt so that your race number is either at the front or at the back.
Ironman 70.3 Western Australia has been one of the major races in the Asia Pacific triathlon scene since 2004. It takes place in the scenic town of Busselton, in the south-west region of Western Australia. Busselton is famous for its beautiful jetty, which stretches 1.8km out to sea and forms the focus of the swim for both the 70.3 and the full Ironman.
This race had been my focus for training throughout 2017. Having done one 70.3 previously, I was keen to see if I could improve on my time. The day started early with a 03:30 alarm call and arrival at transition at 04:30. The sun was coming up and with the first rays of sun you could sense how hot the day was to become. We all collected on the beach and shuffled ourselves into self seeded groups according to our swim speed. Looking like little beans in our multicoloured swim hats we stood nervously waiting for the start.
The gun went off and the first swimmers entered the water. Before I knew it I was being moved forward and off I went, running into the turquoise sea and looking ahead to the red buoy in the distance marking the point at which we would swim under the jetty before heading back to the beach again. I was feeling good and although the sea had some chop to it, I was managing to keep my stroke steady. As I looked up to sight the buoy I noticed the life guards were pointing at the jetty. I thought nothing of it. With the next look up, I noticed the helicopter above me and heard the whistles of the life guards. Everyone around me was swimming as fast as they could away from me and towards the jetty. Shark! Get out of the water! That was my quickest 50m swim sprint ever! Everyone was evacuated from the water and we walked back to the beach along the jetty feeling very disappointed.
The race was started again from the beach, with a rolling start into transition. There was a fair amount of standing around waiting my turn and finally I was called forward and I ran into transition and went through the motions of helmet, shoes, bike etc until I was ready to run out of transition and jump on my bike.
Out into the forest roads we went. Along the coast and then more forests. The course is one of the flattest, which also makes it one of the fastest. There’s no respite here. You go on full power for 90km. Drink stations came and went but I stuck to my own fluid and nutrition regime, eating and drinking every 10km. I couldn’t quite believe that I was hopping back off the bike after 2 hours 30 mins.
Off the bike, the heat hit hard. It was now 34-35 degrees and with very little breeze. The run was on the coastal road and footpath and the sun radiated off the tarmac. You could see that everyone was struggling. Every aid station became a game of ice down the front, ice down the back, water on the head and water in the mouth! Local families stood in their font gardens with their hoses cooling us down. I kept hoping that my body would suddenly get used to it and give me some more energy, but alas it didn’t and I had to simply push on to the end.
The support was amazing. Family, friends and club members all out to support each other. The noise down the finishing shoot was amazing and I was delighted to cross the finish line and be able to make the most of the free ice-cream in the recovery tent! With such a poor run, I didn’t even bother to look at my result until I was on my way home. To my utter astonishment I had come second in my age group and 14th female! We headed straight back to the awards ceremony and I excitedly accepted my place at the Ironman 70.3 championships in South Africa next year! No rest for me!
Natasha Pertwee is a Sundried ambassador and competes as part of the Team GB Age Group team in triathlon.
My year started well with personal bests.
However, after getting injured I became downhearted. It didn’t take long to dawn on me that my inability to put in some meaningful running miles meant it was going to be another year before I took the step up to middle distance triathlon. Fortunately, the standard distance still had places and I was able to change my entry. I knew that I had the base fitness to run 10k off the bike without having to train that distance in the build up and there I rediscovered my love for participating in this amazing sport rather than putting pressure on results and times!
Adding to the excitement is being part of JBR Tri club. A small but growing and incredibly friendly club, they take on events with a real team spirit whether you only joined yesterday or are one of the founding members. We travelled to Cambridgeshire the day before the race and a hearty meal and few laughs set the tone for the evening and forthcoming race day.
Ely is a small, stunning Cambridgeshire town with a busy canal running by the cathedral packed with pubs, restaurants and art galleries either side of the water making a great race setting.
The water tasted a bit like diesel which wasn't too pleasant, but it felt more mild once in. This ended some pre-race concerns as it was a freezing late summer morning. A narrow funnel for the many competitors made for an exciting swim with sighting made less important as I could gauge distance from how many metres I was from the parked canal boats. The banks nearer transition were crammed with spectators as were the foot bridges meaning I could hear the supporters with every turn of the head.
Out to the buoy and back again I was sure that I was going well enough, knowing that a top 15 swim would put me well in contention when I came into my comfort zone on the bike. Into T1 and unfortunately this event has a rough swim exit due to the hidden rocks which are near impossible to avoid meaning some pain in the toes once the race adrenaline eases.
Into the bike and the course immediately felt fast. Flat and quiet roads meant for some mean racing! A slight incline out of town on the main drag worked the quads however once into the country my Garmin was giving me a smile. One section along the far end of the course is very bumpy and the road poorly kept however the main road back to Ely offered a kind tail wind and slight decline meaning for over a mile many of us were sitting relatively comfortably above 30mph. With the cathedral drawing closer, so was transition meaning that my racing was nearly done!
Something inside was telling me that maybe without training I could, by some miracle, run a PB off the bike, but reality soon kicked in and I was way off the pace! So I switched off and just tried to enjoy the fact I was racing again and embracing the support from fellow club members at the side of the road. Unfortunately for me, reality had another kick for me when my quads cramped up in a big way 5km in. So after a short walk and a stretch I got going again and 4 laps of a scenic course through the cathedral grounds were soon done.
Time to re-hydrate and refuel with a beer and a burger and cheer on my club comrades. One last pleasant twist to my race day was being joined by a friend I made riding to Paris as part of an event organised by Great Ormond Street hospital. He had just enjoyed a long ride and happened to live close by so was equally eager to re-hydrate and watch the race draw to a close.
Race season really is over for 2017
I completed my last race for the year at the weekend, which was the Windsor Duathlon at Dorney Lake and it was a fantastic race for me (you can read more about it here.) I went on holiday for 2 weeks at the beginning of November and did zero training while I was away. I also wasn't able to eat well as we were in Egypt which meant I had the dreaded holiday tummy most of the time! As such, when I got home and went for my first run back after holiday, I was horrified at how difficult it was! It's pretty unreal how much fitness you can lose in a relatively short space of time, but having the race in a few days I knew I had to just dig deep and get the training done. I got back to training on the Monday and had the race that Saturday so I trained hard to get my fitness back up. Thankfully, on the day, I performed better than I expected and was really happy with my result.
This was my second duathlon (my first being Bowood House in October which you can read about here) and I chose to do the sprint distance which is a 5k run - 20k bike - 5k run. At Bowood, I did the super-sprint distance so I decided to up the ante and go for a slightly longer distance. I've found that I really enjoy doing duathlon so I'll be sure to do some more next autumn and winter after my main races of the year.
Racing in 2018
With my heart set on an Ironman (!) in 2019, I am planning out my races for 2018. The biggest event for me will be Paris Marathon in April. I have never run a marathon before and in fact I never thought I'd be able to run one full stop. I'm not naturally good at running at all and I've always been very slow. Most people's 5k pace is what I consider a full pelt sprint! Therefore, running a marathon will be a huge accomplishment for me and I am taking my training very seriously. I've entered the Thorpe Park half marathon in February and the Lydd 20 Mile in March as preparation for the marathon. The farthest I've run to date is 13.1 miles (I've done 2 half marathons) so I'm looking forward to seeing what happens when I start running longer distances! I've also entered the London Triathlon which is in August so I'll be keeping up my triathlon training too. I'll be doing Hanningfield Triathlon in May as my first ever triathlon and a stepping stone for London. I'm really excited for all these races, especially as each one will be a big achievement for me.
I think the most important thing is to stay realistic and remember where I started. I read a lot about people who turned up at their first ever triathlon with no experience and ended up placing 2nd or 3rd in their age group. For me, just trying not to come last is the main goal! I have to keep reminding myself that everyone has different abilities and that just taking part at all is something to be really proud of. I've had a great year this year which the London To Southend Bike Ride, Bearbrook 10k, Garmin Ride Out, Kent Coastal Half Marathon, Bowood House Duathlon, and Windsor Duathlon. I've entered into new territory with both my running and cycling, and putting them together into multi-sport! I've learnt to swim front crawl and by next year I'll be doing a triathlon. That's pretty good going if you ask me.
Read the next instalment - Couch To Triathlon (14) - Bike Envie
Xterra is what happens when triathlon meets the wilderness. Think ocean swimming, mountain biking, and trail running. It's definitely not for the faint-hearted, but Sundried ambassador Rui Dolores made it to the coveted world championships. Here's how he got on.
Maui, October 29, 2017
The day starts early. The first move is to look out the window to check the weather. The weather has been very changeable recently but today the sky is clear and provides a day of sun and warmth.
I have some breakfast, cycle to the start, and check out the water. It's choppy and hectic, which is just how I like it.
After a chaotic start and being knocked around amongst the other competitors, I find my place in the group. The front-runners are strong and soon there are spaces between the groups. As I exit the water, I hear someone say that I'm in 25th position. Time to move.
In Xterra, the bike course is a hilly, muddy mountain bike trail with jumps and surprises at every turn. After an initial tough climb there were some sharp corners which required full concentration to avoid crashing. I start to gain positions but had to keep a steady pace so as not to lose control. There are long climbs and the Hawaiian heat is almost unbearable, but I continue pushing up the climbs.
After passing my support crew, I'm filled with energy and positivity.
I start the run in 20th position which gives me hope that I'm not out of the race just yet.The first 6k of the course is mostly uphill. It is essential to get a good pace in the first half and I was feeling good. After a few inclines and declines, I had caught up with a few athletes ahead of me.
There are fast sections followed by sections littered with tree roots that you have to navigate and jump over, before a final descent back down to the beach.