Race Reports

Mid Sussex Triathlon Club W/E 4th July 2021

Stewart Conway At Bolton Ironman

Ironman Uk at Bolton

While many in the country were still in bed, the competitors of Ironman UK 2021 were setting off on a daunting physical test in Bolton. Athletes began early in the morning with a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride around the town, before running a full marathon, all in the pouring train, making the bike run treacherous.

Stewart Conway and Doug MacTaggart were keen to take part as the event had to be postponed last year due to Covid. Stewart completed the course in a respectable 11hr 42 mins 10 secs giving him 12th place in his age group and  97th place overall. Doug, who specialises in Ultra Marathons and who was competing in his 16th Ironman, finished in 15.46.18 to place 1012th in this very popular event.

Outlaw Holkham Half Ironman

Outlaw Half Holkham is known as one of the UK’s most beautiful triathlon events with the 18th century Holkham Hall providing an inspiring backdrop to the swim. Luc Berthouse competing in his first Half Ironman was delighted to come 7th in his age group with a good time of 4.57.42. This also placed him 117th out of 1125 competitors.

Hever Castle Long Aquathlon

This event is part of the Festival of Endurance and comprises a lengthy 3,800m swim followed by a 21km run. Adam Bryant came 2nd in his age group for the second time, and 8th overall in what he described as probably the hardest race he’d ever done.

Ardingly Reservoir Open Water Swimming

Meanwhile the club’s open water swimming continues at Ardingly on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings. This is the club’s most popular activity with 39 swimmers on Saturday.

River Arun, Pier to Pier Swim and Dartford Sprint Tri

2021 06 26 Arun Swim L R In Wetsuits Adam Bryant Liz Griffin Hind Esther Williams Liane & Barry Davids

River Arun Swim

On Saturday 26th June seven members of the club competed in the 3.8km Arun River swim. This very popular event starts from Ford Marina just after high tide, so swimmers get help from the outgoing tide. It finishes at the RNLI in Littlehampton.

John McTear was first club member to finish in 49.02, with Esther Williams 52.21, Liz Griffin-Hind 52.23, Barry Davids 54.55, and Adan Bryant 57.51, all completing the course in under an hour. Joanna Millington and Liane Davids were close behind on 1.01.36 and 1.01.46.

Brighton Pier to Pier

This is another popular event, also held on the 26th June, with a sea swim of 1km between the two piers in Brighton. The weather was kind this year with sunny conditions and hardly any wind.

Tim Bergin achieved 10th place in the wetsuit race in 22.46, and Michelle Robinson was 25th in the Challenger race in 25.27. Former member Rose Ryan was the 41st female in the Skins race in 24.42.

Dartford Bridge Sprint Triathlon

Mik Onions won the Sprint event in 1.05.27. Meanwhile Florence Wolfe finished in 14th position (female) and 5th in her age category in 1.23.25. This was Flo’s first triathlon; she commented afterwards that  it was a good start to  the Triathlon experience and a lovely event.

Michelle Robinson swims The Channel

Approaching The French Coast

In early 1979 Michelle was born 10 weeks premature. She spent 4 weeks in an incubator in the Royal Sussex in Brighton and was then moved to Cuckfield Hospital. Her mum was only allowed to stay with her there after 7 weeks.

Thirty odd years later Michelle had the opportunity to support The Alexa Trust, a charity which raises funds for families with children in neonatal care, by swimming the Channel as part of team ‘A Splash of Orange’ on Monday 14th June.

Michelle reported that the Channel Swim started at 0158am. She swam a total of 2hrs 51 mins including landing the team on a beach near Cap Griz Nez 12hrs 51 mins later. The last 51 mins were the toughest as I was told to swim hard and fast as we were at risk of getting taken back offshore by the currents. Fortunately, steady and strong is my forte. Now I am thrilled to have done it.

So far Michelle has raised £2750 for the Alexa Trust. Further donations may be made on her Just Giving page.

Mid Sussex Triathlon 2021

Finish

The Mid Sussex Sprint Triathlon was held at The Triangle Leisure Centre on Sunday 13th June with 59 female and 111 male competitors taking part under social distancing rules. The event comprises a 400m swim in the Triangle pool, a 25km bike ride through country lanes in Wineham and Twineham, and a 5km run in Burgess Hill. About 15 other competitors also participated in either a short course triathlon or the aquabike option (swim and cycle only). This year the focus was on “participation not competition,” getting everyone back into sport and back to normality. Fortunately, the weather was fantastic with fine, sunny and dry conditions, which helped create the celebratory atmosphere.

This event is suitable for experienced triathletes and novices. The club members marshal the event, providing encouragement to all competitors as they make their way around the course. It is also popular with all age groups with more than 50 competitors in the Vets 50+ age group and about 30 competitors in the 60+ group.

Covid restrictions really changed the logistics of the event, with competitors arriving in small groups, rather than one large start. The race itself was also changed, with the “transition” sections between the swim, bike and run untimed, to allow everyone to walk between disciplines and stay socially distanced. It was very relaxing in comparison to previous years and a great way for everyone to get back into racing. The winning times were 1.01.41 in the male section and 1.12.43 in the female section, but no prizes were awarded this year as the focus was not on competition.

Race Director Jo Fleming thanked all the club members whose collective efforts made the event both possible and also so enjoyable.

Comments from first time triathlon entrants,  “I really enjoyed the event today despite the nerves and consequential lack of sleep! What a lovely team you work with – absolutely each and every person was fantastic! As it was my first Tri, I learned so much, “  and “ It was my first Triathlon and I used it as a mechanism for raising money for charity, so there was quite a lot at stake. However, my nerves were elevated by your very helpful and friendly volunteers, all happy and incredibly cheerful,” show the enjoyment which all participants felt.

Former Race Director Steve McMenamin was finally able to take part this year, having organised the event for many years. He commented,” It’s strange to swap roles from race director to competitor but it was amazing, from the cowbells that I could hear under the water to all the shouts of encouragement out on the course.”

Thanks so much to Jo and the whole of MST for yet another wonderful event.

All competitors received an attractive medal and refreshments at the finish.

Jim Graham's 100th Marathon with Walking Poles

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A broken hip and torn knee cartilage from a cycling accident in September 2019 prevented Jim Graham doing two important things the following month. He could neither run for the England Age Group Marathon Team nor compete at the 2019 Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii.

He had completed 99 marathon finishes in 10 years with 7 finishes under 3 hours and his fastest time of 2:51 at Brighton Marathon at age 52. A burst appendix 6 weeks before the 2018 Ironman World Championship impaired his performance in that particular race but top results during that season meant he was 'The Overall Ironman World Number One' in the age 55-59 category.

100th Marathon Jim Sticks

Jim has been recovering during 2020 and most marathon races were canceled due to COVID social distancing rules. Races for up to 30 runners have just been reintroduced and Jim managed an official marathon finish in Kent in a time of 6:26 on 26th July. He is delighted with the 100-Marathon Club Medal and Megamarathoner Shirt but most of all he cherishes the card made by his kids.

100 Marathon Haircut 3

100 Marathon Haircut 2

Many thanks to MSTC members Carol, James and Douglas MacTaggart plus Helen Graham for running with Jim to help him get his 100th Marathon finish. Celebrations included a much-needed haircut and shave.

Thank you to Rachel and Traviss of SVN who staged the 'Very British Challenge' Marathon at Betteshanger Country Park in Deal, Kent. A very pleasant undulating trail run of 6 laps around a 4.37 miles course mostly on gravel.

100th Marathon Group