This year's revived Horsted Keynes Triathlon brought out a great mixture of semi-pro athletes and first timers. It is these - slightly eccentric - events that are the breeding ground for our sport......and so it was proved to be at this year's event on Sunday 6th October.
Beautiful crisp weather greeted the start of the event where Paul Hedger took the teams and individuals through the race briefing. As I looked around I could see the cream of MSTC's finest.....Messrs Wintergold, Hoodless, Alden and others......as well as many (quite obvious) newbies. But I could also see many children including Ben Hoodless, Rob's 13 year old son, complete in his yellow and black tri-suit. My own daughter Harriet, 12, was less well kitted out but you could see in both of them an athletic posture and determination. Both of them had entered the Horsted Individual Shortie, a 200m swim, 5k bike and 2.5k run. Call it a taster but there was definitely nothing stopping the two of them giving 100%.
They both blasted off on the swim and you could tell both of them have been well taught (and practiced) in the pool. Ben went out strongly on the bike on roads he knows well, and chaperoned by Rachel Baker (no question of drafting of course). Then a quick transition on the village green into the two lap run with strong legs under blue skies. I was escorting Harriet on the bike and on the run.
This was what the fun part of our sport is about......competitors of every age going as hard as they can, families gathered, laughter and cheers everywhere, mucking in with marshalling, having a pint afterwards. You don't expect your kids to like everything that you like.....but it feels good to see them getting stuck in and having some success. Both them gave it their all and came in strongly in each of the 3 disciplines.
Ben is definitely one to watch in the future. He won the Men's Shorties event and took the Village Cup. Harriet was 2nd overall although the organisers awarded her the winner before taking it away 20 mins later! C'est la vie. More importantly both of them had a great time and I'm sure will be at other events next year. I suppose a trip to Evans might be in order for Harriet's Christmas present.
Ben Hoodless: 3.43 swim, 15.50 bike, 14.56 run
Harriet Record: 3.44 swim, 23.33 bike, 15.13 run