THE BRETT Ashford Triathlons and Aquabikes produced some scorching results in the sweltering conditions at the Julie Rose Stadium last weekend, with strong performances from local clubs, and one man travelling all the way from Carlisle to take part.
With four events on offer there was a more than 50 per cent increase in competitor numbers compared to 2011, and the event is only its second year. Around half of the competitors were from Kent, the majority of these in Ashford and the surrounding area, with a large contingency from Ashford Tri Club and Larkfield Athletics Club which were both using the standard triathlon as their club championships for this year.
The events consisted of a standard distance triathlon - a 1500m swim in Conningbrook Lake, followed by a 40K bike ride through Hinxhill and Wye, and a 10K run around the lakes before a stadium finish - and a sprint distance triathlon which covered half of all of these distances, so 750m swim, 20K bike and a 5K run.
The aquabikes - both sprint and standard distances - were very popular this year, as competitor numbers more than tripled compared to last year with many people making their first foray into multisport at these events on the weekend. These consisted of the 1500m swim and 40K bike and 750m swim and 20K bike with no run at the end, which is ideal for those who are unable to run or simply do not like running.
The standard triathlon was won by Peter Hogben of Deal Tri in a cracking time of 2.09.22, with his club teammate David Fowler of Deal Tri in second place in 2.10.00, while third place honours went to Bob Pearce of the Army Tri Association in 2.10.58.
First lady home in the standard triathlon was Nicola Groom of Larkfield Athletics Club in 2.26.49, followed by Sally Smoker of Redhill Cycling Club in 2.36.42, who was just ahead of third placed Deborah Munton of 7Oaks Tri in 2.36.51.
The men's sprint honours went to Paul Holdaway of Bodyworks XTC in 1.01.00, with East Grinstead Tri Club's Simon Powell coming second in 1.08.51. John Potter of Tri Force was third in 1.10.19.
Bringing home the ladies for the sprint was Sarah King of Team Lifestyle which is based in Bexhill, in 1.12.49, followed closely by Christine Bertram from Stirling Tri Club in 1.14.27, with Jackie Wastell of Deal Tri coming third in 1.17.13.
Wendy Bradley cooling down after the Sprint Triathlon
The standard aquabikes were also hotly contested on the day, with the men's standard distance being won by Steve Wand of Tri Talk in 1.32.24, with Vanessa Townshend from Tri Preston taking the ladies' honours in 1.49.47, making her long-distance trip well worthwhile.
The men's sprint aquabike winner Oliver Thorne of Border City Wheelers had travelled over 300 miles to compete in his first multisport event, and was
thrilled to take the top spot in 50.28. The first lady home in the sprint aquabike was Rachel Flemming of Redhill Cycling Club, capping a good day off for them, in 56.52.
Local teams took the honours in both the standard and the sprint distance triathlons. First home for the standard and beating the next nearest team by more than half an hour was Team Crosskeys, with its three man team completing the event in 2.12.29. In the sprint distance, the Ashford Leisure Trust team took top spot in 1.20.40.
Local club Tri Spirit Team had a number of members taking part, with Mark Carty taking the top spot for the team in the standard tri, in 2.31.19, with teammate Julie Bradford finishing in 2.46.01.
In the sprint, Trevor Meadway led the team home, in 1.21.39, with Alison Draper leading the Tri Spirit women home in 1.27.36, followed by Sarah Leeson in 1.34.05, Sophie Steel in 1.34.12, and Lisa Nightingale in 1.49.09.
David Harris led home Ashford Tri Club's men in the standard in 2.21.50, followed closely by Lee Gladwell in 2.23.01. Helena Dee brought home the Ashford Tri ladies in the club championship, finishing in 2.53.03, followed by Danielle Petersmann in 2.58.44.
The events were supported by many local companies including Brett Group, Crosskeys Coaches in Folkestone, accountants Magee Gammon in Ashford, and Tenterden’s RM Cycles, with owner Roger Marsh providing bike support on the day, and kindly donating some of the team prizes. Everest Inn in Ashford also kindly provided two £50 vouchers for a meal at one of its restaurants as prizes for the sprint triathlon winners, and Aftershokz provided two sets of Bone Conduction headphones as prizes for the standard triathlon winners.
Liz King, event director for Tri Spirit Events which organised the triathlons, said: "We have had some wonderful feedback about how much people enjoyed the day, and we are thrilled to have had so many local people turn out to participate and watch, and also to see people travelling from as much as 300 miles away to come to Ashford.
"It was very tough for the competitors in the heat on Sunday, and we added additional water stations to cater for this. The Ashford Sea Cadets were invaluable in their help on the drinks stations on the day, and I would like to thank them wholeheartedly for all their hard work. We were also supported with safety craft for the swim by the Pirates Canoe Club, and again we would like to thank them for their help with the event, and of course the many other marshals out on the course, with a large contingent from Tri Spirit Team. It would not be possible to undertake such a venture without people being kind enough to give up their time to help and marshal, and I really cannot express how much we appreciate it."
The next event being organised by Tri Spirit Events is the Chilham Castle Duathlons on October 21. For more information, go to www.trispiritevents.com
All photographs courtesy of Jackie Skelton, Sweet Creatives