SIXTEEN Stratford Triathlon Club members competed in four teams at the National Triathlon Relay Championships on Saturday, writes Victoria Jeffs.
Each member of the team individually swam 500 metres, before tagging their team-mate and so on, until all four people had completed the swim. Moving on to the 15km bike, each athlete individually completed the three-loop bike course until the last team member then tagged the first team member to start the 5km run section.
Set at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham, this is a much-loved race, in part due to the utter chaos and speed of the event. With almost 200 teams taking part in the morning event, it was fast and furious right from the off as the Stratford contingent battled not just for places in the overall standings, but also for the kudos of beating their team-mates.
As is traditional at this event, a quirky team name is the order of the day and Sarah Odell was, for the third year in a row, responsible for managing the teams and coming up with the names, not to mention marshalling the club’s team of 16 athletes into the right place at the right time, whilst trying to take part in the event herself. This is no mean feat!
Whilst STC members are incredibly supportive of each other, it was inevitable some friendly rivalries would surface, but it was no surprise on the day for Stratford’s top team to be Matt’s Mashers as superb performances from all four of the team saw them finish in a time of 3:39:59, despite the fact they had a guest appearance on the run from a speedy Hannah Bexson who took her mother’s place as Emma herself is currently unable to run.
The real battle was for second and third places. Two further teams had one runner each unable to complete the run due to injuries and therefore another team-mate on both Vic’s Merry Men and Dan’s Divas had to run two of the run legs, so a big thank you to Wayne Vickers and Dan Lynch for stepping up to run twice.
This created an exciting battle to the end and Phil Howell chased down a sprightly Alan Coley-Smith. However, with a last burst to the end and proving what a genius he is at the sprint distance, Coley-Smith of Vic’s Merry Men finished just 16 seconds ahead of a very strong Howell who had done a superb job to narrow the gap that far.
Fourth team home for the club was Brian’s Bashers in a time of 4:03:24 in what was a great effort despite some team injuries.
It would be impossible to do justice to everyone’s individual performances on the day when a relay truly is about a team performance but, when you get to have a fun day out with friends doing what they all love to do, it really does make the sport a fun place to be.
Results: (sprint team relays – 500m swim, 15km bike, 5km run):
Matt’s Mashers – total time 3:39:59 (Emma Bexson – swim 8:24, bike 27:08, run 22:23; Matt Lyness – swim 7:55, bike 23:21, run 23:38; James Fidoe – swim 11:21, bike 22:08, run 24:39; Rob Ford – swim 7:50, bike 22:03, run 19:02).
Vic’s Merry Men – total time 3:45:17 (Victoria Jeffs – swim 11:25, bike 31:52, run 17:58; Rachel Pearce – swim 9:53, bike 26:12, run 21:10; Wayne Vickers – swim 9:05, bike 22:51, run 18:56; Alan Coley-Smith – swim 8:53, bike 24:01, run 22:58).
Dan’s Divas – total time 3:45:33 (Dan Lynch – swim 9:47, bike 24:17, run 17:30; Carl James – swim 9:28, bike 24:51, run 22:44; Sarah Odell – swim 11:49, bike 27:48, run 19:44; Phil Howell – swim 11:29, bike 25:39, run 20:21).
Brian’s Bashers – total time 4:03:24 (Brian Weetman – swim 8:53, bike 27:58, run 24:01; Sam Nicholson – swim 9:18, bike 25:07, run 20:48; Hannah Spriggs – swim 10:03, bike 26:43, run 21:28; Emil Gudfinnsson – swim 9:45, bike 28:24, run 30:49).