Athletes rise to the challenge

Alnwick Tri Club – Castles Challenge (Bamburgh)

After several impressive performances in the Northumberland Triathlon at Druridge Bay, Alnwick triathletes were out again in force at the Castles Challenge Triathlon in Bamburgh, on July 27.

Although the middle-distance event scheduled for the 28th fell prey to an unseasonal deluge, the sun held out for the sprint event at 5pm.

The course is undeniably scenic – swimming in the sea in the shadow of Bamburgh Castle, views across Budle Bay from the bike route and then back to run along the beach before completing a lap of the crowd-filled cricket ground to finish.

After a slightly delayed start, the swim kicked off in calm sea.

Shallow waters enabled triathletes to run by the first buoy and the short distance to the second buoy meant they were swimming on top of one another before spreading out.

Emerging from the water, those racing were greeted with a challenging run up the dunes before entering transition beside the cricket ground.

The undulating out-and-back bike route on quiet roads allowed competitors to take in stunning views across the Northumberland countryside, skirting Budle Bay, before the steep descent into Bamburgh for transition to the run.

This presented its own challenge, as, while billed as a 5k on ‘hard sand’, the tide evidently had other ideas and triathletes searched desperately for firm footholds as they made their way along the decidedly soft sand, navigating sandcastles en route.

After this, climbing the dunes on the return felt more like battling Everest before the relief of finding firm ground underfoot and, egged on by the cheers of the crowd, finishing after a lap of the cricket ground.

The first Alnwick male home was Neill Jobling (senior), finishing an impressive 19th overall, and he was followed by the only other male Alnwick competitor Dom Plumley (vet), who finished 32nd in his category.

Leading the Alnwick women home was Vee Pollock (senior), who finished sixth in category, following up her fourth in the Northumberland Standard Tri.

Next home with strong performances were Lisa Athey and Melissa Hepburn, eighth and 10th in their category respectively.

Denise Drummond compounded her impressive vet victory in the Northumberland Standard Tri with a third category place here. Lisa Williams, Mary Plumley, Ruth Doctor, Jane Hardy and Clare Hiscocks completed the team turn-out from Alnwick.

A special mention goes to Rachel McCoy, Angie Embleton and Sam Embleton who competed in the relay event.

Druridge Bay (July 7) results – Sprint distance: 13, Steven Carragher, (v) 01:11:35; 42 Will Sander, (snr) 01:21:13; 72 Samantha Jane Embleton, (snr) 01:26:10; 95 Sue Bolam, (v) 01:29:10; 106 Jacqueline Prouse, (v) 01:30:20; 128 Benita Pickersgill, (sv) 01:35:42; 134 Rachel McCoy, (snr) 01:36:42; 164 Rene Rutter, (snr) 01:58:28.

Standard distance: 6 Richard Agan, (snr) 02:17:51; 12 Les Cavill, (sv) 02:24:04; 27 Jordan Slater, (snr) 02:32:18; 36 Patrick Matheson, (snr) 02:36:11; 38 Venda Louise Pollock, (snr) 02:37:49; 47 Denise Drummond, (v) 02:41:36; 48 Lisa Athey, (snr) 02:44:02; 52 Lisa Williams, (v) 02:46:25; 67 Mark Davis, (v) 02:56:57.

Castles Challenge, Bamburgh (July 27) results: 19 Neill Jobling, (snr) 01:15:59; 65 Venda Louise Pollock, (snr) 01:24:14; 84 Lisa Athey, (snr) 01:26:29; 100 Melissa Hepburn, (snr) 01:28:12; 110 Denise Drummond, (v) 01:29:13; 120 Dominic Plumley, (v) 01:30:16; 138 Lisa Williams, (v) 01:32:36; 167 Mary Plumley, (v) 01:36:19; 176 Ruth Doctor, (v) 01:37:21; 212 Jane Hardy, (v) 01:42:41; 271 Clare Hiscock, (snr) 02:00:19.