Calm conditions result in fast race

The Alnwick Tri at  Newbiggin on Sunday, August 31.
The Alnwick Tri at Newbiggin on Sunday, August 31.

Alnwick Tri Club

In the final local triathlon of the season, 14 club members took part in Newbiggin Sprint Tri 2014 on Sunday.

For the first time, the sea was calm and there was no wind, so ideal racing conditions. This has to happen once or twice in a generation and today was it, so don’t expect it to happen again any time soon.

The sea was chilly but not face-numbingly cold and with the chop at less than an inch high, we could even see properly.

This led to some quick times on the 750m swim, especially as the times were taken after a couple of hundred metres run up the beach to transition.

The bike was a three-lap course of 23km from the Maritime Centre up to Woodhorn, along a mile of dual-carriageway up to North Seaton and then back to Newbiggin, which was brilliantly welcoming and had closed roads through the town and the streets were lined with cheering supporters.

Normally, the bike route feels like 90 per cent uphill into the wind, but with the lack of air movement, it actually felt like an undulating route with downhill sections as well as up.

The run was a two-lap 5.2km run along the promenade where you could see your competitors twice per lap so you could see your progress in trying to run down your rivals.

The Alnwick Tri trio of Ian Simon, Steve Carragher and James Bolam had a very close race, finishing in 11th, 12th and 14th positions overall, the lead between them changing a number of times.

Bolam was out of the water a few seconds in front of Carragher, leaving Simon a bit to do on the bike.

Simon was first off the bike with Bolam immediately behind. Simon and Carragher ran almost identical times, which meant Carragher ran past Bolam for them all to finish within 32 seconds of each other.

Because of this fabulous dual, Ian Simon finished first Vet 40+, Carragher second Vet 40+ and Bolam second Junior.

Neill Jobling just missed out getting in among the boys, racing 30 seconds behind them on the swim, getting almost back in contention on the bike, but he was unable to hold the run pace so came in a minute-and-a-half down.

Jock Bolam had his best-ever swim and a good bike, but his running is still not quite where he would like it after coming back from knee surgery earlier this year. Gary Hall had a good bike and great run to come in just a couple of minutes later.

It was Paul Gurteen’s first Tri and his first time swimming in the sea so just finishing was an achievement, but he clocked a very creditable time.

For the girls, Amy Thorne was the star of the day.

In her first year of adult triathlon, as a 14-year-old, she has always been a very strong swimmer, but has not been strong enough on the bike this season to beat her older clubmates, but on Sunday, she started coming into her own by improving the cycle section so that none of the other Alnwick Tri girls caught her.

She was first female out of the water, but was overtaken by three females on the bike and ran her heart out to protect her fourth place overall by just three seconds. This comfortably won her the under-20 category.

Next up was the usual battle royale between Tracey Sample and Denise Drummond. As per the usual script, Drummond got out the water a minute ahead of Sample to be caught by the middle of the bike, but Drummond’s determination when overtaken not to let Sample out of her sight paid off as she finished just 10 seconds back.

Traditionally, this has been race over for the duo and true to form, they finished with Sample in sixth position overall and secondVet, and Drummond not far behind as third Vet.

In Marie Drodzowicz’s first season in triathlon, she put in a strong bike and run to move up through the field to finish as second Vet 50+.

Next came another Alnwick Tri battle between the Rachels, Heeley and McCoy.

Heeley lead the whole way, but McCoy was making inroads on the run to finish one place back.

A much-improved Kate Lawson rounded up the finishers a few minutes further back.

Results: 1 Ian Simon, Vet 40, 1:09:36; 2 Steven Carragher, Vet 40, 1:10:00; 2 James Bolam U20s, 1:10:08; 14 Neill Jobling, Snr, 1:11:42; 15 Jock Bolam, Vet 40, 1:17:26; 1 Amy Thorne U20s, 19:39; 22 Gary Hall, Vet 40, 1:20:30; 2 Tracey Sample, Vet 40, 1:22:05; 3 Denise Drummond, Vet 40, 1:23:13; 2 Marie Drozdowicz, Vet 50, 1:24:53; 43 Paul Gurteen, Vet 40, 1:28:06; 17 Rachel Heeley, Snr, 1:34:36; 18 Rachel Mccoy, Snr, 1:35:05; 4 Kate Lawson, U20s, 1:47:42.