Sunday saw the 11th running of the Alnwick Triathlon.
The event is one of the most popular in the country as it sold out within six hours of opening at Christmas 2013.
Set-up for the race was done in the torrential rain on Saturday so it was a big relief that Sunday morning was dry if distinctly cold for the competitors who get straight on their bikes while still dripping wet from their swim.
A total of 152 competitors started the race, which consisted of a 500m pool swim at Willowburn Sports Centre, a 23km circular bike route from Alnwick to Lesbury, Boulmer, Longhoughton and Denwick before returning to Willowburn and finally a 5km off-road run up the farm track behind the Rugby Club.
The ride was cold and windy, but the rain held off until all the cyclists had returned. The roads were just about dry so there were no crashes.
The run was over the fields and up the farm track, which is always wet, even in mid-summer so, with the amount of rain in the preceding 48hours, conditions were boggy underfoot and a number of athletes lost shoes in the sticky mud of the track.
The swim is done individually with a competitor starting every 20 seconds over the 500m distance.
The race started with the 11 fastest female swimmers followed by the fastest men and then the other competitors seeded according to swim time from fastest to slowest.
This made a good race for the women. Rosie Lindsay from Durham Tri Club took a commanding lead of over a minute with five women within 15 seconds of each other, including Tracey Sample from Alnwick Tri Club.
At the end of the bike ride, Tyne Tri’s Sophie Whickham had taken a 21-second lead over Tweed Tri’s Joyce Mark, with Coalfields’ Jenn Batey half-a-minute further back.
Lindsay had faded to fifth, with Sample in seventh and Alnwick Tri team-mate Marie Drozdowicz in ninth.
The run sapped the legs and the top three places did not change, but a fast-finishing Christine Burn from Tyne Tri ran into fourth place.
Sample and Drozdowicz finishing eighth and ninth respectively.
In the men’s race, Callum Johnson lead from start to finish. He came out of the water 25 seconds ahead of Tweed Tri’s Andrew Hubbard and six seconds further back was Tri Camp TRN race team’s Michael Lavender.
Alnwick Tri’s James Bolam was in seventh place just over a minute behind the leader.
On the bike, Hubbard faded and the strong cyclist came through with Lavender taking over second place and Matthew Davison and Redvenom’s (and previous multiple Alnwick Tri champion) Alan Copland occupying the next two places. James Bolam held on to seventh place by the end of the bike.
The run again saw no changes in the top three men with Alnwick Tri’s Bolam finishing in 12th.
Twenty-five Alnwick Tri Club members took part in the race with a second place in the Super Vet (50-59 years) category for Marie Drozdowicz and a third in the Vet (40-49 years) category for Tracey Sample.
Special mention goes to Shona Alexander who has returned to racing after two years off having had breast cancer. She had been due to compete in the 2012 Alnwick Tri race, but was diagnosed two weeks before the race and had surgery just two days before the event. Her recovery has been a long process, but she is fighting fit now and an inspiration to us all.
For more information about Triathlon, visit www.alnwicktriathlon.co.uk
Top male results: 1, 00:59:18, Calum Johnson Snr; 2, 01:01:25, Michael Lavender Snr; 3, 01:02:07, Matthew Davison Jnr; 4, 01:03:27, Andy Niven Snr, 5, 01:03:28, Alan Copland, Vet; 6, 01:04:22, Fergus Robinson Jnr; 7, 01:05:00, Michael Hindmarch Snr; 8, 01:05:14 Graham Crammond Snr; 9, 01:05:28, Alistair Maxwell Jnr; 10, 01:05:34, Mike Little Vet.
Top female results: 1, 01:09:47, Sophie Wickham Snr; 2, 01:11:43, Joyce Mark Super Vet; 3, 01:12:25, Jennifer Batey Snr; 4, 01:13:19, Christine Burns Snr; 5, 01:13:20, Rosie Lindsay Jnr; 6, 01:13:30, Jo Shallcross Vet; 7, 01:16:14, Arabella Pearce Vet; 8, 01:16:43, Tracey Sample Vet; 9, 01:17:34, Marie Drozdowicz Super Vet; 10, 01:18:17, Michelle Muller Vet.
Full Alnwick Tri results: 4, 01:07:25, James Bolam Jnr, M; 5, 01:08:11, Geoff Whitman Vet, M; 10, 01:11:17, John Horsley Snr, M; 10, 01:14:52, Colin Davies, Vet, M; 12, 01:16:13, Mark Oldfield Vet, M; 3, 01:16:43, Tracey Sample Vet, F; 6, 01:16:55, Graeme Leathead Super Vet, M; 2, 01:17:34, Marie Drozdowicz Super Vet, F; 14, 01:17:56 Dominic Plumley Vet, M; 19, 01:19:26, Adam Spiller Vet, M; 24, 01:21:57, Andrew Ternent Vet, M; 29, 01:23:35, Rod Smith Vet, M; 10, 01:25:05, Charlotte Dodds Vet, F; 34, 01:25:24, Steven Temple Vet, M; 11, 01:27:07, Mary Plumley Vet, F; 24, 01:27:25, Ruary Slater, Snr, M; 25, 01:27:29, Alex Boe Snr, M; 38, 01:29:16, Stuart Morris Vet, M; 42, 01:31:56, Robbie Sutherland Vet, M; 13, 01:35:03, Rachel Heeley Snr, F; 21, 01:40:18, Emma Givens Vet, F; 5, 01:44:04, Kate Lawson Jnr, F; 9, 01:48:19, Eileen Guthrie Super Vet, F; 28, 01:49:58, Brett Slater Snr, M; 13, 02:04:31, Shona Alexander Super Vet, F.