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Wed 29th Jun 2022
Royal Berkshire Festival of Sport
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Wednesday 28th August 2013

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One week on from his first Olympic distance event (where he finished second), Karl Alexander finishes first in his second attempt...

Or in simple terms... Karl's report from the F3 Events Royal Berkshire Festival of Sport!

Winner winner, chicken dinner!

Last week, I raced my first Olympic distance triathlon. In my race report I advertised the events at the Royal Berkshire Festival of Sport to be held at Dorney Lake which included another Olympic format race. I started to wonder why I hadn't entered since I made the effort to promote the event, so, I did…

This would be a first for me; with a young family (and a small car) my support is usually my wife, this time she would be accompanied by our two daughters.

If you ever wished you'd stayed in bed, this was one of those days. Waking the family at 05:30 made me about as popular as Justin Bieber supporting Metallica. The problem with a busy house means sometimes things are forgotten, the immediate vicinity of impressionable ears mean that said forgetfulness results is a muffled squeak as opposed to a loud expletive scything through the air. So after eight miles we turned back to retrieve my wallet, Garmin and… running shoes!!

Karl Alexander - F3 Events Royal Berkshire FestivalArriving at the venue, I unloaded my kit from the car and heroically chose to ride the 500 meters from the car to registration leaving my wife and children to walk. By the time they arrived I had been issued with my race numbers. Racking my bike I noticed a familiar face, Mark Yeoman, and we chatted and caught up on our respective seasons. With Mark heading to Hyde Park for the Worlds I knew that winning was going to be a challenge, a challenge that was made even harder when I spotted national age-group champion Toby Garbett and with no hills, other than a couple of bridges, I hoped that the wind would pick up and we would have a long headwind section and I could still play to my bike strength.

As 8am drew closer the Olympic distance athletes were ushered down to the water, Mark and I traded looks when we both spotted an athlete in a skin suit; with a low air temperature combined with wind and rain it was a brave man that made that decision. The race brief was delivered and we were given clear instruction that the swim was two loops, the bike eight and the run was two. Fairly simple I thought as I'm confident in my ability to count to eight.

As the claxon sounded I found Mark's feet. Having raced him before at some Aquathlons I knew him to be an excellent swimmer, and this proved to still be true as by the first turn buoy he was at the second! I could see the two lead swimmers and knew immediately who they were, Mark and Toby.

I exited the water after 23 minutes, around two minutes down on the leaders and knew that to bring that back I would have to catch the next train leaving ‘pain station'. I was getting good updates from my wife and I was bringing them back at a rate of 20 seconds a lap which would mean I would catch them around lap six. From there my game plan would be simple - ride harder!

Karl Alexander - F3 Events Royal Berkshire Festival

On the fifth lap I had to double take as I went passed a Mark stood by the side of the road, he had punctured and was out of the race. It took me a moment to process but I decided that my strategy would not change, I put my head down and rode as hard as I could completing the 25.5 mile course in 1:01:09 and just over 25mph meaning I secured the fastest bike split of the day. More concerning to me was the distinct lack of Toby, and heading out on to the run course there were athletes ahead that were leading the sprint and super sprint events. I ran as hard as I could, at about half way down the lake I saw him, coming towards me!

My mind went into overdrive, that would put me over a mile behind, I didn't remember stopping on the bike for a pasty?!? How could this be? As we drew closer I shouted the only thing I could think of… ‘How many laps did you do?' (There may have been an additional adverb in there), and as he responded I felt a wave rush over me ‘I'm out mate, two punctures' he had decided to head out on the run course for a few extra training miles.

At the end of the first lap, I asked a marshal what my position was and was told I was I second. I was now seriously confused. Who was ahead? I had no option, I upped my pace and worked as hard as I could, I completed the 10k run course in 35:13 to the win. The marshal was a sadist!

Karl Alexander - F3 Events Royal Berkshire Festival

Whilst I'm massively pleased to take my first win over this distance, the competitor in me wanted Toby and Mark to have not had any bad luck and anyone that follows either Mark or myself on Twitter will have seen the banter afterwards.

Karl Alexander - F3 Events Royal Berkshire FestivalIn the end my winning margin was 9:36 from Barry Oelofson with Rob Smyth completing the podium. With the event sponsored by Erdinger Alkoholfrei I took home a seriously cool three litre Beer Stein. I do the same at the end of every report, but again a big thanks to Martyn at F3 Events and his team of marshals (even the sadist), who stood for hours in the wind and rain to make this event possible.

I find myself at something of a crossroads. In 2011 I qualified for Kona but due to my youngest daughter being born with MCADD I decided not to go, and now I've had success at Duathlon, Olympic and Middle distances with a second place at the British Nationals this year, a part of me wants to take this to the next step and see what I can do if I had more time to train.

And to quote Clarkson ‘on that bombshell, it's time to end'.

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Have Your Say
Re: Royal Berkshire Festival of Sport
Posted by nicksinclair
Posted at 08:48:53 29th Aug 2013
Reply to this

A badly organised event with about 6 races going on at the same time. No splits at all from the sprints or relays and they don't seem to care. Complete waste of money! Do not use F3 Events!