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National League Update #3 2013
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Wednesday 16th October 2013


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Kevin Robinson reports in with his third update of the 2013 season from the UK National Triathlon League.

If you have any queries or corrections on the scoring etc, please direct them to: kevinrobinson@cambridge2.freeserve.co.uk.


A few weeks ago in my second update for the 2013 UK League (its 20th successive year of competition), I pointed out that there were two events remaining on the League List, and that if a League club finished a team at either of these events it might affect the positions already established in the League table. Well, as it turned out, one of the two events was cancelled because of the weather, and no leaguers attended the other event. So, with a couple of corrections to the scores of two clubs given in the second update, the positions remain as given, and Army Tri are our new and worthy League Champions, a position they have taken for the first time.

The above remarks are essentially a preamble, however, to the major part of this, the third update for 2013, which is concerned with individual performances in the 2013 League. As in league competitions in many other sport domains, a club's position in a league table is established by three principal factors. The factor which makes the greatest contribution to success is nearly always, in my view, the part played by a club's most active and most able team members. The second most important factor is the support for the highest-scoring team members provided by other team members. In our sport, they do this by achieving scores which also contribute to the team score. In more prosperous times, a team score is achieved by the the three members who score the most points for their club, but recently I reduced the requirement to just the two members who achieved the highest scores for their team. One prominent leaguer expressed doubts about this change, but I consider that the change has proved well judged as, for example, only twenty-six leaguers completed two or more League-listed events in 2013. This development is, I think, related to our recent, and perhaps still current, economic situation, and leads in turn to what is the third most important factor in a team's success. This is simply that when others compete less often, those who do compete will benefit more. As the rather trite saying has it: 'You've got to be in it to win it!'

So who were the major players in the 2013 League? Well, our new League Champion is Black Country Tri's Lee Moreton, who placed 2nd in 2012 to Chris Nicoll, of Derby Tri. Lee achieved an outstanding result at the Challenge Roth, scoring 209.970 points which, coupled with his score at Alanya, earned him a total of 381.509 points. There were other high scores achieved by BCT members at various events; for example, Chris Woods 182.616 points at Roth, but other BCT scores did not always achieve team score status, and so BCT did not win the League Championship in 2013. In contrast, our new League Champions, Army Tri, achieved better team scores at events at which they made more concentrated assaults, with their main contributors being Phil Westoby, Alex Dewar, Jane Osborne, Graham Markham, and Ben Houghton-Clarke. Other Army Tri members achieved good single event results, and in some cases, for example Glyn Painter's score at the Vitruvian, were able to be paired in an excellent team score. So strong was the Army Tri presence at the Vitruvian that it has led me to wonder if the event was used as the Army Tri Championship for 2013.

Derby Tri, which has produced, like BCT, so many excellent results over many years, also finished one place lower in the League Table than it did in 2012. As I pointed out in my second Update, this was caused partly by registration problems which resulted in my having to dock a number of points from the Club's tally, and partly by Chris Nicholl, our Individual Champion in 2012, having a relatively quiet year, although he did finish Ironman Wales and one other event. Also, James Cresswell, another Derby Tri leading member and former League Champion, chose to do the event at Alpe d'Huez. This no doubt provided a truly memorable experience, but at an event where it is very hard to achieve a high score. There were three other registered Derby Tri leaguers at the Alpe d'Huez event, Mark Skelton, Steve Emerton, and Bill Speake, and all three, in addition to James Cresswell, registered lower scores than I would have expected from them at an event of equivalent distance in the UK. Clearly the Alpe d'Huez Triathlon is one that one should approach with conservative expectations. James Cresswell was the third-highest scorer in the League this year, but was beaten by Phil Westoby (Army Tri), in an excellent second place, and Danny Russell (Tri London), who was practically on James' heels in 4th place. All twenty-six leaguers who finished two or more events in the Any 2 Mix Competition are listed below. One, Olivia Hetreed (Tri London), who won her age-group, finished in no less than seven events, and I wonder, with considerable respect, how she found the time to do any training!

Before I move onto the age-groups, however, I shall review our other two competitions, namely the Endurance Competition and the Duathlon Competition. Some leaguers will certainly notice that there are slight but significant differences between the results of the Overall (any 2 mix) Competition reviewed above, and those of the Endurance Competition. Lee Moreton won the Any 2 Mix competition by doing one 190 point tariff event (Roth) and one shorter event (Alanya). Danny Russell also chose to mix one long and one short event. However, the separate Endurance Competition was won by Phil Westoby (Army Tri) with his performances at the Vitruvian and the Beaver, which also earned him second place in the Overall Any 2 Mix competition. But James Cresswell, who placed second in the Endurance Competition, was third in the Any 2 Mix Competition. These results suggest I think that it is quite difficult to choose whether to mix a long and a short event, as Lee Moreton and Danny Russell did, or to go for two of the higher scoring events. Of course, if a leaguer wants to win the Endurance Competition, he or she has no choice but to do two of the longer events. There's nothing like stating the obvious, is there, when one is in search of total clarity without fear of contradiction!

But as I've shown with regard to the Army Tri results at the Vitruvian, it's not only among the first few in these two competitions who demonstrate a degree of excellence. Looking further down the two lists it is easy to see that this is so. Take, for example, Ful-on-Tri's highest scorer in the League this year, Jane Osborne. Jane finished 7th overall and 1st Lady in the Any 2 Mix Competition. and 6th and 1st Lady in the Endurance Competition. Furthermore, I think that for a lady to finish only six points behind a competitor with the class and experience of Mark Skelton (Derby Tri) in an Endurance Competition is quite an achievement. Yes, I know we read in the triathlon magazines about British women who produce amazing ironman results, but those who get the most plaudits are usually of or near the professional class. It's always good, I think, to recognize ability that clearly may be on the rise. Again, persistent ability across the years is worthy of recognition. Only one place behind Jane Osborne in both the Any 2 Mix and the Endurance Competition is Graham Markham, of Army Tri, who was 'giving' Jane twenty years from the 50-54 age-group. Graham did well in a supporting role to Army Tri's front runners, Phil Westoby and Alex Dewar, at both the Beaver and the Vitruvian. If the League had required three for team scores this year his contribution would have been essential. From the same age-group as Graham Markham, is Olivia Hetreed who, as I've mentioned, completed seven League events this year. Olivia may have placed near the bottom of the Any 2 Mix and at the bottom of the Endurance ladder, but she did amass 296.316 points in both tables, and that's really not bad for a lady in that age-group, and finally, age is Hilary Johnson, age uncertain, of Tri London, who put together 243.752 points. If I'm fit next year, and Hilary is competing, I'll be out to beat her, even though I'll be giving her about twenty years. You have been warned, Hilary! But here, in somewhat compressed form, are the results for the two main competitions and for the Duathlon Competition.

Any 2 Mix Competition (Overall League Championship)

1. Lee Moreton, BCT, 381.509, League Champion.
2. Phil Westoby, Army Tri, 361.675.
3. James Cresswell, Derby Tri, 355.253.
4. Danny Russell, Tri London, 354I.03
5. Ian Moore, BCT, 351.617.
6. Alex Dewar, Army Tri, 348.762.
7. Chris Wood, BCT, 341.
8. Mark Skelton, Derby Tri, 339.381.
9. Jane Osborne, FOT, 333.345 (1st Lady).
10. Graham Markham, Army Tri, 319.292.
11. Chris Nicholl, Derby Tri, 316.359.
12. Ben Houghton-Clarke, Army Tri, 316.178.
13. Amy Forshaw, Tri London, 314.044. (2nd Lady).
14. Adam Wright, FOT, 312.618.
15. Rob Kennard, BCT, 311.198.
16. Connor Richardson, FOT, 310.475.
17. Paul Rogers, BCT, 309.871.
18. Roz McGinty, Tri London, 309.216. (3rd Lady).
19. Neil Millward, BCT, 300.336.
20. Naomi Warr, Derby Tri, 300.109.
21. Bill Speake, Derby Tri, 299.870.
22. Chris Pedley, Derby Tri, 296.462.
23. Olivia Hetreed, Tri London, 296.316.
24. Amy Pritchard, Tri London, 278.028.
25. Mike Anslow, BCT, 271.418.
26. Hilary Johnson, Tri London, 243.752.

Endurance Competition

1. Phil Westoby, Army Tri, 361.675.
2. James Cresswell, Derby Tri, 355.253.
3. Ian Moore, BCT, 351.617.
4. Alex Dewar, Army Tri, 348.762.
5. Mark Skelton, Derby Tri, 339.381.
6. Jane Osborne, FOT, 333.345. (1st Lady).
7. Graham Markham, Army Tri, 319.292.
8. Adam Wright, FOT, 312.618.
9. Roz McGinty, Tri London, 309.216. (2nd Lady).
10. Bill Speake, Derby Tri, 299.870.
11. Olivia Hetreed, Tri London, 296.316. (3rd Lady).

Now, to the Duathlon Competition. As leaguers may remember, the requirement used to be three duathlons and one triathlon, so that weaker swimmers might be encouraged to develop their ability in the water. Recently, however, I reduced that requirement, to relieve weaker swimmers who were otherwise 'barred' from UK League duathlons. Well, duathlon seems to be surviving, but it's not a great focus of attention in the League. Only three leaguers met the requirements of the competition this year, and they finished in this order:

Duathlon Competition

1. Conor Richardson, FOT, with 310.475 points.
2. Paul Rogers, BCT, 309.871 points.
3. Naomi Warr, Derby Tri, 300.109 points.

So, a very narrow victory for Conor over our former duathlon champion. But I wouldn't say, on the basis of this year's entry, that a duathlon competition, as at present structured, has no future in the League. In the first place, we had a cold and miserable Spring. Several leaguers managed one early duathlon, but then decided, I think, to wait for warmer weather, and when it came, at last, they were into the triathlon season. However, as we've seen, Powerman duathlon has returned to the UK, and I have hopes that this might yet generate more interest among leaguers. We'll see what happens in 2014.

No Olympic/Standard-distance competition

Where our former competitions at Olympic/Standard distance are concerned, I think there have been two factors at work. One, most leaguers seem to be more interested in the middle-distance events; two, budgeting may be an issue; although entry fees for longer events are higher, and more physical, mental effort and training time are required, some, particularly those with supporting families, may think that expenditure on travel and accommodation, might be better spent on an event with a higher tariff that might also provide a stepping stone to something at or nearer ironman level. Anyway, the fact is that across all those competing in the League this year, only eleven entered and finished in Olympic/Standard distance events. What's more, not a single leaguer completed two events at this distance, not even Olivia Hetreed! There wasn't a trophy on offer, which could have been a third factor, but I won't even publish a list, because on the basis of single scores, and given that conditions can vary so much from one event to another, distinctions between one competitor and another don't tell us a great deal.

So I'll keep to the three competitions, Any 2 Mix, Endurance, and Duathlon, running in 2014, and then, in 2015, I plan to have a sabbatical year during which I hope to take part in a few more events myself. I've already had an offer, from one within one of our League clubs, to run the League for us in 2015, before I resume, in 2016, for perhaps three or four more years. Twenty-five years is the target I have in mind, after which, if it is achieved, it will be there for an interested person or persons to pick up the torch. Long may it continue is what I say. The League makes an important contribution to club and athletic life in the world of triathlon in the UK.

Meanwhile, if any leaguers can see that I have missed one of their scores or made an error of some kind, now is the time to contact me about it. The next, and fourth and final update for 2013 will set out the concluding scores in table form, and there will be some indication of plans for 2014. Furthermore, these may include selected preferences for their major event for League clubs. With forward planning, clubs may be able to decide what their major target will be for 2014, and I shall then be happy to consider them for inclusion in the League List. Such events must be reasonably accessible to other League clubs, but an event on the other side of the world is most unlikely to be included. Trophies for 2013 will be sent out, as usual, in time for Christmas.


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