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BananaMan Triathlon race report
Posted by: Press Releases
Posted on: Friday 17th July 2009


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Almost 1000 athletes took on the challenge of the BananaMan triathlon at Dorney Lake, Eton on Sunday 12th July, which was in aid of Leukemia Research. With Team Time Trial, Relay and Individual events on offer there was something for everyone, from complete beginners to Olympic champions and seasoned triathletes. 10k swimming champ Maarten Van Der Weijden and gold medallist canoeist Tim Brabants were both racing as part of the relay events and with world record holder and marathon runner, Richard Whitehead taking the ‘run’ leg of the team, the sporting celebrities were really out in force. And if that wasn’t enough, top British skiiers Graham Bell, Ed Drake, Jayme Baggio and Marc Telling were using triathlon racing for some out of season training.

Bananaman 09

Team Time Trial

The team time trial profiled many of the South East’s top clubs and triathletes in some super-fast racing. The traffic free bike course, lends itself perfectly to legal drafting and the 44 teams were able to take advantage of the smooth fast route. Athletes were permitted to draft in their teams of three and had to cross the line together, so some great team tactics came into play. It was Thames Turbo B team however, who took the overall win in a stunningly fast time of 1:26.52, with Berkshire Tri Squad 1 some way back in 1:32.44 and Worcester Tri C in 1:35.06.

Team Relay

The BananaMan Relay event then saw some sporting superstars take centre stage, with Olympic canoeist Tim Brabants and 10k gold medalist swimmer Maarten Van Der Weijden both taking the 800m swim leg for their teams. Leukemia Research ambassador Alistair Campbell took the bike leg from Brabants with top fundraiser Tom Day finishing off the 7.5km run. Van Der Weijden handed over to top cyclist and age grouper Colette O'Neill from Tri247.com, with double leg amputee and marathon runner Richard Whitehead taking the run section.

Tragedy struck for Whitehead however, with only one lap of the run section and to go, and having taken the overall lead, his carbon foot splintered and snapped leaving him unable to run. A replacement foot was soon sought from his car and he carried on to a round of applause from spectators, but now having lost considerable time. Finishing the race he said ‘I’m absolutely gutted. That has only ever happened once before and never in a race. I’ve run 56 mile ultra marathons and never had a problem. I was flying as well, and loving every minute of it’. He went on ‘but just being able to compete here today was really special. I hope that I can inspire others and show that disabled athletes can compete alongside able bodied athletes on the same playing field, it was great to be involved in my first ever triathlon’.

Brabants and Campbell’s team were raising money for Leukemia Research. ‘Triathlon is such an all inclusive sport’ said Brabants ‘races like the BananaMan encourage participation from all sorts of different people. There are so many varied abilities here today, everyone is just having a go and achieving great things, it’s fantastic to see’.

Relay Results

  1. Big Adventure Store 1:22.04
  2. Café Solo 1:27.31
  3. The electric mayhem 1:29.12

Individual BananaMan Triathlon

The main event attracted 450 triathletes from varied backgrounds, with many novices tackling their first event, through to experienced athletes up for some super fast racing on the flat course. Most were delighted that the wetsuit ban, which had been in place the previous weekend due to the warm lake temperature, had been lifted and happily pulled on their rubber before taking the plunge. The weather was very mixed with short downpours interspersed with sun and gusting winds making for unpredictable race conditions. It was Mark Sims however, of Hereford Tri Club who took the overall honours in 1:29.11 with Donal Harte (Ful-on-Tri) only seconds behind in 1:29.17 and Steve McKeown third in 1:32.03. In the ladies race it was Claire Smith first over the line first in 1:41.08 followed by Jessica Parry-Williams of Cardiff Tri Club in 1:41.32 with Rebecca Slack in third in 1:43.21.

Amongst the 450 athletes were a team of 42 parents and teachers from St Peters School in London many of whom were taking part in their first ever triathlon, some in the relay event and others in the individual. Raising over £12,000 for their tiny inner city school, they bravely swam, biked and ran their way around the course and set a great example to the children about being healthy. ‘We’ve had a fantastic day’ said parent and organiser Annabel Elkington ‘we’re all so proud of what we’ve achieved here today, it really does show that an event like this completely inclusive and just about anyone can give it a go’.

For full results and more Human Race Events coming up later in the year see www.humanrace.co.uk


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