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Shanley vs. Thomas @ Dorney
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Sunday 26th June 2011


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What happened when Tri247's Paul Shanley accepted a (very) late notice challenge from British 400m record holder to a triathlon race at the 220 Evening Triathlon Series event on Wednesday at Dorney Lake? Well, Thomas won ...again!


The Iron (Sprint) war: Shanley v Thomas

Ok, so you can't really compare it to the Iron War, but when I got a call on Tuesday from Iwan Thomas asking if I fancied racing the 220 Triathlon Series at Dorney Lake the next evening I could hardly say no, especially as Iwan was quick to point out that we have raced three times and he had won each time. I like to think of myself as not overly competitive but I couldn't turn down the opportunity of gaining a win and trying to turn the deficit around.

Tuesday, as I like to think that lots of our readers know, is Dominos “two for one” night and as I munched my way through a large Pepperoni Passion I thought about my race strategy. I have never raced an evening session at Dorney lake although I had raced their before so my plan was to use my knowledge of the venue and course as my winning formula rather than my athletic capabilities.

Arriving at the venue I was soon to realise that the race takes place at the other end of the lake to the clubhouse so a completely different course to anything I had raced on before. My small competitive advantage had gone. My confidence was also thrown as Iwan said he didn't feel very strong and normally when he raced athletics and felt like that he had a great race. I knew I was in trouble.

Expecting a much lower key set up for the race I was pleasantly surprised to see a good number of competitors and an impressive race village including a large registration tent, bike maintenance, portaloos etc… The big difference I felt was that it was a bit more relaxed than other races I have been to and there was a good atmosphere all around.

We were off at 6pm for a one lap swim of the lake, six laps on the bike and then a nice flat two lap run along the main rowing lake. I would like to tell you that the race was close with each of us taking the lead and fighting back, but to be honest Iwan left me in the swim got a two minute lead out of the water and I spent most of the bike trying my hardest for him not to lap me (which he did on my lap five). Finally getting out on to the run with my dreams shattered and my mind trying to cope with a fourth defeat I was determined that he wouldn't lap me on the run and I managed to hang on long enough that he didn't.

So, four-nil down. Can I take anything from this? Well I think Sprint is not the distance to take on a 400m runner, we need to go long Iwan, and I am talking half Ironman if not full Ironman. I was also faster than him in T2 by 6 seconds… something I can look to build on!

You can watch the race here on triVIEWER: www.tri247.com/triviewer/GE.html#r=10285&r1=93&r2=92

And see a happy Iwan here:

The Evening Series

I can highly recommend the evening series races, it was about 300m into the swim when my arms felt like lead that I managed a smile as I realised this is a great place to be on a Wednesday evening. The races are fast and serious but with a very relaxed feel allowing you to race without feeling too much that you are in a race (if that makes sense). It is also good to race a bit tired (this is not an excuse by the way – I was well beaten on the day), as most races I have done have been at the weekend where I have relaxed the day before so to race after a long day at work was a good experience.

The next race in the series is on Wednesday 6th July and you can find out more HERE


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