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National League Update #2&3 2011
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Thursday 11th August 2011


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Kevin Robinson reports in with his second update of the year from the UK National Triathlon League.

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


Hello, Leaguers. First of all, my apologies for the lateness of this report. Now let's see how things have progressed since my early-season report when champions Derby Tri had their noses in front with new clubs Ful-on-Tri and Army Tri in hot pursuit, followed by Tri London.

One change has become apparent. This is that fewer leaguers have been travelling to foreign events so far this year. Only a handful went to Limerick for the ETU Duathlon Champs.  Army Tri (AT) was the only League club that finished a team there, with Kevin Pritchard (the top leaguer there), supported by Sarah Thomas and Natalie Butler scoring 435.739 points.  Chris Wood of Black Country Tri (BCT) and Darren Ridout (Derby Tri) close up, but these two athletes lacked support.". This indication of a possible trend tended to be confirmed at Lanzarote, which is usually very popular with leaguers. But those who did go scored well, in particular Tri London (TL) were clearly determined not to be ousted from a top position in the League by either of the new clubs. Sergio Munoz, Brett Hedges, and the ever-faithful Kevin Lineham scored an excellent 586.310 points, the highest score of the season so far. The rewards are clearly there, but Ironman events abroad are costly in terms of entry fees, travel and accommodation, and not least, time, and as the possibility of a second recession looms large in the UK, I do intend to address this situation to some extent in the League List for 2012. More of that later.

But meanwhile, how has our domestic situation continued to evolve in the UK? At the Swashbuckler, an FOT mixed team of M. Lander, Kerry Anley, and Rebecca Bakke, with C. Parkes in close support, scored 463.098 points, while at the Speedy Beaver, an Army Tri (AT) mixed team of G. Markham, Samantha Wilson, and Lizzie Hill scored 455.277 points, and the AT ladies' team of Wilson, Hill, and Carol Yarrole scored 427.981. Then at the Weymouth Middle-distance event an AT team of Kevin Pritchard, Chris Alexander, and T. Harvey scored 510.184 points, and on the same day, at the Shropshire Triathlon, another AT mixed team, of D. Butters, G. Markham, and C. Yarrol scored 474.303 points. AT was certainly getting into the action and achieving some useful scores.

But perhaps it was still a little early for distance swimming in open water in the UK because the last indoor pool swim event in the first half of the season proved as ever, very popular, I refer of course, to the sprint event put on by Crystal Palace Tri. Reading the result sheet for the event, which includes members of Crystal Palace Tri and Serpentine Tri, as well as Tri London and Ful-on-Tri is to read a list of distinguished names from the history of triathlon in the capital over the last two decades. This year the event was essentially a battle between TL and FOT. Among the many TL members in action there were two high-scoring teams, one mixed, with John Griffin, Jo Parker, and Ray Brunsberg, which scored 459.974, and a ladies' team of Jo Parker, Kathleen Jones, and Bridget Virgo which scored 409.909 points. At this event, however, both these teams had to cede victory to the FOT mixed team of Euan Lees, Simon Kenyon, Parys Edwards, which scored 470.447 points. At this point, with many of the classic League domestic events just around the corner, this is how the League was taking shape: Tri London was leading with 1949.009 from four events; Army Tri was in second place with 1859.775 points from 4 events; Ful-on-Tri was in third place with 1441.654 points from four events; Derby Tri fourth with 1399.992 from three events; Army Tri ladies fifth with 427.981 from one event, and Tri London ladies sixth with 409.909 from one event. Other clubs including Black Country Tri, Coventry Tri, and North Yorks Tri, had not yet started their campaigns.

The following weekend of 12th June saw two of the most outstanding events in the UK League List, the Windsor Triathlon and the Bala Middle-distance. At the first of these it was FOT's turn to hit hard. Darren Milne, of TL was the top leaguer present,finishing in third place with a time of 2 hours, 5 minutes, and 41 seconds. He was supported by Ray Brunsberg, but they lacked a third finisher, whereas FOT had three, with Oliver Pinchard in 8th place, Pete Doubleday in 13th, and Phil Roker in 40th place in this 1500 competitor event, scoring 489.838 points. At the Bala Middle, which proved to be the coldest swim of the year so far, Derby Tri's Naomi Warr was top scorer for the champions and was the fastest female overall in 5 hrs, 11 minutes, and 24 seconds, an excellent performance on a day when 141 competitors did not finish, including some who have illustrious names in the history of the League. Only one other Derby Tri member, Simon Rolfs, finished the event however, and thus the Club did not achieve a team score. There was, nevertheless, a surprise at the event for many leaguers including myself, and that was the reappearance and resurgence of Black Country Tri, a club which has been relatively quiet in the League in recent years, certainly in comparison with the heady days when BCT were League Champions for four consecutive years before the rise of Derby Tri. Led by Lee Moreton in tenth place with a truly excellent time of 4 hrs, 37 minutes, and 31 seconds, who was very well supported by Chris Wood in 33rd place, and Neill Millward in 119th place, it was BCT who took League honours at the event, scoring 512.116 points. It will be very interesting to see if this strike by BCT proves indicative of performances to come.

The weekend of 18th/19th June saw the National Standard Distance Championships at the Dambuster event, and the Wimbleball 70.3 event. At the championship, there was a three-way clash between AT, TL, and FOT. AT scored 462.621 points courtesy of D. Butters, G. Markham, and Helen Bedford. TL, also with a mixed team of R. Brundish, Amy Forshaw, and Olivia Hetreed just got the better of an FOT team of John Whetman, Parys Edwards and Emma Partridge, with the two teams scoring 458.918 and 452.996 respectively. But the Wimbleball 70.3 is a very different kind of event, with the challenge of fifty-four hills in fifty-six miles on the bike. The mixed team of Rob Herring, Carol Molinaro, and Natalie Butler earned 469.729 points for the AT, but the battle royal at the event was that between TL and FOT. Stuart Anderson, FOT, in 9th place, was the top League scorer with 186.407 points from a time of 4 hrs, 45 minutes, and 56 seconds in this 200 point tariff event in which Stephen Bayliss took second place in 4 hrs, 26 minutes and 30 seconds. Mark Thompson of TL was also under 5 hours and earned 178.221 points for TL. Second striker for FOT was Pete Doubleday, less than two minutes behind Mark, earning 176.870 points. Brett Hedges and Steven Lord, both TL, finished less than 20 seconds apart to earn 172.594 and 172.418 points respectively. Nick Altmann, for FOT, earned 163.147 points, and so it was that Nick ensured his club's victory by the smallest of margins, 3.191 points, perhaps the difference of a couple of strides at the finish!

After Wimbleball it was as if leaguers were having a rest period. There was only one leaguer at the Nice Ironman, which is perhaps the most astonishing statistic of the League year so far, given that it's such a superb event with a genuinely iconic status. I finished the event three times between 1983 and 1994 (?), and I can say that if anyone is serious about long-distance triathlon it is, with Hawaii and Lanzarote, an event not to be missed, even if it is only done once. Furthermore, there were only two leaguers at the Roth Ironman, Mark and Kate Lander of FOT, and just one leaguer at Ironman Austria. But I do recognise that economic factors are more important now than they were a few years ago, and after all, how are we to pay the bankers their little (!) bonuses if we are jetting round the world doing triathlons? But as I implied earlier, I shall be making a few changes to the League List for next year.

But, to be fair, there was a sprinkling of leaguers at Pontevedra for the ETU long-distance triathlon champs; some of those leaguers came home with gold or silver medals and others only just missed out. Darren Milne was second in his category, and Robert Brundish fourth in his, but TL lacked a third contender so did not earn a team score. AT and FOT did achieve team scores at Pontevedra. The FOT team comprised of John Thorpe, Oliver Bradford and Paul Knowles scored 504.187 points, and the AT mixed team with R. Thomas, Samantha Wilson (gold medal) and Nicola Wood (silver medal) scored 463.371 points, so it may be that although ironman events are not quite as popular with UK athletes as they were, there is still a demand for championship races.

On the domestic front in this period there was League action at the Cleveland Steelman, the Emberton Park British Middle-distance Championships, and the Ripon Triathlon. At the Cleveland event, we saw Hartlepool Tri register their first major score of the season, courtesy of Tony Dixon, Steve Watson, and Angel Inglesias, who achieved 530.309 points. I was told earlier that Hartlepool Tri would be having a regrouping year this year, but the Club has been a serious contender for top League honours in the recent past, and this result might be taken to suggest that a regrouping might not really be necessary. At the other longer-distance event in early July it was that other club which may have been doing some re-grouping, BCT, which took the top League honours with 478.814 points well-earned by Chris Wood, Mark Southall and Neil Millward. Any higher scores were well-earned on that day because it was very warm, particularly on the run, and this resulted in perhaps the hardest half-marathon in triathlon that I have run in my 29 years in the sport. Nevertheless, TL's mixed team of Amy Forshaw, John Biesmanns, and Ben Clavenger were only a fraction over ten points behind BCT, and Coventry Tri (COV), led by Steve Howes supported by Jo Reynolds and Tony Nutt, earned 406.927 points. Like BCT, COV has been a formidable League club in the past, and it may have been that their last-minute entry this year contributed to a score that doesn't give much indication of the Club's essential quality. Aside from these team scores, Richard Hunt (AT) and Chris Nicoll (Derby) were the top leaguers present, but both were without support and so could not contribute to a team score. AT however certainly achieved an excellent team score at the Ripon Triathlon, where the Army had so many competitors that they might have been mistaken for the organising club! Hartlepool were also there, and achieved a very creditable score of 4784.456 points thanks to Dave Francis, Dave Watson, and John Manders, but it really was AT's day, with Mark Livesay (3rd), Chris Biddulph 7th, and S. Jack 13th, such excellent 'packing' making sure of the result, and the three AT leaders were supported by another dozen AT members who could all have contributed to a good team result; three of those dozen achieved a good score of 465.352, courtesy of Carol Livesey, Lindsey Courage, and Lizzie Hill, for the AT ladies' team. Two other leaguers deserve a mention before I present the team table and conclude this report. These leaguers are W. l'Anson and John Zigmond, of NYP (formerly a police tri club, but now open to the public), who finished in 361st and 380th position, but lacked a third member and so couldn't achieve a team score. Perhaps the other NYP members were all contributing to running the event, an excellent one which NYP has been running since the 1980s. Now, here is the team table to 10th July:

Pos
Club
Points
Events
1st
Tri London
2047.828
Best 4 events
2nd
Ful-On-Tri
2028.558
Best 4 events
3rd
Army Tri 
1960.550
Best 4 events
4th
Derby Tri 
1399.992
Best 3 event
5th
Hartlepool Tri 
1004.765
Best 2 events
6th
Black Country Tri 
1003.697
Best 2 events
7th
Army Tri ladies 
893.333
Best 2 events
8th
Tri London ladies
409.909
Best 1 event
9th
 Coventry Tri
406.927
Best 1 event

Other teams have not yet achieved a team score. Tables for individuals and the various individual competitions within the general classification will appear later.

Keep on tri-ing.

Kevin


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