Ironman Brazil definitely seems to like repeat business - Fernanda Keller virtually owns the thing which two of the mens field were looking to add a third victory to their career highlights. Oscar Galindez took the field on in the bike and opened an early gap which, when it looked to be threatened he then extended to around five minutes. Once out on the run with that kind of an advantage it was only a case of who would take the minor places and 21-year old Reinaldo Colucci (another from Brett Sutton's squad) stepped up to the challenge. Galindez won by a clear eight minutes with Colucci overtaking and holding off Eduardo Sturla to claim second place. Britain's Stephen Bayliss was fifth.
Among the womens field there was some unfinished business to attend to - Nina Kraft needed a finish after her early exit at Malaysia (and to rebuild some credibility after her year out of the sport through a drug-related suspension) while Fernanda Keller likes to keep the home crowd happy and Bella Comerford just seems to want to race pretty much anywhere. In the end it was Dede Griesbauer who actually provided the excitement by challenging Kraft on both the bike and the run but the challenge wasn't quite strong enough because Kraft eventually used it to fuel a surge on the run and took the win by over five minutes. Griesbauer kept hold of second place while Bella Comerford produced another solid result and finished third. (Full results and commentary are on IronmanLive.com)
||Oscar Galindez 8:21:11
||Nina Kraft 9:12:39
||Reinaldo Colucci 8:29:12
||Dede Griesbauer 9:18:18
||Eduardo Sturla 8:29:27
||Bella Comerford 9:20:09
With memories of the Stockton race lingering in the back of our minds, the decision to run a National Championship in (admittedly late) May at Strathclyde in Scotland always seemed to be a potential hostage to the weather. In the end, however, it looks as though the North did far better than the South this weekend and the reports from Strathclyde indicate that the cool and blustery conditions and a water temperature of 14.5°C were significantly better than might have been expected. And, unlike the Stockton race, this had the full support and backing of Corus as a major sponsor and it was only a sprint distance rather than a standard distance race.
The BTF also managed to achieve the best that it has ever done in terms of providing a live feed from the venue with regular photo updates and a running text commentary - credit where it is due as that something that the national body has never previously managed to deliver. Hopefully they'll be able to repeat this for the remaining two races in the series; Bryn Bach Park in Tredegar, South Wales and Hyde Park in London.
The womens race was led out by local favourite Kerry Lang who set up a lead group including Lisa Norden, Hollie Avil, Kirsty McWilliam, Lucie Zelenkova and Carol Bridge. They managed to generate a gap of over a minute on the chase group which included the more obvious favourites Michelle Dillon and Andrea Whitcombe and this proved decisive with just a 5k run to get back the time. Norden, McWilliam and Avil pulled clear on the first lap while Michelle Dillon set about running down those ahead of her. In the closing stages Norden and Avil pulled away from McWilliam with Avil outsprinting in the Swede in the last 200m to claim the National Elite Sprint Championships. Dillon pulled herself up into fourth behind McWilliam which secured her the Bronze.
After the race Hollie Avil, a Ben Bright protege, was both shocked and delighted to have won, commenting: "It was a really tough race out there today, but to have finished ahead of the likes of Michelle (Dillon) and Andrea (Whitcombe) is a fantastic feeling. I've had a great start to my season and I'm hoping to build on this throughout the year".
A larger mens field of over sixty athletes were led out by Blair Cartmell who had excellent swim ahead of a large pack of athletes including Richard Stannard, Dann Brook, Stuart Hayes and Olly Freeman. Alistair Brownlee, current World Junior Champion, started to work at the front of the bike on lap three in an attempt to break up the pack but it was Stuart Hayes who made the break and established a 25 second lead into T2. His lead was down to just 10 seconds after the first lap with Freeman, Clarke and Brownlee all making inroads. In the closing kilometre Brownlee and Clarke caught Hayes and all three entered the final stretch side by side. It was Clarke who made the final break, holding off Hayes to take the win with Brownlee having to settle for third.
Clarke, one of the Corus Ambassadors, said on his win: "My performance bodes well for the World Cup race in Madrid next week. I have been trying to get back to full running fitness these past couple of weeks and it seems to have paid off. The race was excellent, really exciting, and it was a good feeling to win in front of a British crowd."
Once everything is done and dusted up there it does look as though the Strathclyde venue has some significant promise. The Ã�ï¿½Ã�Â£70k invested in taking out the old sleeping policemen traffic calming and replacing it with removable ones has certainly helped to make the site cycle friendly although the decision to have the swim go under a bridge just 100m after the start was a little questionable - especially given that the gap was considerably smaller than the width of the starting line on the pontoon... But if these are the only issues then they are easily fixed and the general concensus from the elite athletes was that they had been well looked after and the race had been very well put together.
We have the full (provisional) results from the age group championships available here and full results for the elite available here.
||Will Clarke 0:55:10
||Hollie Avil 1:01:36
||Stuart Hayes 0:55:11
||Lisa Norden (SWE) 1:01:42
||Alistair Brownlee 0:55:13
||Kirsty McWilliam 1:01:59
Billed as the most northerly race in the UK, and with conditions described as "warm and breezy" (although 'warm' to someone from Orkney might mean anything above freezing and 'breezy' could be anything less than a Force 9...) the Orkney Standard attracted a field of over 20 with more than half making the journey up from the mainland. Mark Harrison was the overall winner in 2:09:47 and Kirsty Murray took the womens title in 2:26:28. (Full results are here)
Rugby Triathlon Club put on its second Rugby Maiden event with a supersprint distance race and a novice for those needing a shorter swim and run. Eunice Alexander won the supersprint in 1:09:29 and Kay Sellick won the novice in 1:01:05. The club has also sent in a race report which you can read here. (Supersprint results here, novice results here)
One Step Beyond's Timex Sprint Series continued with round two taking place at Woodhall Spa. Mark Redwood (TFN) was the overall winner in 1:01:05 with Louise Collins taking the win for the ladies in 1:10:40. (Full results are here)
The first of the Hillingdon Triathlon Series was, apparently, a bit on the damp side - unfortunately we can't factor the weather into our How to succeed at... races! Despite the conditions a healthy field took part with Darren Treadway winning overall in 1:13:22 and Julie Milroy taking the honours for the women in 1:30:49. (Full results are here)
Out at the St Mary's Triathlon in Calne, Wiltshire the first and second places went to relay teams from Total Fitness Bath and SMaRTT Tri but the individual honours go to Simon Spedding (Hogweed Tri) in 1:08:50 and Shirley Yarde in 1:17:54. Now there are two names that have been around in the sport even longer than the Editon has - that's the great thing about triathlon, the old ones just keep getting better. (Full results are here)
At the Crystal Palace Triathlon over 500 people braved cold weather and heavy rain to complete. A large number of first timers took part and the organisers say that, judging from the feedback received so far, they haven't been put off by the bad weather and ensuing race conditions and are already looking forward to competing again. There was stiff competition for the London League points with large turnouts from CPT, Serpentine, Thames Turbo and most of the London clubs. Honours were taken by Rob Parry (South London Tri) in 00:54:06 and Ruth Hutton (SLH Tri/Evans RT) in 1:09:26. The rain also got into the systems and no split times will be available. (Full results are here)
The bad weather continued into Monday and at the Hampton Pool Triathlon it was blowing hard even when it wasn't raining... Still, that didn't stop Sophie Whitworth (Team Planet X) from setting a new course record of 1:05:23 with Mark Edwards (Southampton University Tri) winning overall in 1:01:09. (Full results are here)
The Gloucester Triathlon saw wins for Nick Slim (Tewkesbury Tri) and Karen Hathway (BAD Tri). (Full results are here)