A busy weekend for WRC’s Triathletes at Home and Abroad

8 July 2019 - By James Montgomery

A busy weekend where Witham RC’s female triathletes out-numbered the men both at home and abroad.

2019 European Triathlon/Multisport Championships – Târgu Mures, Romania
Liz Stuckey and Rachel Pearsons headed to Dracula country for the European multisport championships, with Liz taking part in the Middle Distance Triathlon with a 1.9km swim, 80km bike and 21km run and Rachel the Middle Distance Aquabike incorporating a 1.9km swim and 80km bike. It was an early start for both even though by triathlon standards their start times were quite leisurely with Liz off at 9.14 and Rach 4 minutes later at 9.18, since the logistics of the split transition meant dropping off run gear in T2 and then cycling to T1 to leave the bike.

The warm temperatures meant a non wetsuit swim, but they had been able to swim in the lake on Thursday and Friday to get acclimatised. In the event, swims went well for both, this was followed by a long transition to collect the bike bag and to deposit swim kit, which provided Liz a comedy moment as she accidentally picked up the wrong bag and had to go back to get her own, since there were so many bags still in T1! Then it was a run/walk up a very steep bank to get to the bikes and bike kit.

Then out on to the bike. This was a hilly, technical course with not much flat for time trialling on. A few hairpin turns and very tight turns at each end of the 4-lap out and back course. At first it was busy with many athletes out on the bike leg at the same time although it was quieter for Liz on her final lap as by then the earlier starters had finished. Rachel caught Liz on lap 3.

With Rachel heading for the finish line at the end of a fast bike leg, Liz still the small matter of a half marathon to run. Having encountered very hot conditions on the bike Liz had struggled to take on enough fluid and had to stop at every water station to take liquid on and with stomach cramps to contend with it wasn’t her best run, but an excellent finish time with all considered.

Well done to both!

Rach – 9th in age category
Swim:       00:44:57
Bike:         02:31:40
Overall:    03:21:14

Liz – 12th in age category
Swim:       00:43:21
Bike:         02:42:18
Run:         01:59:15
Overall:    05:33:26

Outlaw Holkham Half – Holkham Hall, Norfolk
Meanwhile in north Norfolk, the Outlaw Holkham Half is a middle distance event incorporating a 1900 meters swim, 90 kms bike and 21 kms run held in and around the stunning grounds of Holkham Hall. Sunday morning started chilly, if sunny and the swim in the lake was wetsuit-compulsory as seems to be the norm with the Outlaw series of events. This makes for fun events that aim to cater for a wider range of abilities, especially with the swim and bike legs.

Three club members were taking part, with Andy Notley, Anita Grainger and Carina Taylor. There was supposed to be a fourth, James Montgomery, but an unlucky accident in early April reduced him to supporting duties only! For Anita and Carina, this was their second middle-distance – and Outlaw event – this year.

Andy was off in the first wave after the elites and predictably went from the start in setting the fastest time out of the trio in all three disciplines, exiting the water in a little over 30 minutes. Anita and Carina had much later starts with Anita being involved in something of a rugby scrum at the swim start but Carina luckily missed this through getting out in front. In Carina’s words, she “smashed” the swim with her fastest over the distance while Anita also improved on her swim time since Nottingham in May.

Out on to the bike, which took the triathletes on a 56 mile circuitous route around north Norfolk, which contrary to belief isn’t as flat as some think. Undeterred, both Anita and Carina set about improving on their bike times from Nottingham, on which is considered a more challenging course and with an increasing headwind in places.

The run was a challenging hilly route around the grounds of Holkham Hall with some off-road along a stoney path and conditions became hot in the midday sunshine. Still both Carina and Anita improved their finish times from Nottingham in May.

Swim:        00:31:33
Bike:          02:37:15
Run:          01:55:29
Overall:     05:07:02

Swim:         00:33:44
Bike:           03:06:11
Run:            02:22:27
Overall:       06:06:12

Swim:         00:39:19
Bike:           03:14:49
Run:           02:27:41
Overall:      06:26:51

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