So, the news is finally out: there will be an official Half Ironman in the UK next year and it will be run by the same people that organise Ironman UK at Sherborne. However, the date is yet to be confirmed [but it will definitely be in the May/June timeframe] and, although the race is WTC sanctioned, it will not be carrying any Hawaii slots. This may change next year, the fact that WTC are going to be running a World Half Ironman Championship would make it likely that slots might be awarded in the future -- indeed we guess that this is something the organisers are banking on... The big (?) news is that the race almost certainly WON'T be at Sherborne: either over the current course or the (as yet inannounced) new full-distance course. As to where it will be held, well you could always register on their website and get an early notification or just start pulling random place names out of a hat! We expect that the full story will be unveiled in January so, until then, it's going to be something to speculate over at those New Year parties!
Old news from 2004
Remember the Deca Ironman a few weeks back? Well, Arthur Puckrin has recovered enough to put pen to paper for Northern Pulse and there's a full report of his race on their website. Plus, and we hadn't realised this, coverage of the triple and double events he also did during 2004. If you lack inspiration for the coming year or are just bloated from all that turkey take a few minutes to read the story. Might just change your views of the ultra men and women.
As well as the usual bunch of madmen down at Leybourne Lake in Kent there are others planning events over the coming week. RawEnergyPursuits are doing a "Hangover Aquathlon" 500m swim/5k run at the Arundel Lido at 10:30am on New Years Day for those who can't make it up to Edinburgh. Yes, the pool is open air but it will be heated... The race is BTA sanctioned and cost will be just £7.50 to cover costs. (Arundel is on the A27 just north of Worthing)
We, on the other hand, are taking a break and would like to wish you all a very pleasant festive season. Normal service will be resumed at the beginning of January (although we will still be picking up emails so do keep sending in news or results).
When we did the big site clean-up last year we removed a lot of stuff we though was pretty redundant but it looks like we may have also removed something useful by mistake... Stuart Lumb pointed out that the old Universal Race Entry Form simply doesn't exist anywhere these days and so we've popped it back online as both a PDF file and as a plain text file.
Some months ago we mentioned the cool online map and event guide to Ironman Canada. Well, they've gone one better and now have a complete 3D flythrough of the course. Now, that's providing a service! Check it out at the Ironmap website.
The BTA have announced the various dates for the National Championships -- with one exception, the Elite Triathlon Championships. Odd, we thought that they would have had all that sorted out with Liverpool/Nova International long ago... ...or, perhaps, the whole event is on the move again looking for another generous city to stump up the cash. Please don't let that be the case because, if it does turn out not to be Liverpool the whole BTA/Nova deal begins to look like a terrible sham. Of course, it could all be innocent issues like finalising the BBC dates, etc, but surely that should have been sorted ages ago?
The National Age Group Champs are off to a new venue (again), this time the Julie Rose Centre in Ashford, Kent, while there's a serious date clash between the Shropshire Triathlon on Jun-12, which is a World Triathlon Championship Qualifier, and the National Age Group Duathlon Championships at Emberton Park, Milton Keynes on the same day which is also a World Duathlon Championship Qualifier -- not the best of planning, one might suggest!
The Fred Whitton Challenge is reputed to be one of the most demanding bike races in the UK: it covers 180km of Cumbrian hills and passes. A small group of perfectly sane (er, surely that's an oxymoron?) Army triathletes are planning to recce the route on Dec-29 and would like to invite any athletes who are up for a cheeky 8 hour training ride to join them. Send if you want further info or just turn up at the start by Coniston Water by 0800 hrs. Type "Fred Whitton challenge" into any search engine for further insight into what you'll be letting yourself into..
Time for the trek up to the Midlands to exercise our democratic rights as members of the BTA - and hopefully meet a few of the visitors to this website as well. No official news out of last night's Gala Dinner but we have heard that Human Race scooped Race of the Year for the Royal Windsor Triathlon once again. Given the strong competition from London and HIMUK that's an impressive result.
Interesting thing, democracy. One of the most important human rights is that of self determination: people have given up their lives for it but it looks as though your average triathlete has determined that a) belonging to the BTA is irrelevant or b) if they do belong to the BTA then, given the choice of helping determine the future of the sport or going out on a training run/ride then it's a no brainer - the training wins every time. So, inevitably really, the BTA AGM turns into the same old regurgitation of what we did, how unlucky we were not to and all the wonderful things we'll be doing next year to make it better.
Interesting to get confirmation of the fact that the elite programme is to be cut back from 16 to 12 supported athletes by April and then again to either 12 or 8 in October. This cutback is in line with UK Sport guidelines and the 10% cut in funding that they will be providing. Yet, claims Graeme Maw, our funding is maintained despite all those scare stories in the papers. So, they are getting slightly less, they can only spend specified amounts on fewer athletes and yet the level of funding is maintained. Never did get a satisfactory answer to that one...
After the AGM Norman Brook made a presentation of the One Stop Plan which outlined what has been achieved so far and what is still to be done. It's in this area that Norman comes into his own and, in spite of the criticisms that we have made of him over the years, it's clear that he and the others involved in this process have made good progress. What is a shame is the fact that this was not tabled as part of the day's proceedings as we are sure that others would have found it valuable too. Sure, it's "on the website" but what seems to escape the BTA is that some people don't want to be bothered with looking at websites -- they want a human to present the information. Indeed, one of Norman's early successes was the tour around the regions and the face to face contact. Maybe the BTA could do a slot at all the major events through the year bringing us up to date on progress or, perhaps, TriNews could actually contain something interesting over the next few issues.
Immediately after the AGM ended the English Triathlon Forum held its AGM and if you've never heard of it don't be too concerned. Well, perhaps be a little concerned because in true comic hall style Dave Bellingham, long term BTA Executive survivor and legend for a variety of reasons dramatically stood down as Chair and offered the vacant seat to none other than long term mate and very recently unseated Peter Coulson. Jem Lawson popped up as a seconder and before anyone could blink the deed was done - Peter C is now the ETF Chair! But, before you get too confused, this is the old ETF and not the soon to be created triathlon england so Peter C has inherited a body in which there is even less interest and funding than the BTA. Hopefully he'll be resident in England long enough during 2005 to make a contribution to the Forum's hectic schedule of events...
One day that Empfield man will tell me how he figures out what I'd like to write about with regard to the BTA and then does a better job writing about the same issues in respect of USAT. Having just resigned from the USAT board he feels that he's at liberty once again to say what's on his mind and his latest piece on "the headbadge" is so relevant to the way that the BTA has been trying to re-invent itself this past year that I wonder if there really is such a thing as a parallel universe... Anyways, it's well worth a read and, hopefully, the new Executive might take a look at it as well to see if they can extract something useful.
Now that Jasmine Flatters is declared as the next BTA Chair I can make good on a promise that I made a couple of weeks ago to her and Vice Chair Clive Faine when they visited one Sunday morning. My reasons for introducing Resolution 2 which proposes removing voting rights from any member of the Executive Board not elected by the membership (currently the Chief Executive would be the only Board member so affected) were to a) try to make the process a bit more democratic in that the people making the decisions were directly accountable to the membership and b) in the event that Peter Coulson had remained Chair to try to reduce his power base so that the Board became a little less one-sided in its views.
The way the new Board is constituted would seem to be much more evenly balanced in terms of opinion and focus which effectively removes b) from the equation but the reasons for dropping a) are a little more complex. What I had failed to realise -- probably because it simply isn't published anywhere - is that the way the BTA Executive Board is constituted means that everyone gets a vote - plain and simple. The Chair does not hold a casting vote, even though the total number of Officers is an odd number. So, remove the vote from the CEO and you end up with the potential for a deadlock! Not clever...
So, in the interests of letting the new Board get on with the final year of business as the BTA and secure in the knowledge that both Jasmine and Clive have pledged to ensure that all of these issues are considered in the new Constitution for what will become triathlon england it seems only right and proper to withdraw Resolution 2.
On the other hand, and in the light of the fact that only about 5% of the entire membership bothered to register a vote at all, I'm even more convinced that we need to establish a clearer basis for AGMs being considered representative and so Resolution 3 stays and will go to a vote on Sunday. Agree with it or not, I believe that it is important to get this issue on the table as the whole structure of the current BTA goes up for dismantling and reconstruction. Whatever we get to vote for at the end of the year we need to be sure that the membership is not disenfranchised or, worse, simply so apathetic that it doesn't bother to participate in the process. Were that to be the case then it may be worth considering whether there is any point having a membership organisation at all...
Well, we were being a little coy last night -- we already knew the result but had promised that we wouldn't break the news until after the BTA had made it official. Congratulations to Jasmine on taking the Chair and to Andrea and Chris and Jem for getting to the Executive Board and commiserations to Tom for being the unsuccessful candidate. With this Board we firmly believe that we will begin to see triathlon's future in this country becoming more inclusive and its governance being more open and definitely more approachable. Sunday will be Peter Coulson's swansong and we hope that as many people as possible can attend the AGM and thank him for the work he has done in the past three years as well as being there to welcome Jasmine into the her new position.
Mark Porter of Record Breakers is appealing for cyclists to come forward to help him challenge the world record for the coastal relay of Australia. Given that triathletes are pretty much mad for anything, this looks like one that might appeal! If you are interested in helping him and potentially holding a world record, then call him on 0870 224 2245 Ext 20 or email .
By now the votes should all be counted and all the players have returned from the ITU Congress in Vancouver so we guess that it's only a matter of time before the news breaks as to whether Peter Coulson has retained his position as Chair or whether Jasmine Flatters will replace him on Sunday at the AGM. Keep watching the BTA website folks!
The word filtering out of the ITU Congress is that Sarah Springman achieved most of her higher than expected number of votes by personally talking to delegates in the days leading up to the election. It seems that, while her campaign manager Peter Coulson may not survive past Sunday's BTA AGM, she may actually have a part to play in the ITU over the next four years -- hence the unusually cordial nature of the closing remarks. While Les's previous opponents have been dismissed with scarcely a backward glance there seems to be a genuine possibility that Dr Springman may survive her challenge. This one we'll be keeping an eye on...
Team Outrageous are holding their 10th annual Christmas Triathlon at Leybourne Lakes on Christmas morning. Entry is free, just . Finishers get a free entry to the club's midweek series (worth £90) but you must do the swim without a wetsuit to qualify. The event is an 80m open water swim, 7 mile bike and a 1.5 mile run.
No direct news from Vancouver other than what's on the ITU website and a piece on the BTA website confirming that Sarah Springman polled 33 votes to Les McDonald's 40 votes with 2 spoilt papers. Whilst that might appear close we would like to know the countries involved before passing any comment - all the information we had last week indicated that Les knew the votes that counted were in the bag. Whilst it is hard to see Les staying on past Bejing we still get the feeling that he will only go when he has a successor that he feels that he can hand over to rather than be ousted by. It will be interesting to get the various opinions of how the congress actually went as we are sure there will be more than one side to this story...
In addition to the main elections, there were a number of GB candidates for the various committees and Dr Andy Murphy was elected to the Medical Committee, Jasmine Flatters to the Credentials Committee, and Clive Faine to the Duathlon Committee. Paul Groves was unsuccessful in getting onto the Technical Committee. GB sponsored resolutions regarding drug testing, athletes switching countries and triathlon becoming a Paralympic sport were all passed for further consideration while the Brazil sponsored resolution to allow drafting at Age Group championships was withdrawn.
At some point today we'll find out who is the new ITU President, although all the smart money is going with there being no change at the top and Les McDonald staying there until after the 2008 Olympics. Very little has been forthcoming about what's been going on in Vancouver but the BTA website did carry the story that ITU TV, the broadcast website run by the ITU, would be dropping its subscription charges in 2005. We can't confirm this but, if it's true, then that's good news as the coverage of ITU World Cups and Championships in 2004 was very good indeed.
UPDATE: The ITU website (11pm UK time) is reporting the voting as being; ITU President: Les McDonald, Vice President: Chic Igaya, Secretary General: Bill Walker, Treasurer: Marisol Casada.
Remember, all those votes for the BTA officers, athletes of the year, etc have to be in by Monday so don't delay -- get your blue voting sheet in the post today (Friday) with a First Class stamp. If you haven't even opened TriNews yet you'll find the form and all the background papers in there. All the major protagonists are actually out of the country at the moment attending the ITU Congress in Vancouver and we hope to get some feedback from there at the weekend.
Wheeler's Phew Tri Club, based in the West Midlands region, has changed its name to Burntwood Tri Club.
The Aberfeldy Irn Man race is getting its own training camp led by Joe Beer, John Dargie and Paul Gallacher. The team will be hosting a Going Long coaching camp in Aberfeldy over the weekend of May 28/29 2005 designed to give participants a full range of knowledge and skills for competing at half and full Ironman races, as well as providing the opportunity for some quality coached training in stunning surroundings. Camp content will be a mix of sports science theory, practical workshops and coached training covering all 5 disciplines. Athletes will leave the course armed with the tools and techniques to successfully race over the longer distance or to improve on current performances. For full information on the camp visit any of the coaches' websites or .
North Devon Tri have added a relay section to their Pool Aquathon on Saturday 18th December. Starting and finishing at the North Devon Leisure Centre in Barnstaple and kicking off from 10am the race is a 600m pool swim and a 5km run over a flat tarmac cycle track. More details and entry form see their website.
The final scores are on the doors and the Dec is over and done for another two years. Three Brits finished including the first woman to complete a Deca, Surya Oliver, but Athur Puckrin was a DNF on the run. Final result sheet and photos on the Deca website.
Honorary Brit, Denmark's Lisbeth Kristensen dropped out of the race around the 96-100km mark - we have yet to confirm a reason - but Jess Draskau Petersson finished 10th in 9:58:05. Results are still coming in on the IronmanLive website.
A groups of triathletes who frequent the TriTalk forumns are planning on running a residential training camp at Millfield School in Somerset from the 8th to the 11th of April next year. Millfield School has been used for camps run by 220 in the past, if our memory serves. The course will be aimed at people who have an interest in long distance triathlons which could mean that you are doing your first Ironman or Half Ironman in 2005, or that you are considering entering an Ironman and would like to know more about what's involved. For the course to be able to run, they need at least 20 people to show a positive interest and will have to book for at least 3 nights.
For more details on how this develops and a chance to meet some of the real people behind those online handles follow the discussion on TriTalk.
A four-strong team from the BTA met with UK Sport and the Home Nations Sports Councils yesterday to discuss triathlon's One Stop Plan for Triathlon and, according to the BTA website at least, the plan was well received. They still believe that, contrary to reports in the Daily Telegraph earlier in the week, it is unlikely that triathlon will be subject to major funding cuts. In a statement on the BTA website Chief Executive, Norman Brook, says "Whilst I would expect there to be a reduction in World Class Performance funding this is unlikely to anything like that indicated in the press and overall I would expect the sport to retain similiar levels of funding over the next four years to that we presently enjoy."
In previous comments on the BTA site sums of £1.5 million over the four year Beijing Olympic period have been mentioned but it now seems that the final decision won't be made until next year on what funding is actually going to be available and how it be delivered -- through UK Sport or the Home Nations Sports Councils.
UPDATE: Rob Holmes has finished in 12th: 13 days 4 hrs 18 min and 18 sec.
The first Brit has crossed the line in the Deca, and judging by the photo on the Deca website he still had enough energy to carry his children over the line! Jason Sawyer was 11th in 12 days 20 hrs 21 min and 15 seconds. Arthur Puckrin has furthest to go with 180k then Suraya Oliver with 60k and Robert Holmes is nearly there with just 40k to go.
Now we aren't quite sure what's going on here but we keep hearing stories about BTA members not opening their issues of TriNews, some even throwing them away not realizing that there's an election on... Yes, there is an election and no, it's not the one in Vancouver about which more in a moment. So, if you are a BTA member and there's a copy of TriNews lurking on your desk you need to fish out the blue voting form and send it back by December 6th. By now you should be quite clear who we are voting for, and why, but the real fact is that if you don't vote you don't have a voice. Given the huge changes that will be undertaken in the way our sport is run over the next year -- there will be no BTA as we know it much past the end of 2005 -- you might just like to make sure that we have a team at the top for 2005 that actually seems to care about the way athletes of all abilities are treated. Not sure when I last saw our current chair registering athletes or getting soaked at a finish line or managing an age group team abroad but I'm damn sure that most of you have seen Jasmine in at least one or other of those positions on a regular basis. So, who ever you want to vote for post off that blue form this weekend. It might quite simply be your last chance to make a positive difference to our sport.
And, talking of those other elections for the ITU Presidency which will be happening next week, we were intrigued to see a second press release from the BTA about all the support that they have been gathering for Dr Sarah Springman. Now, this is one election that probably won't have any effect at all on the domestic triathlete but the current BTA Chair and the Chief Executive have been investing an awful lot of their time and resources in promoting their (sorry, that's the BTA's) candidate. We have been assured that the funds for this have come from UK Sport and not the BTA's coffers but two press releases in a week on BTA letterhead and emailed out by a BTA employee (the Chief Exec's PA) would suggest that someone must have time on their hands up at HQ. While the first press release trumpeted the support of the USAT board -- that's one other vote then -- today's listed the cast of "sporting legends" who are backing Dr Springman; Mark Allen, inaugural ITU World Champion and six times Ironman Champion, Simon Lessing, five times ITU Triathlon World Champion, multiple European Champions and her former British team-mates Sarah Coope and Glenn Cooke, Susanne Nielsen, ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Champion and Annie Emmerson, ITU World Duathlon Medallist. And, not forgetting Matthew Pinsent of rowing fame (rowing is Sarah's other sport). However, we aren't quite sure that any of these athletes actually has a vote at the ITU Congress...
Well, sort of. They have published the current finishers; Rodriguez, the winner, took 9 days 2 hrs 38 min and 36 sec, with a picture of each of them crossing the line but the overall feel of the site pretty much echoes the commentary that has been coming back through the Runners World form -- very amateur organisation. Now we do know that it's hard to put on a race that takes a day and we can certainly appreciate that it's probably harder to have one that covers multiple days but we reckon that even the least competent organiser on the BTA register could probably have made a better fist of it than this.
Scotland's leading triathlon coaches are planning a world class warm weather training camp for motivated athletes seeking to improve race performance. While there are many warm weather training options available they reckon this camp is exclusive because; they will have good coach - athlete ratios, guaranteed 1-2-1 individual sessions, competitive pricing (cheaper than mass attendance training camps) and it's a coaching camp not training camp. As well as camp workshops they will provide individualised future training action plans, there will be a pre-camp informal training meet / orientation session and an optional post camp 4 week follow up weekend available at minimal cost (£30-40).
The camp would run at Club La Santa in Lanzarote where there are ideal pool, open water, biking and running facilities along with training races / events available. The planned dates are 7th to 21st April with either week costing approximately £500 or the two weeks for approximately £750. For more details please contact either John Dargie or 07732 902 236 or Alister Russell or 07967 961 099.
Thanks to Mark Cathcart for being one of the few people who actually bother to read the TV listsings! Over the next few days on five we have: ITU Triathlon World Cup Cancun 02:00 Thursday 25th November, Ironman Lake Placid 00:25 Monday 29th November, Ironman Hawaii World Championships 01:00 Tuesday 30th November and ITU Triathlon World Cup Rio 03:15 Thursday 2nd December. That's an awful lot of tri action!
Someone, somewhere at five deserves a really nice Christmas pressie...
UPDATE 2! In an almost unprecedented move the BTA now has a rebuttal to the Telegraph piece on their website.
UPDATE: since writing the piece below a number of emails have arrived with comments, no less than 3 of them containing copies of a mail sent out by Graeme Maw to WCPP athletes this morning! It looks as though the Telegraph article may not be actuality but rather a projection of what might happen if the proposed points system were implemented today. We now know that a four-strong BTA team will be meeting with UK Sport later this week to discuss funding and, judging from Maw's email, they certainly seem to be under the impression that triathlon is not going to be pruned back to the barest of support. In triathlon's favour are the arguments that it is not a single sport; ie it isn't like cycling or swimming or athletics, and that unlike many of the other sports the athletes only have a single chance to medal; there are no heats, no preliminaries just one chance per gender to get one of three medals. Whilst it is unarguably true that GB didn't medal in triathlon our earlier "non-performance" comment should not be taken as suggestion of a lack of effort by any individual to get up there in the medals. What we intended to convey was the fact that the, shall we call it "proposed"?, points plan effectively means "no medals, no funding". This, in and of itself, seems unfair both to the athletes and to the sport as a whole. One can only hope that Maw's optimism as expressed in his email is both justified and rewarded later this week.
Rumours about a massive cut in the WCPP funding have been circulating on the web but this article in the Telegraph seems to confirm it. No clear indication of how much the BTA will lose and how that will affect the WCPP and Development squads but the Telegraph article suggests that elite funding may be reduced from £461,000 to £48,000. There's also a comment from Maw who is scheduled to meet with UK Sport this week -- "I don't want to talk about the funding at all". We guess the big question in his mind must be whether to make the chop in favour of athletes or staff. Looks like the non-performance in Athens now has to be paid for...
Next weekend will see long course specialist Jess Draskau Petersson race her third Ironman of the year, hoping to build on her 5th and 3rd places in New Zealand and Austria respectively, as she takes part in the first ever Ironman Western Australia. For this race Jess is asking for the help of the British triathlon public -- ie us! She raises money for the tribal peoples charity Survival through her racing, and would like anyone with any spare small change to help by donating via the web. You can do this by visiting her web pages and following the links. Jess would like to thank all those who have already helped with the cause, and all those who help over the next few weeks. UPDATE: Lisbeth Kristensen will be racing as well and hoping to improve on that 7th place in Hawaii.
Dr Sarah Springman has published her plan for the future of the ITU... ...if she gets elected, that is. In fairness it has to be said that she does make some good points and it's interesting to parallel her view of the current ITU heirarchy with that of our own BTA. What is slightly odd, however, is that this document has appeared so late in the day given that the ITU elections will take place in Vancouver on December 4th. One would have thought that she would have presented her views earlier in the day in order to have given her the best chance of winning over the various NGBs that she will need to support her. USAT has now confirmed its support for Sarah and you can read their endorsement on the BTA website.
Almost as unbelievable as Nina Kraft's EPO-fuelled performance at Hawaii is the news that a couple of athletes have been DQd at the Decaa for cheating. From the Runners World forum - still the only source of up-to-date information, we hear that Pascal Jolly (FRA) has been caught short-cutting the run course and Manuela Resnik (AUT) Austria was caught cycling without helmet.
After the bike transportation issues with Ryan Air at Ironman Austria earlier this year it seemed only prudent to check whether there were going to be any alternatives for getting out there in 2005. After all, I'd be toast if the wife couldn't get her bike out there! So a quick email to the nice folk at Schenker in Austria elicited the following reply:
Subject: AW: Ironman Austria 2005 Dear Henry, Yes we will do it same way. Looking forward to get all your bookings. Greetings from klu, best regards Heidi Koemetter JETcargo SCHENKER & CO AG Flughafenstr. 60 9020 Klagenfurt Austria Tel +43 (0) 5 7686 241651 Mobil +43 (0) 6 7686 241651 Fax +43 (0) 5 7686 241659 email: [email protected]
So, there you go Austria fans, it looks like the mighty Schenker truck will be rolling again next year and you won't have to worry about the luggage betting bumped off the flight at the last minute.
There hasn't been much on the official Deca website but we have been pointed at a forum thread on the Runners World website that makes for disturbing reading. One can only hope that the support crews can get them through.
We mentioned the Deca a few days back but as it's now underway it's time for a recap. Great Britain has an unbelievable FOUR entrants into the race which, in case you missed the earlier story, is a ten-times Ironman; 24 miles of swimming in a 50m pool, 1,120 miles of biking on a 1 mile closed circuit and 262 miles of running the other way around the closed circuit. This year the event has moved to Hawaii, previously it has been held in Mexico, and there were daily updates on their website. UPDATE: nothing has now been updated for a week...
British entrants are Arthur Puckrin, Robert Holmes, Suraya Oliver and Jason Sawyer. While the leader is currently at 16 miles Jason and Robert are at 12, Suraya is on 9 and Arthur is running a little behind at just under 4. We'll try to do a daily update on their positions.
Unlike the normal Ironman events, this is a strictly low-key, low budget affair and one Mexican competitor is racing while still waiting for $650 of their entry fee to be paid...
UPDATE: If you are a BTA member and feel that the Coulson interview in TriNews (see below) is an abuse of privilege please feel free to let the BTA know by email, letter or fax. Perhaps they will seek to redress the balance...
How opportune that this latest issue of TriNews should contain a "face to face" interview with the current BTA Chairman, Peter Coulson! All the other candidates for election in December only get a mere 200 words to address the membership but Peter not only scores with his usual address on the editorial page but gets a bonus double page spread as well. And please don't insult our intelligence by suggesting that this is all a co-incidence and outside of the BTA's control as TriNews is an independently produced publication...
However, some of the snippets that can be extracted from the interview make interesting reading. For example, if the Chairman's 8-month annual stay in France is not a barrier to his role as Chair because of the low-cost airlines and easy French rail system then how is it that his expenses are a whopping £5,794 (see pp12 of the annual report)? Oh, and we checked with Jasmine Flatters, his more than worthy opponent who will certainly be getting our vote, as to why her expenses were double the mean at £3,387 and the answer is that it's mainly age group expenditure that she has to claim back -- so it looks like her personal expenses, but isn't.
In the accounts themselves we see that the Chairman is delighted that the BTA now has the funding to appoint a Finance Director -- and one hopes that he will be able to get to the bottom of why the Auditors were unable to get sufficient information to establish the opening value of the BTA's opening stocks in April 2003. Stocks, one presumes, of all that lovely team kit and that £63,190 of Trek bikes for the development squad... Given that it costs the astounding sum of £1,929,567 to run the BTA (up from £1,535,037 last year and see pp11 of the annual report for the staff list as you can't find it on the BTA website) and membership income contributed just £138,496 it's very hard to see the BTA as anything other than a very expensive machine to support the Elite. That said, it is extremely pleasing to see a member of the Elite, Andrea Whitcombe, putting herself up for election to the Executive Board. Her nomination by Marc Jenkins indicates that, despite her vocal disappointment at missing out on a place in Athens she has the support of her fellow athletes.
Given that these may be the last elections to take place before the BTA moves to enact the One-Stop plan which will effectively create a triumverate of triathlon england/scotland/wales overseen by a (hopefully) very slim british triathlon it is crucially important that we vote in an Executive Board which will manage this change. We need a Board which is rejuvenated, which is open and responsive and one which has the trust and loyalty of the membership. It's up to the membership to make that happen or, almost certainly, face losing any chance of influencing the future of our sport.
For a view on the bigger picture of how the BTA sits within the international community and the unlikely contest that is the ITU Congress and Elections read Mark Cathcart's piece on his triman weblog.
The rumours started to surface yesterday from contacts in Germany but by this morning they are front page news on the IronmanLive and xtri websites. It seems certain that Nina Kraft has returned a positive A sample in an EPO test, adding her to the growing list of Germans that have tested for drugs this year. This is on top of the news that Belgian athlete Rutger Beke who placed 5th at Hawaii had also failed a drug test for EPO following an earlier European event and is the second recent case of a positive test among professional German triathlon women after Katja Schumacher tested positive at IM Germany.
We will now have to wait until the relevant European NGBs complete testing on the B samples and report their findings and for the WTC to announce their decisions. However, it does look as though certain areas of the sport, long course in particular, are now likely to be coming under more scrutiny than before for drug abuse.
Not a mention on the BTA website since the report on the race indicated that she had been injured but we have now been told by two elite athletes that the crash in Cancun full extent of her injuries were a broken wrist, two broken elbows, a double fracture to the jaw, some missing teeth and an assortment of cuts. She is apparently now back in the UK and we wish her the very speediest of recoveries.
The BTA website now has the full list of nominations (and their addresses) for candidates for this year's AGM elections plus details of the proposed resolutions. We will let the dust settle before we make our views known but one disappointment is that the rationale behind the various resolutions has been omitted, hopefully that will be included in the upcoming issue of Tri News.
The intrepid, and some would say crazy, Rob Holmes has arrived safely in Hawaii with his support man Chris Morgan to undertake surely one of the toughest physical challenges a triathlete could consider. A deca Ironman consists of a 38km swim, a 1,800km bike and finally a 422km run. As if that were not enough, the swim is in a 50m pool with a wetsuit on, the bike is on 1 mile, yes 1 mile, loop and the run is on the same 1 mile loop but in the opposite direction. Chris is there to provide support, massage, food and generally to try and keep Rob going.
The event gets under way on 13 November and Rob hopes to finish it in under two weeks. We wish him all the best. You can follow his progress at www.decahawaii.com.
Batman has come up with a plan for the wetsuit, a nationwide raffle, but despite e-mailing every club in the BTA handbook, he has only had a handful of replies. As previously noted, he has a top-of-the-range Ironman Stealth wetsuit to raffle, sized to fit the winner, donated by Brian Martin at Ironman Wetsuits to raise money for Aspire, after Batman's efforts at HIMUK. Tickets are £1 each and the plan is that people buy a book of tickets (cloakroom style - plain numbered) sell them to their club members/training pals, etc. People buying the books and selling the tickets also get a free entry into the draw as a Thank You for their efforts. The stubs, with a name and contact number on the back of each, are posted back to Batman and there will be a draw, possibly at the Triathlon Expo at Sandown. Individuals can use the link on the www.teamdeviant.co.uk website to the online raffle page (www.justgiving.com/wetsuit) or contact Batman direct on or telephone 07810431368.
Out there in Rio the elite are racing in the last ITU World Cup of the year and Liz Blatchford has popped in another podium performance with a second place behind Vanessa Fernandes (POR) with Michelle Dillon 9th. In the men's race Stu Hayes was 10th -- obviously recovered from the affliction that Michelle seemed intent on telling the whole world about last week! That should see him stay in the prize fund for the top ranked three elite men and women in 2004. Full results and report on the ITU website.
Well it's Ironman Florida today and while Bella Comerford, a two-time winner here, has spent the entire day chasing down Michellie Jones who is making her first attempt at long course racing there's no mention of Simon Lessing at all so it looks like he was a DNS. At the end of the day it was Michellie who took the win over Bella by a couple of minutes -- both looked well spent. Jane Tomlinson finished in 15:48:32 with Ryan Bowd who was acting as her minder on the course.. More updates on the ironmalive website and Mark Cathcart is uploading pictures to his website as well. The results are up on the Ironman website but, based on the way the Hawaii results changed for a couple of days after the race, it might be best to treat them as provisional at this stage.
On the domestic front; the BTA nominations closed yesterday at 4pm but we have no official word yet on who is standing for the various positions. Lots of speculation, or should that be informed opinion?, but until the official word is out it would be foolish to make any public comment. However, we can tell you that we have submitted a couple of resolutions and seconded a third for the assembled multitude to consider on the day. Again, as soon as we get confirmation that these have been accepted we'll fill you in on the details. Oh, and where is the current Chair this weekend? In Rio at the ITU World Cup with Sarah Springman doing a bit of politicking...
FitFor, who we mentioned a week or two ago, have now officially opened for business and have apparently already signed up a few athletes for coaching. They are holding weekly 'Bike and Run' sessions aimed at triathletes and have a full calendar of events including coaching packages for specific events such as London, Windsor and the IMUK. Their two BallBuster training sessions went really well with plenty of positive feedback. Check out their website for details of sessions and training options.
The 2005 race calendar is filling nicely with many of the major organisers already providing details of their events. Human Race tell us that entries are already coming in for Windsor and the first Eton SuperSprint event -- and they have only been through the web as no paper forms have been printed yet!
On Sunday 21st November, Hillingdon Triathletes will be hosting their final race of the season, the Autumn Sprint Duathlon at Hillingdon Cycle Circuit, Minet Park, Hayes, West London. Minet Park is a traffic free, purpose built 1-mile cycle circuit making it an ideal venue for all athletes, from novices through to elite. Race distances will be 2.5 mile run / 15 mile bike / 1 mile run. The start time is 10 am and there is ample parking is available on site. In addtion to the adult event, at late notice, Hillingdon will also host a childrens event prior to the adults race, starting at 9:15 am. This will be over the approximate distances of:
- Tristar 9/10 years and Tristars 11/12 years - 1.2km / 4.5km / 0.75km
- Tristar 2 (13/14 years): - 1.5km / 7.5km / 0.75km
The younger age groups cover 3 laps on the bike, with the 13/14 year olds doing 5 laps. Entry forms / directions etc can be found on the club website
Depending on whose version of events you read it certainly looks as though the Scottish Executive Board is in something of a turmoil given the recent resignations of Kelda Spratt and Sue Floyd. The latest message on the triathlonscotland website suggests that their Executive Board now considers the issue closed but given the imminent BTA elections it's worth reading the articles to see what can happen when internal politics tears a board apart.
The deadline for nominations for vacant positions on the Executive Board and resolutions for the AGM are due in no later than 4pm on Friday November 5th so if you fancy lighting a bonfire under the BTA or simply putting a rocket up somewhere then make sure your papers are IN ON TIME! We need something interesting to talk about at the AGM as all the ITU shenanigans will be over and done with by then...
We, the members, have a voice (and a vote) and it's time to use them to get our views across. Given the changes that will come with the One Stop Plan it may be the last chance we have to make our opinions heard so let's make the most of it.
Several GB elite are racing today in Cancun but already we have the news that Annabel Luxford touched the back wheel of Leanda Cave bringing both athletes down. Annabel had to drop out and there are reports that Leanda has a broken wrist and cuts to her jaw... Liz Blatchford finished 5th, Andrea Whitcombe 12th. Michelle Dillon was a DNS and worked with the commentary team on ITUtv.com. In the mens race, Tim Don took third and Stu Hayes placed 8th.
RDF Media (an independent TV production company) is working on a possible new series for the BBC. They have been in touch to ask if any of our over 65 year old athletes would be interested in helping them to shape a programme about inter-generational relationships. They are looking for a confident, fit and young-at-heart man or women of retirement age to spend an afternoon with a twenty-something getting to know them, and talking about their lives. This would be filmed as a non-broadcast tester tape for RDF Media's internal use, but they would give you expenses, and a small fee for your time.
This tape will be used as a trial run for a possible series where an older person and a younger person would share a flat for a week. We anticipate that the older person will help the young person to have a better attitude to life, and take on a personal challenge alongside them. This could be a half marathon or a soup kitchen run, or many other things depending on the people involved, so it would be helpful if you are up for a challenge.
To find out if this might be for you, or if you know somebody who might love to be involved, please contact Emma for more information. You can reach her on or 020 7013 4596.
There is now an alternative to Lanzarote and Mallorca for warm weather training camps. Tri Iznajar are a new company offering triathlon and cycling camps in the heart of Andalucia (that's somewhere in Spain for the geographically challenged...). Based around the lake-side town of Iznajar, they plan to offer the very best swim, bike and run training possible with a lake for swimming, the hills of the Sierras and trail running through the mountains and olive groves. A great training environment, combined with the chance to experience "the real Spain" away from the Costas, should help make Iznajar the new training destination of choice! To find out more visit their website or call 0034 958 317 053.
Looks like the next few weeks could be a bit of a tri-feast: there's a three race Adventure triathlon series on Saturday mornings on Channel 4 starting on Oct-30 at 7:00am with Loch Lomond, Celtic Manor is the following week and there's a third event that we aren't yet sure of.
Stuck in the middle of this lot is HIMUK which is either going to be on Nov-14 or, according the the TV company website, Nov-07 -- we'll confirm as soon as we know. UPDATE: Now scheduled as 08:25 on Sunday 7th November: 30 minutes on Channel 4.
No date yet for Hawaii but the normal slot is over the Christmas fortnight.
The WTA have announced their selection policy for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. After their success with Leanda Cave's Silver at Manchester in 2002 who knows what might happen! Anyone interested in following up can contact Dave Hart by email on
Ipswich Triathlon Club are the 2004 winners of the Eastern Region Team Series Competitions winning both the Sprint and Main Series awards. The full team and individual results will appear on the Eastern Region Website. Presentations of trophies will be at the Eastern Region AGM.
Due to a shortage of pool space in the London area, Optima racing team have opened their swim session to all triathletes (of all abilities) every Tuesday between 0600 - 0700 (if you can get up!) at the Putney Leisure Centre, Upper Richmond Road. There are five 33m lanes, with two coaches on poolside and the sessions will be focusing on technique during early winter (up to Christmas) and building volume and intensity towards the triathlon season. The charges are either £10 per month DD (£2.30 per swim) or £4.00 for four swims or £4.50 for a one-off swim. Any queries please email or call James Beckinsale on 07956 166 989.
We could have been there, you know... Marvellous thing that "rolldown" but sheer common sense prevailed over emotion and instead of risking everything on switching from half distance to full in less than 8 weeks the other half has wisely decided to try again next year at Austria instead. Still, there are plenty of Brits heading out that way including hotly tipped Simon Lessing and the ever-bubbly Bella Comerford. Not sure that we agree with the tip that puts Simon in contention for a win -- Hawaii has a horrible habit of dumping the favourite and Simon will remember from his three attempts at Nice that it takes a while to determine the nature of the beast that is long course racing. Not to say that we won't be overjoyed if he wins but betting on the outcome of an Ironman race is probably the second quickest way to lose money after the National Lottery...
And, as if by a further stroke of impeccable planning, we won't be anywhere near a PC to update the website with the results... So, apologies but you can track all the action on the ironmanlive.com website which has the art of live race updates to a tee -- unlike certain other sites we won't mention!
Ironman Wetsuits have donated a Stealth wetsuit (size to fit the winner) for Batman to raise money for ASPIRE and he's looking for any suggestions as to how best to raise funds. Ideas so far include a raffle over the net and at club meetings or a race where people guess his finishing time and pay £5 to enter. Any (decent...) suggestions welcome. This also assumes that Batman will still be alive after the Ballbuster to organise it!!! If you have any ideas please let us know and we'll pass them on to him.
The BTA website proudly announces the list of candidates that it is putting forward for election to various ITU committees at this year's Congress in Vancouver as "a strong list". But, like the GB team at the Olympics, there appears to be an omission... There's no mention of Graeme Kempson, currently ETU Treasurer and one of the ITOs at Athens, who has served continuously in various positions within the ITU since 1989 -- longer than anyone else in GB. We know that he put himself up for nomination by the Executive Board but then, the BTA Chairman and Chief Executive have developed a bit of a track record of leaving match-fit people out of their team recently!
Stephen Bayliss has just set up a new fitness business, Fit-For.com, with Cycling Weekly fitness editor Hannah Reynolds and ex-pro cyclist John Ibbotson. First item on their list is a training session based around the Ballbuster course showing you how it should be done in advance of the race. Premium membership with access to the site's resources is free for a limited period and it looks like having the makings of a worthwhile resource.
Oldbury Tri Club's computer hit the deck and they lost all their contact information. If anyone needs to get in touch their new email address is .
We've been pointed at this website which has a very useful map and spectator guide for Ironman Canada. In fact, it's such a nice idea that we can't figure out why other races haven't done something similar. Now, there's a business idea... ...RaceMaps™ -- anyone fancy employing us?
Mathew Luebbers is conducting a study of ironman-distance triathlete's training volume (distances trained and time spent training) and resulting success to provide a better understanding of the relationship between amount of work and level of achievement. He is looking for subjects and would like to collect training data for any athlete that has started an ironman-distance triathlon in the past 5 years (2000 - current). To review the survey and for more information visit his website.
In case anyone out there isn't a follower of the triathlondiscussion group on Yahoo! (and, if not, why not?) you'll probably have missed today's link to the epistle from St Mark of Cathcart. Laugh? We nearly fell off our chair!
Latest in the BTA website's campaign to support Sarah Springman is the news that UK Sport has announced its support of Sarah's nomination. Er, well of course they have -- that's where the money is coming from for Springman's campaign, or at least that's where it should be coming from... ...and the money that pays Norman Brook's salary as BTA Chief Executive. But, should you follow the link to the UK Sport website you won't find any news item on the front page about this announcement of support -- because that was in a story that they published on the 6th of MAY! Put Springman into the search field on UK Sport and you'll find the article. Slow news day in Loughborough or just recycling old news to keep a Springman article on the front page of the BTA site -- you decide...
Photos from the European Duathlon Championships and the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon at Leybourne Lakes are now on Adam Young's website and can be ordered in hard copy format for a fee.
So the word is finally out -- there's a new triathlon website in town. According to their ad in the latest issue of TriNews, TriSportNews.com is "the UK's independent home of triathlon" -- a claim that's perhaps a little late given that we've been doing that since 1997... It's a little hard to judge what they are going to be providing as the site is still locked down but we understand that it's a membership-only site with commercial sponsorship -- more to be revealed later. While we wish them well in their venture we would like to point out that we are, and will remain, free to anyone who wants to make use of what we have to offer and, yes, we do take limited sponsorship to cover our actual costs such as website hosting and bandwidth charges.
That is an interesting question... Now that the ETU Duathlon Championships have passed with, predictably, GB practically whitewashing the Age Group competition (or non-competition as it actually was) but only scraping two bronzes at the Elite level it seems as though it's quite capable of finding venues and teams to support events. Liverpool as the home for Triathlon, Swansea for Duathlon -- the majority of those who raced liked the courses and as long as the relevant authorities can be persuaded to continue to deliver the funding then the BTA can be said to have fulfilled the requirement of taking control of its National Championships.
No, the BTA's ambitions definitely seem to be in other areas -- like supplanting the ITU President Les McDonald with one of their own, Sarah Springman. They issued a press release yesterday, currently on their website, documenting more of her criticisms of Les and his management of the ITU since its inception at Avignon back in 1989. Yet the BTA in this instance isn't the membership but the Executive Board driven by Chief Exec Norman Brook and Chairman Peter Coulson. The membership, to be frank, couldn't give a damn about who runs the ITU -- it has more important things to worry about like what races it will be able to do in the UK next year and how much they will have to spend to race if they are not a member. Of course, it's not suprising that Peter Coulson is so interested in playing a major part in the ITU -- he was at Avignon when the ITU came together but not, as he seems to like people to believe, as an official delegate; that role was played by another Peter (Howard, then Chair of the newly formed BTA of which Peter C was the then very recently departed ex-Treasurer). There were two articles in early issues of 220 magazine outlining the two (opposing) views of these two gentlemen on the way forward for the BTA and triathlon in general. Peter C parted company with the BTA for many years until recently re-emerging as the current Chair where he seems determined to make those views turn into a reality -- should Sarah win the ITU Presidency one can see her needing a band of stalwarts to fill all the major posts on her Board and who better to reward than those who have helped her?
But is this what the membership wants? Well, to be blunt there's little that can be done because the BTA has a mandate to participate in international affairs -- and rightly so, we have strong representation on the ETU and ITU already. Yet this current assault on Les and his running of the ITU could backfire badly. Should Sarah lose her opportunity then might the ITU not seek to reduce GB's influence? All the effort to get an ITU World Cup race in Salford -- would that be at risk? The position of influence that we have on the Duathlon Committee where Clive Faine is Chair? The team of referees and TOs who travel to ITU and ETU events as part of the ITU family? Again, this hardly affects the membership as a whole but it certainly affects our standing in the sport as a whole.
There is, of course, no reason why Sarah Springman should not seek to run for election as President of the ITU -- it is her basic democratic right. Nor is there any reason why the BTA should not support her. But surely it is her campaign and not the BTA's? It should be her issuing the press releases and orchestrating the press coverage and not the BTA spending resources best used elsewhere within the domestic arena of our sport. After all, she does have her own website...
There are still some places left for the final event in the BTA Oregon Scientific National Series on Sunday 10th October at Carsington Water, Ashbourne, Derbyshire. This is also the final event in the PE Derbyshire series. Full details are available on www.punishingevents.com or ring them on 01332 513299.
UPDATE: the results pages seem to be filling in on the BTA website -- a bronze for Helen Lawrence in the elite women with Andrea Whitcombe 4th and a bronze for Tim Don in the mens. This contrasts with the huge medal tally by age groupers but, as previously noted on these pages, there was precious little in the way of competition in that event.
Oh, and we completely forgot about Nice! Full results are now up on their website. This looks like being the last time over the classic course as from 2005 the event is going to be a WTC sanctioned Ironman race.
Not quite clear what's went on in Swansea -- we resisted the temptation to travel down there -- but listening to Steve Trew's commentary through the web we have determined the following results. Junior women: Gold, Gauchet (FRA); Silver, Hofer (SUI); Bronze, Zsuzsa (HUN). Junior men: Gold, Gondek (CZE); Silver, Cebin (SLO); Bronze, Urbanovsky (SLK). The live commentary stopped for reasons unknown while the elite women were racing and never seemed to come back and the live results pages don't seem to be working either so we guess that they have connectivity problems down there -- having done this at Salford for the past couple of years we know just how hard it can be to make this sort of thing work at all, let alone in your first year of running events so kudos to them for at least trying and partly succeeding.
Age groups winners that we did catch via Steve Trew's commentary were Jonathan Hotchkiss (25-29), Gill McGee (40-44) and Lesley Cliff (55-59).
In Gamagori Michelle Dillon finished 4th in a race won by Annabel Luxford (AUS), Liz Blatchford was a DNF while Stu Hayes continued his run of podiums with a 3rd place behind Gaag (KAZ) and Gemmell (NZL). Andrew Johns was there but, as expected, did not race but did duty as an on-course commentator as well as doing a photo shoot for New Balance, one of his sponsors. Full results on the ITU website.
We understand that the ITU rankings have just been re-calculated after Gamagori and Stu Hayes is now ranked 2nd in the World -- and if he stays in the top 3 for the rest of the season stands to benefit from the bonus prize pool.
Obviously there's the ITU World Cup/European Duathlon Championships in Swansea and the BTA website is promising live coverage of the event -- they've even brought their webmaster along to work with the ITU team to make this happen so checkout the new live.britishtriathlon.org from 6am tomorrow.
Further afield, there's an ITU World Cup race in Gamagori with Michell Dillon, Liz Blatchford, Stuart Hayes and Andrew Johns all startlisted.
If you've pre-registered for Sherborne in 2005 then you might want to check your mailbox as soon as possible as they have mailed out the date and distance that the event will be run over. And, as the news is now out there on the discussion groups, we can confirm that it will be a full distance event. As if that weren't enough to make you reach for your credit card and enter (and over 200 people already have, the first one at 11:46 this morning, plus the first volunteers...) then there's even more news due to break after Hawaii has happened which will, hopefully, expand the options for potential UK qualifiers.
The triathlondiscussion eGroup has been carrying lots of traffic about the announcement, some of which has been regarding the price which, at £220 may seem a bit steep. However, the reality of the situation is that it's exactly the same price as Austria and Switzerland and, in fact, any other WTC sanctioned Ironman in Europe. And, to be blunt, putting on big events costs money! And you can't accuse Ironman UK of pocketing the cash either because they are actually chartered as a "non profit" with a remit to return profits to local community groups. So far this year they have donated £1000 worth of kit to one group and paid for a £3000 traffic calming system in one of the villages along the route -- not to mention that all the car park fees and programme sales go directly to Rotary and their designated charities.
In the past we've been cautious about the event, both in Llanberis and in its move to Sherborne, but it has developed and grown into very competently organised race and one that the better half has been very happy to do for the past three years in her search for an Hawaii slot. Sure, there are some things that we would like to see change: the fact that Tri-UK are the only retailer on site and a ramp exit from the lake being two that spring to mind, but these are details that can and will change as the race develops over time. And, now that we have a full-on WTC-sanctioned Ironman here in the UK we're waiting with interest to see just what the next developments are. The Race Office has promised more news post-Hawaii -- we'll keep you informed.
This weekend sees the jewel in the BTA's crown of self-organised events; the ITU Cup/ETU European Duathlon Championships at Swansea. The elite field certainly looks good with many of the top European names putting in appearance and a strong GB elite squad including Tim Don and Annie Emmerson. However, when you look at the age group race the story is a little differerent. According to the provisional entry list on the BTA website there are 178 men entered and 72 women -- only 23 men and 4 women being non-GB! Where are all the Europeans? Hopefully the answer is: "not on the list yet" and we'll have an event worthy of the stature it has been given and the effort that has been put into it. Otherwise, apart from the elite field, it looks like a National Championships. Mmmm, wasn't that what it was going to be?
In fact, we think that the list is the list and that the Europeans simply haven't come. Apparently European duathlon is not exactly buzzing -- when a GB age group team travels there it dominates the field as we have far and away the most active duathlon age group scene. What's really worrying is where the money to pay for the event is going to come from -- in the normal course of events the age group entry fees underwrite the race. Given that it's a BTA promoted race that kind of implies that the BTA is doing the underwriting and one can only hope that it isn't underwriting it with membership money... BTA membership finances are thinly spread enough without being squandered promoting a race for Europeans that don't want to come.
Sportpixs will have approximately 1,500 pictures of yesterday's Bala Triathlon on their website by the end of Monday.
South/South East meeting, take 2...
Just appeared on the BTA website is a reminder that there will be a meeting for all members involved in event organising in the current South and South Eastern regions on October 1st. It will be held at 7.30pm at the Crawley Esporta Gym and, if that sounds familiar take a look at this news item from a few weeks ago..
Liz Blatchford turned in another top performance in Madrid today with a second place while Stu Hayes continued his recent run of form and took third place in the mens race. For the ladies: Michelle Dillon 8th, Jess Harrison 13th, Leanda Cave 16th and Anneliese Heard DNF. For the men: Richard Stannard 13th, Richard Allen 16th and Tim Don 37th (bashed in the head while in the swim and finished but definitely under the weather). Full report and results on the ITU website.
According to the list of qualifying events for Hawaii in 2005 it's Ironman UK, not Half Ironman UK... No announcements yet from Sherborne themselves so please take this under advisement but it does look positive. In fact we have now talked to Chris Boon and it transpires that any news from race HQ will be a few days away yet, and he's certainly not confirming that the race is going full distance at this time... ...or that it isn't! Someone at WTC jumped the gun, for whatever reason, and the real story has yet to break.
Jess Draskau Petersson just finished in 2nd place at Powerman Zofingen, 3 mins 57 seconds behind the winner, Erika Csomor (HUN) who took 7:26:20.
BBC Grandstand, today at 1:35pm, had coverage of last week's Championship races in Liverpool. In case you missed it there was almost no background filling, so someone has been listening to the comments, and a very decent coverage of the event. Commentary moment, and there always is one, is Stuart Storey waxing lyrical about the huge support that Nova has received from Liverpool as the camera tracks the barriers down a completely empty steet with not a spectator in sight... We can only presume that he meant financially and in terms of infrastructure as they obviously closed the place down pretty well to get the event into the city centre, much like the Salford ITU World Cup race does in Manchester. Perhaps, at the third attempt, Nova has finally found a spiritual home for British Triathlon: the athlete comments generally seemed positive about the course itself and the occasional organisational teething problems like wrong medals and odd-size fleeces are, in all honesty, easily solvable. What matters is finding a good, safe course that can be developed into a major national event and, after the disappointments of Stockton and Swansea, perhaps the Albert Dock at Liverpool can become that event. No confirmed date for next year yet but doubtless we'll hear in due course.
The National Champions pages have been updated for 2004 -- the duathlon results will be added once we get the BTA age groups confirmed.
Sevenoaks Tri Club have a new website.
The London Region meeting earlier in the week seems to have been a success. Tim Weeks, the RDSO, says "A huge thank you to all those who attended the meeting held in central London on Tuesday. If you are interested in what was discussed, or would like to be put on the new London Region Mailing list, please contact me on [email protected]."
On the subject of foreign events worth a trip, David Baker says there's a really good race in Alcudia Mallorca on Saturday 18th September. A 2km swim, 84km bike and 20km run -- ideal warm up for Hawaii! Links via www.triatlonbalear.com (no H in their spelling).
Colin Hill, known to many as an accomplished age grouper in his own right, was the Race Director for Liverpool (as we understand it, Nova were responsible for the event organisation and promotion, Colin was responsible for "Field of Play") and as he often reads the website he thought that he'd like to add his own comments about the race!
Overall I've received a lot of positive comments about the race and a few issues have also been raised about points that need improving. I do feel that it was a spectacular venue and an interesting course - talking to lots of people after the race - comments were seemed really good.
This was the first year for the event in Liverpool and without doubt I have some things to sort out, for example we had a problem with water supplies at one point. Its worth noting that we took on the age group Champs at a very late stage once the BTA race fell through. So for the first year in a new venue I think that we have a good base to move on from.
I know about triathlon -- as a former Age Group Champion (the last time I raced in the champs I was stuck behind a bus on roads that were open to traffic) -- so I think it's good to have the race on closed roads (some people liked the technical course). Hopefully Liverpool Council will enjoy the BBC coverage on Sunday - which should mean that I will be able to get a bit more time for the road closures - which means I will be able to have the swim starts spread out. It all came down to what was available to me and trying to prove the race's worth. It was a long run to transition - but not as long as some races and I did try really hard to give all age groupers lots of space with the racking.
I know of two timing chip problems - which I have FPP (timing chip) and the BTA looking into. All results have now been emailed and are on line. It's nice to hear that some people enjoyed the race and believe me, I only want this race to get better - all comments have been noted and I'll be working towards a awesome race next year.
[UPDATE: Ivan has completed the Enduroman Arch to Arc Challenge in an amazing 98.5 hours, making him the first over-50 to complete the ultra-event!] Amazing that we had to find out from a guy in New Zealand (thanks, Howard) that Ivan Newman - UK Age Group athlete and Tri Sport Epping member - is probably near the end of his Arch to Arc Enduroman Challenge. For those who don't remember Eddy Ette's benchmark first completion in 2001, or Andy Mouncey's last year, this is a run from London to Dover, swim the Channel and then cycle to Paris. When he finishes, he will be only the third person to ever complete this huge challenge and the first over 50. His motivation to do it is to raise funds for research into allergies and anaphylaxis - prompted by the suffering of his daughter Liz. Further details are available on his website www.ivannewman.com including (most important bit) online donation facilities. Anyone with the drive to do a challenge like this is worthy of lots of support.
[UPDATE: Also worthy of a mention is Patrick Papougnot, a 43 year-old Frenchman living in the UK who is a member of Deal Tri. He decided to celebrate the 100th year of the Entente Cordial with a solo Arch to Arch London to Paris. He did it rather differently as he spread the run over 3 days, then got stuck in Dover due to the foul weather preventing the swim. Thus after a week waiting he did the cycle to Paris, then returned to Dover to do the swim a couple of days later. Obviously this doesn't count in the same way as the Arch to Arc guys above but it's creditable nonetheless.]
We have received a number of emails about Liverpool from age group athletes and the message seems to be that the event was well run on the whole but with a number of points that deserve to be looked at for future years. Having been accused in a number of emails of being unfair to the event we though that we would share a selection of reader's comments:
May I, as a competing age grouper, try to introduce a positive note to your coverage of the Great Liverpool Triathlon? I have not much interest in the internal politics of the BTA (though perhaps I should have). I have just got home after a weekend away venturing up North and have to say we had an excellent time. The race site was excellent, out and back swim in pretty clean water, short and fast transition, fast and technical bike course, flat, fast run course with lots to look at. Race organisation was good on the ground, effective but never officious, even as a Southerner I was made welcome by all the locals!! Albert Dock is a pretty perfect venue for spectators as well, you could see all the action within 200 or so meters and there were plenty of other things around if they got bored. Every competitor I talked to enjoyed it. I think this will be a race that will be a regular feature in the future, as there is plenty of room for expansion.
The age group champs was terrible. Quite possibly the worst organisation and venue they could have had. 1. No leg marking. 2. Setting off fast swim groups so as they could swim over the slower groups ahead. Great! 3. Very narrow bike sections and the consequential dangerous actions of novice riders out there with top age groupers. 4. Narrow run sections: same effect as above! 5. Also, do age groupers really have to play second fiddle to the elites. How far did we have to run in transition? 6. No dismount mat off the bike, straight onto rough concrete! Very dangerous. 7. 2.5 min swim warm up!
Another interesting snippet on Liverpool. I came 2nd in my age group - beaten by a guy the organisers put into a different wave, along with at least 2 others. So, not only were we racing against people without knowing what age group they were in, or whether they were BTA members but also without knowing for sure that that there wasn't someone else from a different wave on your imaginary shoulder. It would almost have been fairer to run it as a time trial with people being set off at 5 sec intervals - at least then you know it's a race against the clock with no one getting any advantage of surprise.
You guys seem to be the only ones interested in getting the news across so can you help? I did the Liverpool Triathlon yesterday in the 40-45 age group and wanted to get my official time. I've been on the greatrun web site for what it's worth and no results. Have also e-mailed them with no response. Pretty shoddy backup for an event costing over £60. Can see from the tone of some of your comments that there is some questioning of the stature of the event and I'm beginning to lean your way now. However, as an event it was well organised with perfect conditions and an interesting swim under the bridges in Albert Dock followed by a technical testing bike through the City centre and a good run through the heritage sites. On the distance thing can tell you that the age groupers had to do an extra 500m to marry up with the distance markers set out for the elite athletes - and I thought they were the ones being really tested!
There are still places available for the Escape to Alcatraz standard distance tri on Septebmer 19th. Because of the slow uptake the chances of getting a qualifying slot are 1 in 3. Unfortunately, due to lack of elites, the sponsor has withdrawn the prize fund. The draw for a free trip is still available. Details on the Team Outrageous website.
In Hamburg the mens race went to Rasmus Henning (DEN) with Filip Ospaly (CZE) and Volodymyr Polikarpenko (UKR) filling out the podium. Full results and a great picture gallery on the ITU website.
LIVERPOOL UPDATE: First reports coming through from the age groupers at Liverpool seem positive, if anything was short it looks like it may have actually been the bike (but remember the age group and elite raced slightly different routes through transition so we're not entirely sure which race would have been affected). Water quality seems to have been fine in the docks and so far there have been no reports of any problems or issues with the organisation. One report suggests that the venue has potential for development with future races -- could Liverpool finally be the place that Nova settle down in and build a major event? Reports from the Inter Regional Championship on Saturday at Speke, however, tell of local yobs trying to steal bikes off of cars, from inside cars and pushing triathletes off bikes and running away (apparently they were caught by police). One youth is reported to have crashed when a local ran out in front of their bike.
At Liverpool, the womens race was won by the in-form Liz Blatchford with Michelle Dillon running through the field for second and Leanda Cave holding onto third. In the mens race, Tim Don pretty much cruised round the bike and the run and then opened up the throttle to have a clear run down the finish chute to take the win with Stu Hayes in second and Richard Stannard grabbing third ahead of Richard Allen. From the times and a couple of comments relayed to us it seems as though both the swim and the run may have been a bit on the short side. There is a report on the elite race on sportinglife.com. One possible problem facing those sorting out the age group results may well be that age groupers did not have leg markings to show what category people were racing in or whether they were even members of the BTA! [UPDATE: All info relating to Liverpool has now vanished from the onrunning.com website! 2003 results are there but nothing (yet) for 2004. Spooky! Results may also show up on the Raceahead.net website -- they did the ChampionChip timing.
However, here's a rather deeper and more philosophical question. This was the National Elite Championships -- yet the BTA have no definition of what constitutes an elite athlete! The elite licence was removed a couple of years back because it was pretty much impossible to police it accurately based on the performance criteria that were laid down and the only thing that was then set down was that someone who was on the WCPP funding scheme must, by that criteria, be considered an elite. Yet today's elite race was well populated by people who don't meet that criteria so was this really a National Elite Championships? Probably not, but then neither have the past years either. So, is it not about time that the BTA sorted out a viable and maintainable standard by which athletes can be judged as elite or, alternatively, simply scrap the whole thing and have a National Open Championships. Which, by definition, would be OPEN to everyone; member or not. We suspect that some of the current leadership may have a problem with that, certainly the OPEN bit...
Remember those injuries...
Apparently neither Swallow or Dibens will be racing at Liverpool. Something to do with not being recovered from injuries... Er, what injuries? They raced at Athens, didn't they, so they can't have been injured then... UPDATE: We hear that Julie Dibens really does have a non-Athens-related injury -- she apparently crashed on her bike on Saturday.
Two other interetsing snippets: the open meeting with the BTA Chairman seems to have been a bit of a wash out - at 8pm he was seen outside the hotel trying to find where the meeting was going to be held -- 8pm, right! Most sensible age groupers would be away getting settled for the night by then. Oh, and if it's a true Age Group National Championships why were the BTA selling Day Licenses? Given the number of good age groupers bulking out the elite field there can't be that many left to race!
We lifted this off the ITU website, compare it with what's going to be happening in Liverpool and ask why we just don't seem to be able to manage the same level of coverage and committment over here. Sure, Salford is an ITU Cup race and we get great support and coverage for that, as does London, but this seems to be a whole league apart. Unfortunately we now seem to have NO GB elite athletes taking part... Fortunately we are represented by having technical officials out there (needless to say they aren't BTA folk...) learning how it's done so we can try harder over here next year.
Hamburg, Germany: 10 days after the highly successful Athens Olympic Games Triathlon, the 2004 World Cup series is ready to resume the season at the most spectator and television-friendly event on the circuit. Over 200,000 spectators are expected to line the course for both the women's event on Saturday and the men's event on Sunday. As well, both events will be televised live throughout Germany from 15:00 to 17:00 local time on Saturday and from 14:00 to 16:00 on Sunday. Triathlon fans around the world will be able to view the event live by tuning their satellite dish into the Astra Satellite System.
In today's womens elite race Anja Dittmer (GER) retained her title ahead of Pilar Hidalgo (ESP) and Annabel Luxford (AUS).
Tucked away on the BTA website is the following notice:
Following the age group race briefing on the evening of Saturday 4th September, Peter Coulson, Chairman of The British Triathlon Association will be available for a short period to answer any queries that the age group athletes have. The open session will commence at 8 pm and will take place at The Premier Lodge Hotel, Albert Docks, Liverpool.
We are sure that there must be a lot of athletes who can think of some very good questions to ask him...
UPDATE: If you can't think of one, try this -- how come the two GB athletes who were entered for Hamburg now seem to have withdrawn? Surely the BTA isn't operating a 3-line Whip here? Of course, it could be just something innocent like travel arrangements not working out but you would have thought that they would have figured that out before entering...
The QR Cotswold Triathlon on 12 September is now full with 20 people on a waiting list so they will not take any further entries. If you have entered and can't make the race for some reason, contact Tri Ferris Promotions by Tuesday 7 September 04 and you will be given 50% refund as long as your placed is filled by an athlete on the waiting list. You can email Tri [email protected] or phone 01793 853933. Last year's winners Michelle Dillon and Stuart Hayes are both back to defend their titles along with Duncan McKerracher, Richard Jones and Harry Wiltshire to name a few. So if you want to witness some fast fun racing come along to Keynes Country Park, Cotswold Water Park, near Cirencester on September 12th at 8am.
Important London Region meeting
There will be an important meeting about the future of triathlon in the London Region next Tuesday, that's the 7th of September 2004 at 6.30pm -- 8.30pm. The venue will be: SkillsActive Head Office, Castlewood House, 77-91 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1PX. The meeting will discuss London's "One Stop Plan" (OSP) which requires the input from the triathlon community of London. Secondly, to help co-ordinate triathlon in London, an efficient and structured communications network needs to be devised to ensure the proposed plans and strategies can work. All are welcome. For further details please contact Tim Weeks on 07739 526558 or email him at [email protected]
Well, he's done it again... Dan Empfield, that is. Want to get another nation's take on how they might have come back with more than just a Bronze from Athens? Read his article on tactics at Athens -- and then count up the GB medal tally over the same time frame and see how well GB is doing...
[UPDATE: Andrea Whitcombe is now also listed on the elite start for Hamburg] Thank you, dear readers, for pointing out that the elite women race at Hamburg on the Saturday -- so it's quite possible for Leanda Cave to do both events... ...which, in a way, brings us onto a currently vexing topic. Next weekend, we understand, all the GB elite will be present and correct at Liverpool (we can't bring ourselves to put the "Great" in there). This is interesting. Why? Because, apparently, all the elite are fit and ready to race -- which presumably includes both Julie Dibens and Jodie Swallow. Which, in turn, begs the question of what determines "fit to race"...
Ignoring any pressure that may be on the elite to attend (or, by implication, risk losing WCCP funding) it is very interesting to hear from sources very close to the events in both Cyprus and Athens that Graeme Maw did, indeed, want to drop Jodie from the squad because she had failed to prove fitness and had a recurrence of her achilles injury. Unfortunately, having effectively pre-selected her before and performance tests and had her nomination accepted by the BOA he was then unable to de-select her on the basis of her fitness -- or lack therof. The BOA simply would not allow it to happen. So, perhaps her injury would be sufficient grounds? No, not that either -- if she was capable of getting round the course then that was all that was required. (If you don't believe this then just consider the injuries that Darren Campbell seemed to be suffering from... ...or that Julie Dibens was actually having pain killing injections for her problem...) Of course, either athlete could have voluntarily withdrawn; neither chose to. Dibens, having missed one Olympics already, felt that she could still feature on the bike and possibly help Michelle Dillon into a good position for the run while, reportedly, Swallow still felt that she was a better bet injured than any of the alternatives.
So, is Mr Maw still the villan that he appeared last week as we watched our medal hopes vanish? (Not, of course, that Maw's name ever came up during the race as Team Manager Bert Appleton was dumped in front of a camera to explain what was (not) happening.)
Possibly not in the way that we thought at the time, given that he had apparently come to the, belated, conclusion that Jodie was simply not going to be up to the job and he had tried to replace her. However, either he and/or the senior management at the BTA are quilty of simply not understanding the way that the BOA nomination process operates. Given that the findings of Andrea Whitcombe's appeal panel made it quite clear that they felt the BTA selection criteria were poorly drafted it's now blatantly obvious that the BTA simply hadn't done any homework at all.
As well as the age group and elite races in Liverpool this weekend there's a BTA Executive Board meeting where, one presumes, some of the discussion may well be about the failure to deliver medals from Athens. Reading the BTA's future plans on their website it's plain that winning medals is a requirement to ensure future funding. In this respect the board might like to consider how triathlon ranks against, say, cycling or even sailing -- both of whom returned well be-medalled. And just how much funding, we wonder, did the New Zealand or Swiss or Austrian triathlon federations manage to secure to assist in their campaigns?
But, of course, there's another subject that will surely feature on the Board's agenda this weekend. That's the campaign to get Sarah Springman elected to the Presidency of the ITU. Which, given that it seems to be funded through SportEngland/UK Sport, will undoubtedly take a much higher priority than raking over the ashes of Athens...
Tanja Allen picked up 4th at the Geneva race yesterday, there's no update on either the ITU or ETU websites so we guess that they are still recovering post-Athens.
The Wombourne Sprint on September 12th is now full and a reserve list is operating.
There is no elite start list yet posted for Liverpool next weekend -- most of the big names seem to be going to Hamburg where we also spotted Leanda Cave as being on the women's start list (the only GBR athlete listed). Odd, then, that she should also be on the Liverpool website as their "poster girl" -- unless that's a hangover from last year's Great Wales Triathlon...
Entries will still be taken at Saturday's registration for the biggest ever (and almost the best race in Britain ...) Jordans Bedford Classic. Mini Tri entries also available. Registration is open from 1-6pm at The Embankment, Bedford. Unfortunately, no entries can be taken on Sunday. For details, check the website: www.galeforce-events.com
A fairly lengthy conversation with very well placed sources in Athens confirms what was pretty evident from this morning's TV coverage -- both Tim and AJ were seriously intent on getting into the medals, hence the major efforts on the bike. Indeed, as the results confirm, the guys who biked hard won the medals. Tim missed the break at the start of the descent which saw the front six get away and, despite driving the group on, nobody was prepared to try to bridge across. AJ, having made the front group, was working as part of that group to get into as strong a position on the run as possible. Based on past performances he would definitely have been in contention -- except that after the effort to keep the front group rolling only the three eventual medallists had the legs left to run ahead of the chasers.
Both confirm that they were in top condition for a hard bike/run, there's no suggestion that either were over-trained, but on the day the pace and strength of the bike groups meant that neither had the legs left for the pace that the lead trio went off at. There were plenty of other strong runners in the field but, at the end of the day, the race was won (and that's what counts, after all) by the three strongest off the bike. Which, after all, is pretty much what we said a couple of days back when all this started...
Marc Jenkins' troubles were caused by a collision with, he believes, a German athlete which ripped several spokes out of his rear wheel and buckled it to the point where it wouldn't turn -- hence the long carry to an aid station for a spare one.
Derby Triathlon last entries
The last few entries are now being accepted for this year's Derby Triathlon in Etwall, Derbyon September 12th. The race is a 400m pool swim, 18k bike and 5k run and is ideal for begininers or seasoned athletes. Call Pete Jackson on 01332523831 / 07843440622 or you can now enter online and find an entry form at www.punishingevents.com.
BTA closes Liverpool
Well, not literally, of course. According to the BTA website "Britain's most prestigious triathlon, the Great Liverpool Triathlon, has reached its entry limit of 500 well before the official closing date, with applications now only being accepted for the team relay and elite field." As for their claim that an event which has never been run before and is a purely domestic event can be regarded as the country's "most prestigious triathlon" -- well it's patently ludicrous! The ITU World Cup race at Salford has a serious claim to that title, as does HIMUK, while Windsor and London can both make a convincing argument -- but a new and untested event with just 500 entrants (plus the elite, of course...) that is being put on by an organisation which has the track record of putting on the Great North Triathlon (never repeated) and the Great Wales Triathlon (never repeated) doesn't even merit the term Great...
Of course, it could always win the Event of the Year at the BTA AGM -- assuming they have the cohones to offer it as a choice!
Aug:26 Athens: where next?
First, apologies for the patchy uploads during the mens race but we had a problem where so many people were reading the page that we couldn't upload the new ones... Still, at least we managed to provide a coverage!
So, where now for Team GB? Well, despite an apparently disappointing set of results it is clear that AJ, Tim and Michelle all worked their socks off, Julie Dibens was fit for the swim and bike and was clearly (at least according to all the reports we were getting) never going to be going anywhere fast on the run while Jodie Swallow was probably fit for the swim and couldn't hold it on the bike or the run -- just as at Tiszaujvaros. The one you have to really feel for is Marc Jenkins -- late call up to replace Paul Amey and then a broken wheel on the bike which saw him totally out of contention. That he ran to get a spare wheel and continued speaks volumes for his character.
Questions need to be asked of the BTA team management from the Performance Director, the Team Manager, the coaches and the support crew --- all these comments about tiredness after the Cyprus camp, the repeated indications that Dibens and Swallow were injured and yet the reserve wasn't called in, even the issue as far back as Madeira when they were all put through testing immediately after the World Championships. Something, somewhere isn't right. UPDATE: Apparently Maw was in a very up-beat mood yesterday after the womens race and saying how well Michelle had done. Sure, she had -- but what about the other two and, specifically, his golden girl Jodie Swallow? Up-beat... We don't think so!
The course and the conditions were the same for everyone -- and they were undoubtedly tough -- so was it the preparation, the philosophy or just that, on the day, the three green lights didn't come on? AJs comment about blowing on the bike seems to be borne out by looking at him coming around the headland for the last time in that lead group, he's not looking too happy there. And Tim, who technically is capable of making up that run differential held his place but didn't make any advance. Again, too much effort on the bike? Yet Greg Bennett, from Tim's group, ran like a demon and made 4th place and that was after a break attempt on the bike. And there was a telling comment from Bev Docherty after the race where he effectively said that it didn't matter to him that Hamish had won, as long as it was a member of the NZ team that was fine by him. And, possibly, there we have it. The Americans yesterday worked as a team to break the pack - principally the Australians - while today the Kiwis and the Swiss did the same thing. Teamwork -- it's a wonderful thing!
Two years to the Commonwealths in Melbourne where triathlon is definitely on the menu, four years to Beijing. That's time to make a change -- and that doesn't necessarily mean a change of athletes... Over to you, BTA!
Aug:26 Athens: The men are off
Results are going live onto the web, use this page to see what the commentators might not be able to... Oh, and thanks to all the people who sent in kind emails after yesterday's marathon typing session -- we'll try to do as well today.
After all the excitement of yesterday's race when Kate Allen blew the perceived wisdom into the water it's going to be interesting to see whether the men picked up any tips from the women. No real clues in the pre-race although Tim is definitely up for it if all the lights go green. AJ is much quieter but, again, we know that he can produce the goods on the day while Marc is definitely a wild card but the late call-up may well play to his advantage if all the tales of over-tiredness are true.
In the swim we now have a nice arrowhead with possibly Potts (USA) and Albert (EST) in the lead but there's nothing much in the way of clear water. At turn two the positions seem pretty much unchanged, the BBC have IDd Docherty in 3rd place. Michelle Dillon is still going on about her race yesterday where she claims that her suit zip was deliberately pulled -- like that doesn't happen at any event and at least she wasn't wearing a wetsuit...
Looks like Potts is now pulling clear but the gap at this stage looks like it will only benefit Docherty who is in a group of 5 or 6 about 10m back. The main bunch is about 20m back from that. Less than 2 minutes and they will be in T1.
Tim (13) and AJ (15) were both in the first group, Marc was slightly behind. The first hill will be a major decider -- anyone who gets a break here may be able to pull away. Robertson has pulled away to get a slight lead on the first climb but the group is still there and that lead has gone. Tim is there as is AJ so it looks as though this may well become a pack race. There are dangers in that, the descents are tricky and we may get crashes. And there's one already!
A lead group of 11 includes Docherty and Don plus Marceau and Henning. Krommidas (GRE) has gone in a crash. Three clear groups on the bike now with about 15 seconds between them. Lovely comment from Steve Trew that drafting helps to "break the wind"... The lead group has fragmented slightly on the descent from the headland, remember yesterday that Smet failed to bridge because she couldn't hold the American duo on the descents.
After 1 lap on the bike the lead group is 12 or 13 strong and also includes Robertson and Marceau. Whitfield, AJ and Marc Jenkins are in the second group about 15 seconds back. The two groups seem to be merging on the hill second time around. On the descent they have split again into five at the front and then a group of 10 with a couple just off the back. Hamish Carter is now up there. Whitfield and Llanos (ESP) are just off the back of the lead group - Tim is still in there. 15 in the lead group 23 seconds up and nearing the end of lap 2. Looks as though AJ has now bridged up to the lead group.
On lap 3 there's still confusion as to who is actually in the lead group, the commentary just said Bennett was up there but he's definitely in the second pack 22 seconds back. Just watched AJ on the hill and he's climbing like a storm (maybe it's the bike he's riding...). On the descent the lead group of 6 picks up on the descent -- AJ, Marceau and Riederer all based in Switzerland are in there which probably says something about their bike skills -- have pulled out a short lead. Docherty is in there as well. The lead group is 23 seconds up on the Don group and then 27 seconds back to Jenkins group. Bellaubre and Carter are in the lead group.
End of lap 3 and there are definitely three clear packs. The theory says that this lap should be consolidation -- the lead group needs to maintain its advantage and build on it. Anyone in the second group now has to decide whether to conserve energy for the run or try to bridge and work the lead group. A good runner in the second group is still in with a good shout. Just as we typed that Bennett seems to be making an effort to bridge up. The first two groups have separated to around 30 seconds, Bennett may have dropped back into the second group.
Jenkins is OUT -- he's running with his bike to an aid station so perhaps it's not completely over yet...
The lead group is 32 seconds up on the Don chase group at the start of lap 5. Whitfield and Rana are 1:28 back. Jenkins is at the wheel station and may be back in the race. It's still possible that a runner in group 2 can make the podium but it seems very unlikely that anyone in the third group could bridge up. The splits are now 41 seconds and 58 seconds. Tim seems to be working the second group to keep the gap as tight as possible. Interesting in the first group that there are two New Zealand and two Swiss clearly working together. AJ is, of course, on his own and will be having to monitor these surges while trying to conserve energy for the run. Gaps are nor 43 seconds and 1 minute.
AJ is off on the run still in the group of 6. Tim is off on the run about 45 seconds back. Settling down on the run Carter and Docherty are heading the group with Riederer -- AJ has dropped well back out of shot and there's a question as to his position. Belaubre and Marceau are chasing. There's no idea where AJ has gone... Local TV coverage is jumping around in the field and until the end of lap 1 of the run there's no way to get positions. AJ is 10th -- must have a problem. Tim is 7 seconds back in 12th. Suggestion that AJ is suffering from the heat...
Lap 2 of the run and the NZ pair are still at the front -- one wouldn't bet against either getting podium place unless Kate Allen is racing... Greg Bennett is up to 6th -- Mr Gold will be pleased -- and looks good as he moves into 4th past Belaubre and Marceau.
Still no change at the front but there's also no indication at all whether anyone is moving up through the field. Obviously they haven't learned the lesson from yesterday as far as the local TV is concerned -- the BBC crew are watching the same pictures as everyone else so don't blame them. At the end of the lap it's 30 seconds back for Bennett. AJ is 1:57 back with Tim at 2:19 -- miracles will be required to get a medal today.
Jenkins is still racing -- definitely for pride, he didn't even have the slowest bike split after running for the spare wheel! -- and Riederer looks pooped but is still hanging in there but we would expect Bennett to blow through at some point judging by the pace he's going at -- he's just 18 seconds back. Carter moves ahead of Docherty with less than a k to go. He's well clear and sure of the Gold. No last minute changes, Docherty takes Silver and Riederer gets Bronze. Bennett 4th which must be a huge disappointment for him as he was so close.
AJ takes 16th with Tim 18th. Surely something went wrong with AJ as he was ideally placed off the bike? However, there are plenty of other serious players who are also even further down on the field: Whitfield, Rana, Robertson, Gaag so the conditions and course obviously took their toll. AJ said afterwards that he "had spent all his biscuits" on the bike -- no comment yet from Tim.
We are off to talk to some folk in Athens and see what the fall out of all this is -- more later when we've recovered. Full results will be on the official website or via the ITU website.
What a race! All the way to the line it looked like the philosophy that the strong swimmer/biker would be in with the medals and then Kate Allen, 44th out of the swim and 12th biker, pulls off a world class 33:48 run and blows Harrop away in the last 100 metres or so. Which, in a way, totally vindicates Andrea Whitcombe's argument that her running would bring her back into medal contention -- should she have been selected.
So, why wasn't she selected? Given that Swallow's fitness was always a doubt and there were constant stories of a recurrence of her Achilles injury coming out of Cyprus it seems completely inexplicable that her selection was upheld when there was a genuine injury worry which could have seen her replaced. Even more worrying were the stories that Julie Dibens was also injured and had been seen limping -- possibly even having pain killing injections -- which pretty much left Dillon with no support. That she pulled up into 6th is a real credit to her: and it's also a credit to Dibens and Swallow that they both finished, lesser minded athletes would have tanked it way before.
UPDATE: There's a telling comment by Allen on the ITU website: "I concentrated on one race in my whole career and this was it. I tapered for three weeks." Compare that the Michelle Dillon's post race comment that she had come into the event feeling tired and one really does have to question what has been going on at the GB training camps. Allen will not have had the level of backup that the UK Lottery funding provides -- one suspects that the two coaches that she lists on her bio and her husband may well be all that she can call on. However, on the day she was certainly better prepared than anything we had to offer.
So, the real question is who shoulders the responsibility for making the decisions? It's hard to see anyone other that Graeme Maw as being the man with questions to answer -- although it was interesting to note that Bert Appleton was the man being interviewed and Maw's name was never mentioned. As Team Manager, Bert probably takes the day-to-day responsibility for looking after the athletes but he is undoubtedly directed by Maw and it's that direction that many have been calling into question.
Tomorrow's race will be different -- for lots of reasons -- but for today let's give all the praise that she's due to Kate Allen -- long course athletes can go quick!
Aug:25 Athens: The women are off
You can also follow commentary on the BBC website -- the ITU cannot carry anything because of broadcast restrictions. Apparently Peter Coulson (BTA Chair) is with the Radio 5 Live team should you be stuck with radio...
It's 82° in Vouliagmeni and the women are in the water... Nice clean start and it looks like Taormina is in the lead group with Harrop and Lindquist. The swim has split into three groups and it's not yet clear that there is a GB athlete in the lead group.
Out of the swim first were Taormina, Harrop, Lindquist and Hill. First Brit was Dibens about 8 places back, then Swallow and Dillon some way back. The lead group is well spread with Taormina, Harrop and Lindquist getting away cleanly first, not the normal huge pack. This will be interesting!! Soldan (BRA) has hit the barrier going up the first hill and fallen off - looks like she is out. Taormina and Harrop now have a good lead on lap 1 and are beginning to work together. Williams and Lindquist were working well together as a chase pair and Williams then hit a barrier and fell. She's back on and chasing again.
At the end of lap 1 Harrop and Taormina have the best part of 40 seconds advantage. Dibens is currently 9th, Swallow 20th -- both well over a minute back. Dillon is nearly 2 minutes down. On the second lap big climb we can see Dibens and Swallow together in the chase pack that's trailing Williams and Lindquist. Smet has popped out of the group and is trying to bridge to the Williams/Lindquist pair.
End of lap 2 and there's no much change at this point. Unless the two lead pairs crack under the pressure the only change that's likely to happen on this lap is that Smet will turn the chase pair into a trio which may well be able to work even more effectively.
End of lap 3 and still no change. Smet still hasn't quite made the bridge but she's nearly there. Time gaps between the groups aren't changing. Dillon is on the back of the main chase group. Possibly the best hope is for Swallow and Dibens to tow Dillon through and get a decent crack for the run but Swallow is drifting off the back of the group. The lead pair is 2:30 up on the chase group so, barring accidents then the medals are going to come out of the first five -- or not...
Last lap on the bike and the groups are pretty much unchanged except that Smet is now drifing back towards the chase group having failed to bridge up. It looks like her problem is that she simply isn't as confident on the descents as the American duo.
Big change at the front, Harrop has gone away from Taormina on the big hill. Looks like Taormina may now join up with Williams and Lindquist and work as a trio to keep the gap as small as possible. Commentary says that Swallow is now a minute back off the chase group...
End of the bike, Harrop is 20 seconds up on the US trio with Smet following in. The chase group with Dibens and Dillon is 2:47 back. On lap 1 of the run Lindquist has been separated from the Taormina/Williams pair. Smet is still chasing in 5th.
End of lap 1 on the run and the places are the same but the Taormina/Williams pair is now splitting with Williams going ahead. Dillon is clinging on to a top 10 place while Swallow is 30th and there must surely be some serious questions as to her selection once all the dust hass settled. Someone, somewhere (and we pretty much all know who) made a really bad call on this one.
Who described this run course as flat? Into lap 3 with Harrop in the lead, Williams in second and it's now going to be a battle to hold the gold with the bronze almost certainly coming from Taormina or Smet -- Lindquist looks stuffed -- unless someone bridges from the group. Dillon is 8th at 2:04 behind Harrop so it doesn't look like GB will be in with a chance.
Looks like Taormina has gone with Smet taking third. Commentary has just described Swallow as "jogging"...
Big changes now, Allen (AUT) -- better known for her long course work -- has blown through Williams into Silver -- is this correct? She's even got Harrop and taken the Gold slot!!
Amazing, Allen (AUT) nicked it from Harrop (AUS) with Williams (USA) 3rd, Smet (BEL) 4th, Cortassa (ITA) 5th. Dillon placed 6th, Dibens 30th and Swallow 34th. Full results can be found here.
Video ready? TV at work? Alarms set? 8am tomorrow sees the culmination of all sorts of preparations, fears, doubts and personal goals as the womens triathlon kicks off at Vouliagmeni. The venue certainly looks prepared -- anyone else recognise the bike stands as looking very like the model designed for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester? -- and all the feedback that we've been getting from both Cyprus and Athens suggests that GB is in with as much of a chance as anyone else. Whilst one obviously hopes for a clean sweep on the podium both tomorrow and Thursday it's clear that it isn't going to be like Sydney where Simon Lessing was being hyped as a serious contender for the Gold. Both the course and the conditions are going to play a major part in the race: it's a non-wetsuit swim so it's imperative that anyone with medal aspirations hits the shore with the lead pack, there's going to be no Kelly Holmes tactics here. Any lost time on the bike is going to be hard to regain; that hill will sap the legs five times and, while the the final 10k is essentially flat, the heat will begin to play a major factor as the athletes will be running hot after their effort on the bike.
Those looking to the test event to determine form should consider that it was run in late OCTOBER under very different conditions to those likely to prevail tomorrow and Thursday. You can follow the event live on BBC1 and we also expect coverage on the ITU TV website plus we'll be putting updates online here as the race unfolds.
Aug:24 Update on HIMUK
Nothing stupendous to report but here's an interesting tidbit. Apparently Liz Blatchford's gear cable snapped about 10k into the ride leaving her stuck in the smallest sprocket -- presumably with just the choice of big ring and small ring. This seems to have cost her about 6 minutes on the bike making her 4th place overall a very creditable performance indeed.
The Sevenoaks Tri on September 12th is now full.
Aug:23 Sherborne report
There's an excellent report with pictures on the xtri.com website.
Manchester Disability Tri
Westhoughton Leisure Centre in Bolton will play host to a first in Greater Manchester, an event that will see young people of all disabilities participating in a triathlon. The event takes place on Saturday 9th October and will hopefully see more than 100 athletes from across Greater Manchester participating as part of Senior Sports Development Officer Natalie Woodford's plans to work in partnership with the BTA to create events and a development plan to increase the number of Athletes with Disabilities in the sport. The UK already has some great athletes in the form of Paula Craig and Chris Brogan, both of whom competed in Cancuun and have also competed in the wheelchair event in the London Marathon.
This is the second event in the plan for Athletes with Disabilities. In 2003 an event ran at Deane Leisure Centre for children from Bolton and Salford Schools with Learning Difficulties participating in a 100m swim, 500m cycle and 500m run. If you are aged between 8 and 16 years and would like an entry form for the event please contact Natalie Woodford at The Wellsprings, 2nd Floor, Civic Centre, Bolton BL1 1US, by phone on 01204 334238 or email [email protected]
Apologies for last night's spelling mistakes... Long day...
A betting man would probably have lost his shirt today; both mens and womens races went against the predictions of the assembled breakfast panel. Craig Walton led out the swim and bike but was run down by Xavier le Floch (FRA) with Gael Mainard (FRA) third. Duncan McKerracher was 4th, Dirk Bockel 5th, Richard Jones 6th, Ain-Alar Juhanson 7th, Nick Marland 8th, Lothar Leder 9th and Paul Gallacher 10th. Spencer finished 11th after a little tumble at the end of the bike when his shoe got caught in the rear wheel.
For the women Sibylle Matter (SUI) took the win ahead of Merja Kiviranta with Fiona Docherty 3rd. Liz Blatchford took 4th continuing her recent run of form with Beth Thomson 5th, Sione Jongstra 6th and Catriona Morrison 7th.
One small statistic worthy of note is that no less than 101 2-minute drafting penalties were issued plus a further handful of DQs for double drafting calls. These, apparently, represent the blatant wheel suckers and not the groups that tended to form and disperse as the waves merged or began the second lap. Oh, and four idiots decided to use personal music systems... Wasted day for them also as that's a DQ as well.
Results should go on their website real soon.
An interesting note just appeared on the BTA website about an Information Giving and Gathering Exercise taking place tonight at the Esporta Club in Crawley. Apparently this is an Executive Board exercise intended to gather information from event organisers in the region, improve knowledge and so on. Interesting, therefore, that one of the Executive Board based in the South East knew absolutely nothing about it and both he and another prominent event organiser in the region are currently many miles away attending another important event. Another interesting point is that the Southern Region will shortly be absorbed into a new and enlarged South East Region -- but as far as we tell nobody in Southern Region knows anything about the evening's entertainment either.
Whilst this may well be a classic case of "forgot to put it in the diary" (although we checked with another EB member who also knew nowt about it) it strikes us as odd that the BTA should arrange such an important meeting a) in the holiday period, b) on a weekend when people will be mainly concerned with Sherborne or Milton Keynes and c) with a reminder posted late on the same day and then promptly covered by another posting. Or, maybe, the BTA would be very happy not to have to talk to a number of mightily annoyed organisers who regard it as trying to take the cream off the top of the race organisers cake. We predict that someone will be very lonely at the Esporta Club in Crawley tonight...
Just 80 places left for the QR Cotswold Sprint Triathlon on September 12th at Keynes Country Park, Cotswold Water Park, near Cirencester. So if you want to enter, get those entries in fast. Both Michelle Dillon and Stuart Hayes are already entered so you could be racing against an Olympic Champion? Forms available at: www.americanbicycle.eu.com or email [email protected]
Batman, aka Mike Griffiths, will be heading for Sherborne this weekend to raise more money for the ASPIRE charity -- that's the one for people with spinal injuries like Paula Craig. He obviously after as much ready cash as you can spare (assuming you haven't bet it all on the Olympics) and you can pledge via his JustGiving website. We are all decamping to Sherborne tomorrow and, if the satellite internet connection they had last year is in place again, we'll be posting regular reports, maybe even some pictures this time....
For those who might have forgotten, and there's precious little out there to remind them, this Sunday is the National Duathlon Championships. Without wishing to go over the farce that saw them switched from Milton Keynes to Swansea at the BTA's request and then quietly handed back when someone realised that running an National Championships at the same time as a European Championships probably wasn't going to work... ...Anyway, the race is back with BigCow and will be taking place at 8.30am on Sunday at Emberton Country Park near Milton Keynes. Distances are 10k (4 laps), 40k (2 laps) and 5k (2 laps). Anybody wishing to take part can still enter on the day but needs to be at the Park by 7.00am -- there's plenty of room in the race if you fancy a stab at a National Title in your age group. There's also a Triple-X Sprint Triathlon on at 8am if you don't fancy the duathlon. More information is available on the BigCow website.
Some might call us cynical (we prefer "previously disappointed") but surely the BTA should be banging a drum here? After all, it was their mis-directed efforts that led to the event being switched around from venue to venue and management team to management team in the first place. And, at least for triathlon, they are trying to take on running all the Nationals this year. Yet there's no mention on the BTA website about the event -- at least none that we can see. Plenty about the kids going to Liverpool, HIMUK and a disability triathlon in Manchester but the only domestic duathlon with a mention is Swansea. [UPDATE: obviously something spurred them into action as a news item appeared this evening...]
Well, at least for the three German triathletes reportedly caught taking them. Nothing to do with the German team that's gone to Athens but, according to an article in the Dutch Telegraaf newspaper/website, three athletes have been caught; two while abroad and one at domestic races. Oddly we can't find any articles protesting the ITU testing policies on the German federation website...
After several days of happy news items out of Cyprus it's all gone a bit quiet. We heard that Andrea Whitcombe's arrival there was not exactly greeted by bunting and cheers, while her coach/partner seems to have been parked down the road a bit: perhaps the recent boat rocking in the press has upset the Performance Director? With about a week to go before the team decamp to Vouliagmeni it would be nice to get some idea of the state of their preparations and to know that everyone was fit and healthy. In the run-up to Sydney we lost Julie Dibens to injury (replaced by Michell Dillon) and AJ got the flu (although he still competed but probably shouldn't have...). It's been a week since the last BTA website update and they aren't normally this slow in getting good news out.
While all the stars are lining up for Athens there's still plenty of racing going on and this weekend saw Catriona Morrison, Annaliese Heard, Kerry Lang and Jessica Harrison grab the top four places at the Michelob Ultra Lough Neagh Triathlon in Ballyronan, Co Derry. Duncan McKerracher placed 4th in the mens race.
The North Devon Triathlon on Sunday 19th September has had to be canceled due to another larger event taking place at North Devon Leisure Centre on the same weekend. Alternative arrangements to allow the race to still take place were investigated but unfortunately proved unsuccessful. Full refunds are being returned to those already entered.
The second Concept 2 Rowathlon series is all set to kick off. After the success of the first series last year, the organisers are promising bigger and better for 2004/5. As before, competitors race on Concept 2 Indoor Rowers instead of swimming before the bike and run legs. Distances for each discipline at the four rounds of this year's championship vary, with points from each event deciding the series mens and womens champions. The first event takes place at Castle Combe Race Circuit on Sunday 15th August with the remaining rounds of the series taking place at Reading Velodrome on Sunday 4th September, Thruxton Race Circuit on Sunday 26th September and Marlow Rowing Club on Sunday 3rd October. Further information is available from the Concept 2 website.
Regular readers of this website will know the esteem in which we hold Dan Empfield and, yes, this is another one of those links to his Slowtwitch website. A few days ago we commented that one of the problems with London was tracking what happened to the participants. That, and the fact that the commentators are not able to add up: the number of athletes taking part changed twice during the programme -- neither figure was anywhere NEAR accurate -- and if London really does have more competitors than all the other UK events added together then the calendar will be pretty empty next year...
In his latest "Back Page" piece, Dan talks about numbers and it's quite scary to realise that even a federation as well organised as USAT (we speak relatively, you understand..) doesn't know where its members are coming from or going to. When they tweaked the membership fee to steer people away from day membership it worked for a year and now seems to be slipping back. There's a lesson here, folks. For a LONG time we've been banging the drum of a racing licence as the basis for taking part in events and selling the "benefits" as a separate package. If everyone has a licence then it's possible to track them through the sport and it's also possible to control them better: imagine a panel on the licence that was used for endorsements. Say, 3 DQ offences and you're no longer eligible for any form of National status so your ranking points vanish, you lose your slot at the Worlds, etc. It's an idea...
Anyway, back to Dan's piece. We guess the crux of the matter is that in order to manage the sport you have to control it. You have to know who is taking part, why and how often. That needs a strong management team looking after the grass roots of the sport. Not, as is the case within the BTA, of a whole slew of people pushing huge slabs of Lottery and other ring-fenced money toward a tiny minority (elite, youth, etc) while, if we're generous, less than a handful are involved with servicing the paid-up members. In our view, and that of a lot of people who talk to us, the situation has got to change. November/December would seem like a good time to start...
Oh, and for the record, London had 4482 individuals finished in both sprint and standard distance plus 80 elite and 120 kids. A further 455 relay teams and 26 financial teams also took part. That makes 4682 complete triathletes and 1,443 additional participants who only did one of the three disciplines. That makes it a very close call for the title of World's Biggest against one of the Mrs Ts Triathlons in Chicago a few years back but we think London does have the edge on numbers. Don't get us wrong, we're not knocking the fact that London has grown into this size of event -- even in the earliest days it had plans to get this big -- but we do wish that the spin doctors/PR people would be a little more accurate when the data is there for all to see.
If you're a serial Ironman junkie (with or without the m-dot affilliation) and you're in need of a bit more of a challenge than, say, Lanzarote or Hawaii and with a bit more of the old social atmosphere then take a look at the Norseman Extreme. It took place last weekend and there were a number of Brits taking part -- including our old mate Neil Keirs! The website is dual language so you'll have no problems understanding what's going on here, you definitely want to look at the course profile... And, for those seeking confirmation that you really do run up a bloody great mountain, there's a nice picture gallery here. Not sure what a BTA re would make of all the nudity in transition but, hey, who cares -- it's long course and they are a nicer kind of people. Thanks to Tim Byrne for the pointer.
Half Ironman UK at Sherborne is Spencer's last chance to get a Hawaii slot for 2004 and sifting through the email we get a pointer that Craig Walton is likely to be after one too. Like Spence, he's had a pretty unhappy year on the racing front and so may be hungrier for that slot than some of the others racing. Interestingly Craig is not listed in the official competitor list that's on the HIMUK website so we do hope he's got his entry sorted out...
And now, for a change, a story that has nothing at all to do with the BTA or Athens...
In their continual search to up the stakes in Reality TV, you now have an opportunity to join the 2005 Fulda Tyres Extreme Arctic Challenge. This takes place in Canada's Yukon Valley and the prize for the winning team is a pair of Klondike gold nuggets with an estimated value of CDN $10,000 (around £4,200 at today's rates). As well as all the usual dog sledding, ice climbing, snowshoeing and skiing in -35°C you'll also get do do wackier things like car pulling and changing tyres (Fulda tyres, of course) and so on. Teams from Canada, Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy will be taking part so if you fancy a piece of the action (or a bit of a nugget) then contact or via email for further details or an application form. Alternatively, apply online at www.fulda.co.uk. Short-listed applicants will be invited to compete in a selection event in the UK (11-12 September 2004) before competing in the final Fulda Tyres Challenge elimination event in Sulden, Italy in September (30 September-4 October).
As we predicted last night, the whole story is now up on the BTA website with a statement by Peter Coulson. So, now we wait quietly for three weeks, watch the event and then decide whether Graeme Maw and the Performance Committee were right or whether the assembled community were. Until then let's give our support to the team and keep all our fingers crossed that Jodie is actually super-fit and raring to go and Maw has just been playing a clever game with us all...
So, the BTA website has carried the announcement of Paul Amey's accident and subsequent replacement (and they finally announced the replacement on Thursday 5th, 8 hours after this was originally posted...). Just why is the formal announcement taking so long -- surely the BOA can't have any issue with replacing an injured athlete? Well, no, they don't -- just as if an athlete in the squad were taken ill, it's a legitimate reason for the reserve to be called it. In fact Marc's picture is on the BOA website...
What hasn't been seen is any announcement about the womens team -- although there's been loads of press coverage about it. We, like many other observers, felt that Jodie Swallow had failed to meet Graeme Maw's criteria of performing at a World Cup prior to departing for the Cyprus holding camp and, therefore, the reserve should be brought in. Indeed, word reached us late Monday that that's exactly the decision that Graeme Maw had reached... ...except that apparently that's not a viable reason to replace an athlete.
By creating a selection criteria where the third place was open to award by a panel that was using past performance as a measure of future prospects it was entirely reasonable that Jodie's 2nd place performance at the Athens test event would be considered. The fact that she was recovering from injury and was not race fit did not seem to matter: the panel decided she could prove her fitness later in the day at either Salford or Tiszaujvaros. What they seem to have failed to grasp is that, once selected, they would be unable to remove an athlete on the grounds of being unfit. This, we believe, is the reason that the announcements are taking so long to emerge -- the BTA is trying to resolve their conundrum without making it even more of a farce than it already is.
Someone, somewhere, is going to have to be held responsible for this mess; whether the Executive Board, the Performance Committee, the Selection Panel or one of the BTA employees like Norman Brook or Graeme Maw. The words of the Sports Dispute Resolution Panel in their judgement on Andrea Whitcombe's appeal now seem ever more prophetic -- except that even they were thinking four years down the line and not here, now, for Athens!
At the end of the day you have to feel sorry for all the athletes; Amey for his injury, Swallow for hers and her subsequent inability to prove fitness; Whitcombe for being totally unsure of where she stands and, of course, all the rest for being caught up in the mess. Not the best way to prepare for a world-beating performance in three weeks time.
During the past few hours we have heard various rumours (and had multiple confirmations) concerning the GB Olympic squad; the most serious of which is that Paul Amey had crashed on the bike during training and has sustained a broken pelvis. Obviously this has put paid to his chances of going to Athens and so Marc Jenkins is now reportedly drafted in to replace him with Stuart Hayes taking up the reserve slot. Stu has performed well recently at both Salford and London and this undoubtedly stood him in good stead with the selection panel.
On the female side of the team, we understand -- although this is not yet 100% confirmed -- that Jodie Swallow has withdrawn completely with the obvious inference that Andrea Whitcombe moves up from reserve to the main team and the likelihood of Leanda Cave being awarded the reserve slot. Jodie's selection has been the subject of much debate in recent weeks given that she made it into the team on the basis of her second place at the Athens test event rather than at any qualifier. In fairness to Jodie it has to be said that if she had not been plagued by injury and had been able to race through the season in the same way that the others have then her selection would have been an obvious one. However, with no indication of any race fitness; a crash at Salford resulting in a DNF followed by a weak bike and run in Tiszaujvaros, it was increasingly hard to see how the selectors could maintain their position.
Full details will doubtless appear on the BTA website.
Jess Draskau Petersson missed the podium at the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships in Fredercia, by just 28 seconds. Mark McKay took 16th and Phil Mosley 25th in the mens race. In the age group event GB scored four gold medals; Michelle Parsons, Edwina Brocklesby, Corina Cramer, David Gardner, one silver; Amanda Schofield and three bronze medals; Bob Luck, John Booth, Nia Parry. Full details on the ITU website.
At the Tiszaujvaros ITU World Cup Leanda Cave was the best placed Brit in 6th, Anneliese Heard was 13th and, having led out the swim and then gone backwards through the field on the bike and run, Jodie Swallow finished 16th. This, surely, must place the BTA's selection panel in a bit of a quandry as this was the race that, barring an "Act of God" Swallow was required to perform at in order to prove her race fitness for Athens. Andrew Johns pitched up 10th in the mens race. Full details on the ITU website.
UPDATE: Here are some external links discussing the Swallow vs Whitcombe issue: The Times, BBC Sport and The Telegraph.
At London, Andrea Whitcombe took the win in the womens race with Liz Blatchford second and Jess Harrison third. All three came from a lead group of seven that were a country mile ahead of the rest. In the mens race Bev Docherty [NZL] won with Fred Belaubre [FRA] second and Stu Hayes third. Oliver Freeman and Rosie Clarke won the junior event. Sadly, during the Saturday races, a competitor took ill and died during the swim leg. Our thoughts are with their family. Full race results are on the London Triathlon website.
It's the weekend, it must be another triathlon... This time it's London, the biggest event in the calendar -- at least as far as the thousands of tri newbies are concerned. Two days of racing, a huge field, a major expo and a route which, for the favoured few, takes in the major sites of London.
This is undoubtedly an event which has matured and it would be very interesting to know how many people who do London do actually stay within the sport. There are, in our opinion, three types of people who do London; the experienced athlete (possibly the smallest group these days), the repeat customer (ie, done London before but not necessarily any other events) and the first time London athlete. The question is, just how many of those who have trained for London actually stay with the sport? And, possibly more importantly for the BTA, how many of them stay with the sport as members?
Any ideas, anyone?
The BTA website carries a piece today which effectively seems to be saying that Jodie Swallow will be going to Athens, even if another traffic cone bounces into her path and spoils this weekend's race in Hungary. As others have observed, this seems to make a mockery of the whole selection process; she didn't take part in any of the selection races, failed to complete the course at Salford (and we acknowledge that the crash was not her fault, but other athletes did fall and then continue...) and is now being effectively passed as fit before she has actually completed a major test.
The BTA site also passes mention of Andrea's appeal but skips over the comments that the Sports Dispute Resolution Panel made (see report below). But then, the BTA generally does pass on any external comments... Or, to be more precise, the BTA's Chief Executive and the Chairman seem to -- other Board members being rather more forthcoming in their comments. The time has come for change: change at a national level, and that means getting members to vote at the AGM to elect a Board that represents the interests of the members and not those seeking political advantage and furtherance in a career in sports administration.
Good money on offer
Nothing to do with the above, this is the confirmation that Team Outrageous' Escape to Alcatraz race on September 19th has equal prize money for male and female athletes with the top three taking £1000, 750 and £500 respectively.
For those following the Salford story, and more specifically the early exit of Julie Dibens and Jodie Swallow on the bike, the update is that neither were more than bruised and they spend at least part of the afternoon doing a turbo session back in their hotel room. The rogue cone has been given a serious ticking off -- doubtless it and the camera bike that dislodged it into their path will get some form of star billing on next week's Grandstand. The evening awards dinner was most entertaining with ITU President Les McDonald using the occasion to pass comment on the BTA's Chairman and Chief Executive that wasn't quite as positive as the praise he laid on the shoulders of the Salford team and John Lunt's Human Race crew for staging the event.
The ITU TV coverage was excellent - there should be a live video compilation online today with some cracking footage; including Stannard's early header into the dock which got him a ticking off from referee Paul Groves in T1. Stan the Man was so intent of listening to Paul that he started to head out on the bike with his wetsuit still flapping round his waist -- at least he would have stayed warm on the bike!
However, moments of the day had to be the age grouper who put goggles back on in the run to T1 so he could see better in the rain and the huge delight of Maik Petzold in taking the mens win. Despite the miserable weather it has to be said that Salford, Manchester and Trafford still did the event proud and the volunteers and crew deserve a lot more praise and credit than certain eGroup messages have been giving out this morning.
Lessing secures Hawaii slot
Lessing romped home at Lake Placid, the thick end of 15 minutes up on second place Luke Bell and secured his ticket for Hawaii later in the year. Reports on the ironmanlive website. In contrast, Spencer now has a warm-up at London and then a second crack at qualification in Sherborne.
The weather has turned out nice again this year, it's not actually raining yet! We'll try to keep you up to date with the age group race as it goes on through the morning and you can follow the elite from 10:30 with live commentary, results and pictures through the ITU TV website.
Top racing at the World Cup with Michelle Dillon taking Gold, Mirinda Carfrae [AUS] Silver and Liz Blatchford Bronze. For the men Maik Petzold [GER] took the win from Stuart Hayes with Steffan Justus [GER] filling out the podium. The mens result was not one that we would have predicted from the assembled field but it was defintely a case of the young turks taking it up on the bike and then holding their place through the run. Full results and race story on the ITU website.
The age group race results will appear on the Salford website.
Freshly recovered from her 3rd place in Ironman Austria only 3 weeks ago, in one of the fastest ever times by a British female, Jess Draskau Petersson prepares to head to Denmark this week for the world long course duathlon championships. Having run two of the three quickest Ironman marathons in the world over the last 12 months, Jess looks in good form for a high placing in an event which sees her weakest leg (the swim) replaced with another run leg. While she has been in the UK she has been working with Steve Ward of maximumpotentialuk.com, one of the foremost mental skills coaches and is hoping to use this to add a new edge to her performance. Jess would also like to thank the Tri Store in Eastbourne for supplying her with New Balance shoes, which were used to good effect in Austria.
This weekend will see the strongest field of elite triathletes to date racing in Salford at the Countryside Properties Salford Triathlon ITU World Cup. And, with just one month to go before Athens it should be an interesting indicator of form. As well as the elite field there will be 600 age-group competitors including Jane Tomlinson, celebrity chef Jean Christophe Novelli, ITV1 children's TV programme star Tony Gardner (My Parents are Aliens) and Sir Rocco Forte. As always, the event will take place over the course used by the 2002 Commonwealth Games and last year's ITU Triathlon World Cup, when a crowd of 40,000 turned out.
This could also be the most connected event in the UK with the ITU running its ITUTV website from the event so if you can't make it to Salford you should be able to follow it live on the internet.
Andrew Johns, last year's winner and GB Olympic hopeful comments: "It is always a great feeling to race at Salford as the course is superb and you always receive a great reception from the crowd. 2003 was something quite special, to finish in first position on home soil was such an honour - now I have tasted the win I'm hungry for more!"
Les McDonald, The President of the International Triathlon Union comments: "Legacy for cities is important to the ITU, so we are pleased and proud that Salford is hosting its second ITU World Cup in 2004. The city should be satisfied with its achievement of being one of the best organised ITU races in 2003, and the ITU fully anticipate that Salford will raise the bar even higher this weekend."
For more information on the Salford Triathlon ITU World Cup, or for further information visit their website, email or call the hotline on 0161 848 8601.
Sad (but expected) news; the Yorkshire Dales events scheduled for Aug-01 have had to be cancelled due to only receiving a total of 33 entries across the 4 events to be staged. Hopefully the event can stage a recovery next year and regain its place as the oldest and toughest on the race calendar.
Helen Wootton kindly sent in a report about the other Race Across America -- the one on bikes. She was part of a team of Brit triathletes who took on the Americans and won. Read their story here...
So, you've done the odd double and triple Ironman, even done the deca, and then you even ran across Australia for a bit of light relief. Bored? How about running across America -- a mere 3,100 miles in 70 days? Brit Bob Brown is currently in the lead by some 26 hours, you can catch the details in an article on the Guardian website.
Busy weekend overseas: At Corner Brook they avoided the horrific weather that beset Edmonton last weekend: Andrea Whitcombe placed 4th, Anneliese Heard 5th and Jess Harrison 8th while Richard Allen was 9th man and Marc Jenkins 10th. Down the road was the Life Time Fitness "Equaliser" where the men and women effectively race together but with the women getting a time advantage - winner takes all. And, yes, the women again took home the booty. Leanda Cave took 4th woman, Julie Dibens 9th and Paul Amey was a DNF.
Over in Europe at the ETU Long Distance Championships at Immenstadt honorary Brit Lisbeth Kristensen took the win a mere two weeks after her outing at Sater in the ITU Long Course Champs. Rachel Horn was 4th, Beth Thomson 9th and Anne Fallows 11th. Stephen Baylis was 11th man.
After a suspenseful three-week wait the Sports Dispute Resolution Panel have ruled that BTA did not break it's own Olympic selection criteria by selecting Jodie Swallow ahead of Andrea Whitcombe. However, in an unprecedented move, the SDRP criticized the BTA's Olympic selection process for its "poor drafting" and then went on to add: "It is apparent from our decision that there are features of this particular selection process which clearly need improvement for the future. We trust that they will be given due consideration in everyone's interests." Needless to say, the BTA website remains quiet on the issue -- as it has done throughout. Still, a few days to go before we'll see Jodie Swallow in action at Salford and find out how the training programme has been going for her... ...and whether she's in a competetive enough state for Athens.
AJ went one better than in 2003 when he won the ITU European International Cup in Echternach yesterday. With Ivan Rana (ESP) dropping out after the bike AJ was in a good position to take a commanding lead with Richard Cunningham (AUS) and Michael Raelert filling out the podium. Full results on the ETU website.
The Milton Keynes Triathlon looks like it's going to be the biggest yet with around 1,000 competitors taking part. Big Cow are still taking entries so if your're looking for a race on Sunday 25th July and don't fancy the trip North to Manchester you could always visit the home of the concrete cows. This year's theme is the Wild West with a £50 cash prize for the best cowboy or cowgirl who takes part in the race -- presumably whips and spurs count as banned equipment... There will also be lots of activities for the kids and the usual trade stands and refreshment outlets. For more information go to the Big Cow website.
News from triathlon scotland that Monikie will now take place on Saturday 10 July as a duathlon due to poor water quality. The race will be over 11k (approx) run, 40k bike then 2.2k run. This race will now qualify for ranked status in the Duathlon series and, obviously, it will no longer be part of the grand prix or standard series. As this reduces the number of standard ranked events to 6 (one of which is Orkney) the STA have reduced the number required for a ranking in this category to 3.
At Holten last weekend Karen Sindall placed 6th, Kristina Semple 9th and Steph Forrester 11th.
If you haven't entered Countryside Properties Salford Triathlon yet then you need to get a move on as entries close on Friday. After that you'll go on a waiting list to pick up any drop-outs. More information on the event website.
Well it's looking as though Spencer is either out of Ironman Austria or he's lost his chip -- nothing reported since 60k on the bike. Jess finished as 3rd woman in 9.24 after a sterling performance on the bike (5:10) and run (3:00), Richard Jones was 24th man. As an idea of how fast the couse is at Austria 549 people finished in under 11 hours! Compare that to 377 people at Ironman Canada or follow the race live on the WTC website or the Sater website.
At Sater Lisbeth Kristensen (DEN but an honorary Brit given her close association with AJ!) came second aftre being pipped at the post by Tamara Kozulina (UKR) in the womens race with Bella Comerford 4th and Sarah Gross 6th. Rachel Horn seems to have been a DNF. In the men's race Russell Kober was 26th and Stephen Bayliss 37th after the run. Live results on the event website.
Results for Sater, both elite and age group, are all now on their website. Congratulations to Scott Balfour (55-59) and Budd Johnson (45-49) on their Gold medals.
See this page for results from the European Championships -- looks like lots of great performances by GBR age groupers! In the Junior Men we have Ollie Freeman as Gold with Will Clarke as Silver ( Dan Brook 13th, David Giles 41st and Stuart Brown 57th) while in the Junior Women Rosie Clarke was 19th, Lauren O'Neill 23rd and Stephanie Wilson 41st. In the ITU European race Jess Harrison was 3rd with Tanja Allen 4th. The Elite race tomorrow, follow the results on the the Datasport website.
You can follow Ironman Austria on the Ironmanlive website tomorrow, we'll be down at Bournemouth so it anyone hears a result -- please let us know!!
Mike Russell still has places at the Team Outrageous European Escape from Alcatraz qualifier and, in addition, anyone doing their standard distance event this weekend will also have the option of a slot in the race. See their website for details.
A busy weekend for GB athletes with the Europeans in Lausanne, long course in Sater and Spence, Richard Jones and Jess Draskau Petersson all going for a Hawaii slot at Ironman Austria. Best wishes to all of them and we'll try to keep you posted with any news that we get.
After our comments regarding the presence, or otherwise, of GB Chairman Peter Coulson at Geel, it's interesting to note that he's published his plans to be in Lausanne this weekend on the BTA website. Surely we didn't have any influence on that happening... Of course, Lausanne is in Switzerland, which is also where Sarah Springman is based and both Peter and Norman Brook have invested a significant amount of time in championing her cause to become Les McDonald's successor so perhaps Peter's visit may have more than one motive.
Thanks to one of the regular readers for some results from the European Xterra Championships last Saturday. Chris Volley (Elite) 13th, Damian Thacker (30-34) 3rd, Mark Booth (40-44) 3rd, Bruce Smart (40-44) 9th, Adam Teal (30-34) 14th and Darren Smith (35-39) 17th. Full results are at http://www.xterra.cz/vysledky/Hluboka2004M.htm
Jun:30 New sponsor
Welcome to Velomax who are kindly sponsoring a link on the Results page. They join long-time sponsor BigCow in helping keep the site funded.
As nobody else seems to know anything about this, the BTA website has absolutely no reference to it that we can find, we though that you might like to know that the BTA Youth Championships will be taking place tomorrow at the Aqua Pura Eton Supersprints. Boys kick off at 9.30, the girls go at 9.34 and the race is draft legal so it should be fast and furious. There will be racing right through the day with a further 12 waves going over the 400m 19k 5k closed circuit. Eton is a great venue to come and spectate, the car parking system means that you can get access to the venue while the racing is on so, if you aren't taking part in anything else on Sunday, you could always come down and cheer on the next generation of triathletes. Details on the Human Race website.
In something of a marketing coup, Mike Russell's Team Outrageous have secured the rights to hold a European qualifying race for the Escape from Alcatraz race in 2005. The event will be on September 19th and run over the existing standard distance course used by Team Outrageous' Jul-11 race. In addition to the 20 male and 20 female slots, a further 8 will be available in a prize draw. All slots must be paid for on the day. Team Outrageous will also be donating one accommodation and travel package to a lucky prize draw winner.
Entry forms are available on the organiser's website or by sending an SAE to: Alcatraz, 37 Queendown Avenue, Rainham, Kent ME8 9PD. The event is being held under licence with IMG and Tri California so television coverage is guaranteed. There will also be a possibility that ITV and the BBC will also cover the event.
Saturday 3rd July sees The Great Ouse Swim Race taking place as part of the Bedford River Festival. It is a 750m swim on the Jordans Classic stretch and there will be around 100,000 people watching! Organised by Steve Young (Galeforce Events) who does the Bedford Traktors races, it'll cost you a £10. For more details see their website.
We also have news that after a couple of years lodged in what, last year, was a VERY muddy bit of grass alongside the dock, the age group transition for this year's Countryside Properties Salford Triathlon will be relocating to a brand new, freshly tarmac covered area next to the elite athlete's compound. There's even a strong suggestion that the blue carpet will get extended all the way from the dock to the age group transition so your bare feet will be pampered just like the elite's. What they can't promise is that it won't rain... ...but then it wouldn't be Salford without the risk of a damp patch! (Having said that it'll now be roasting and everyone will moan that it's too hot...)
The Home Nation Triathlon Championships will be held on Saturday 28th August in South Queensferry, Scotland incorporated into the Firth of Forth Triathlon.. Athletes wishing to be considered for the Welsh team are invited to apply to Dean Hardie, the Home Nations co-ordinator for the WTA. The team will consist of 1 male and 1 female junior (under 23), 2 male and 2 female seniors and 1 male and 1 female vet (over 40). Athletes must be eligible to compete for Wales and be members of the WTA. Details of the event can be found on www.edinburghracingcoop.co.uk while details of criteria for Welsh eligibility can be found on the WTA website. Applicants please send an email with 2004 results to by 31st July 2004.
People with a far better memory than mine have pointed out that it wasn't Norman Brook's idea to change the logo but his predecessor, Schuil-Brewer so, apologies Norman! Even more curious was the information from one source that Sarah Springman was at that AGM and it may well have been her who suggested that the name British Triathlon...
After all the excitement (and sleep deprivation...) of Windsor it's time to catch up with what GB athletes have been doing overseas. In the Tongyeong World Cup (Korea) Leanda Cave won with almost a full minute in hand over Pip Taylor (AUS) who locals should remember from her delightful win at Salford last year. Andrea Whitcombe was 7th, Richard Stannard 12th. Full details on the ITU website.
So, what is our NGB called...
Anyone who saw the BTA stand at Windsor will be in no doubt that the BTA now wants to be known as british triathlon - all something to do with ensuring that the triathlon brand stays to the front while the notion of it being a sort of friendly local society is kept well away in the background. Odd, therefore, that when the BTA website finally popped back up yesterday it carried an advert for a new Director of Finance & Business Support and the British Triathlon Association was mentioned no less than five times with an extra Association thrown in for good measure. On the same page, immediately below, is another ad for a Development Officer which doesn't have the BTA tag at all. As changing the business name is probably something that needs to go before the membership at the AGM we look forward to some interesting debates! Last time Norman Brook tried to change to logo at an AGM without any consultation the assembled membership politely told him where to get off and we have never seen that version since. Maybe this time we'll get some advanced notice of what they are trying to do... ...or, more likely, not.
As regular readers will be well aware, I have a very high regard for Dan Empfield; founder of Quintana Roo and now publisher of the Slowtwitch website and a commentator on the sport in general. He is a man who speaks his mind, rare in the often homogenised and concensus-driven US, and the things that he says generally also have a relevance to use here in the UK. His latest opinion piece relates to the troubles that USAT is going through in respect of its Board elections and the fact that they have been told to run them all again as they did them wrong. If you have even a passing interest in the way that the sport operates at a national level, and how remarkably similar the USAT problems are to ones we have here in the UK, then I strongly recommend that you take a few minutes to read and digest his words. Come November time, you may care to recall them...
Jun:10 Jess update
Long course specialist Jess Draskau Petersson is heading back to Europe next week and looking forward to a strong summer season. She returns from New Zealand on the back on a 5th in Ironman New Zealand and a victory in the Cervélo Half Ironman, targeting Ironman Austria as her main race for the middle part of the year. Jess would like to annouce she has a new web site set up at where you can keep up to date with her latest results, link to her sponsors and help her raise money for her chosen charity, Survival.
There's definitely something to be said for kicking back and downshifting once in a while and this weekend's Weymouth Middle Distance Triathlon was a perfect example. OK, so it clashed with the Long Course Championships at Bala but that still didn't stop 300 people testing themselves over an equally challenging course around the South Coast town. Over the past five years Weymouth, a Concept Sport event, has built a reputation as a low-key, un-stressful early season tester for folk either looking to go long without the pressure (or expense) of a major event like HIMUK or are checking out their training schedule before stepping up for one of the big European M-dot races later in the summer. The weather can be pretty grim; over the past four years we have had blistering heat, horizontal rain, roughish seas and strong winds but for 2004 we got pretty much perfect conditions with flat calm seas, virtually no wind on the bike and sunshine but not too hot for the run.
Next weekend sees the start of the major events with Windsor (2,000+), Shropshire and a host of smaller events kicking off a packed-out calendar right round to the end of September. Oh, yes, and somewhere in there are the Olympics! And, talking of those, how delightful that Andrea Whitcombe chose to come to Weymouth on Sunday to lead out the swim as a sharpener before she goes off to the ITU World Cup in Korea in a weeks time. While Simon, her partner, did the main race (12th) she chatted to anyone who cared to talk about pretty much anything. Perhaps next year she'll step up and go long?
So, if you feel like doing something a bit more challenging next year, but without the pressure, then stick your name down for Weymouth -- it's an ideal warm-up for Windsor (not a joke, many do both) and you'll get to meet some great and friendly people at the same time.
Jun:07 Lessing wins at Alcatraz
Simon Lessing returned to Alcatraz to defend his win last year and did so in style by beating Chris McCormack by nearly 1½ minutes with Matt Reed in 3rd. Michellie Jones won for the women ahead of Liz Blatchford and Joanna Zeiger. Lots of GB in the age group race as usual, see their website for full results.
We understand that, under the terms of the BTA's appeals procedure, Andrea Whitcombe has referred her appeal to the Sports Dispute Resolution Panel (SDRP). Apparently she believes that the BTA Olympic selection procedure has not been followed correctly and wishes an independent panel to review the facts. Judging by the result of a recent appeal in swimming we suspect that it may be a hard case to win...
We missed this over the weekend but there was a second interview in the Times with Leanda Cave -- remember that she did one just before Ishigaki where she stated that she would put her main efforts into qualifying in Japan rather than Madeira because of the baggage that being a World Champion brings with it? Well, the tone of this second interview is definitely one of an athlete who is unhappy with the way that the selection process has gone. Whilst it is clear that Leanda didn't meet the selection criteria in either Ishigaki (illness) or Madeira (outside the top 10), neither did Jodie Swallow who is now apparently dependent on a successful World Cup race for her final inclusion in the Athens trio. Judging by the photo in the current issue of Tri News it would appear that Jodie has a considerable amount of work to do to get in shape and, judging by the tone of the Cave interview, she won't be getting any help from that quarter either.
Jun:03 Berwick cancelled
The North Berwick Triathlon has had to be cancelled due to a lack of numbers.
Harry Waugh (Yorkshire Dales Tri) tells us that entries for the Yorkshire Dales events (Triathlon, Duathlon, Quadrathlon and Aquathlon) being held on Sunday 1st August 2004 are at about the lowest level in memory at present. As there is no outside sponsorship for this privately funded event, it is essential that a minimum number of entries is received otherwise he'll be paying for the event out of his own pocket (again!). Relay teams are especially welcome in this event and taking part in such a team is a great way to weigh up the event as a whole for a possible future solo effort. For further details of this triathlon, which is regarded as being the toughest (and certainly the oldest) in the UK, past reviews, photos and results, please visit the event web site Without a lot of help, this event will not survive! If you've taken part in the past and have some anecdotes or memories (painful or otherwise) which you'd like to share, please email them via the site link.
For anyone interested in qualifying at Edinburgh for the British team at the European Championships this year the following might be of interest. To be considered for selection you will need to be a member of the BTA and have let the BTA team manager know that you wish to be considered prior to the selection race on the 19th of June. STA members don't need to pay the full amount as they only need to pay the BTA the difference between STA and BTA membership and send the BTA a photo-copy of their STA licence.
Entries for the North Berwick triathlon are currently at a level which will not allow the event to take place. Could anyone wishing to enter please contact Sue Broadway (0131 653 3003, or email by 4.30 pm on Wednesday (Jun-02).
The age groupers raced today bringing home a total of 16 medals. All the results sorted by age category are now online on this website as well as the ITU one. GB scored 4 Gold; Emma Pooley F20, Victoria Freeman F30, Michelle Parsons F35, Jeannie Fry F40, 4 Silver; Celia Brown F25, Louise Prole F30, Juliet Vickery F40, Edwina Brocklesby F60 and 2 Bronze; Stephanie Maclean F25, Lesley Cliff F55 so far! The me brough home a further 2 Gold; David Benton M35, Cyril Leigh M65, 1 Silver; David Gardner M65, and 3 Bronze; Marc Laithwaite M30, Tony Culshaw M60 and David Peck M70. We KNOW that there are probably people missing from this because of no/failed chips, etc. Please don't tell us, tell the organisers! The latest update was at 17:00 hours and is probably 99% complete.
In our report from yesterday we sadly neglected to mention a few other Brits out there in Geel who are helping things move along nicely; Lynda Chase and Alan Spelling are, as always, in the thick of it and John Lunt has been getting soaked all day managing the starts and finish area. And, let us not forget Graeme Kempson, ETU Treasurer and ITU Technical Delegate for the event and Clive Faine, Vice Chair of the BTA Executive, who is also there in his role as Chair of the ITU Duathlon Committee. We're even assured by the BTA website that our President (actually it's an honorary title) Sarah Springman will put in an appearance today, presumably to do a bit more canvassing in her bid to take over from Les later this year. In fact the only people who seem to be missing are the BTA's Chief Executive and Chairman...
The Elite men are finished with Benny van Steelant (BEL) winning ahead of Barruncho (POR) and Le Brun (FRA). Martin Yelling was 30th, Andy Blow 42nd, Duncan McKerracher 52nd and Mike Jubb was a DNF. UPDATE: We managed to miss out Tom Lowe in 41st (outsprinting Andy Blow, and Mark McKay who hit the deck on the bike leaving himself too much to do over the 5k but still ended up 50th. Sincere apologies, not sure how we managed to miss them!
The Elite women are finished and the long tussle between Annie Emmerson and Erika Csomor (HUN) ended with Erika taking Gold, Annie getting Silver nine seconds back and Laura Giordano (ITA) filling the podium to take Bronze. Catriona Morrison finished in 5th and Rachel Jones was a DNF following a crash on the bike. If you tune in to the ITUTV coverage you may well hear the familiar voice of one Paul Groves - that man speaks in many tongues! At least he and Jasmine are representing the BTA's interests!
The Juniors raced earlier with great success for GB; for the boys Ollie Freeman took Gold with Will Clarke just behind for Silver and Martin Urbansky (SVK) filling the podium in 3rd. Stuart Brown finished 16th, Garry Hughes was a DNF. In the girls race Rosie Clarke (Will's sister) took 4th. Sadly we had no athletes in the U23 races. Congratulations to them all.
Race coverage can be found through the ITU website, ITU TV for live coverage of the elites and the event website.
Well, not really abroad -- more like just across the Channel. The advance guard has moved in for the World Duathlon Championships in Geel this weekend -- not that you would know from certain other websites... Anway, there's a vicious rumour going around that the lady most opposed to the concept of a race belt has been seen buying up metres and metres of elastic around the town. Now, this could be a ploy to stop anyone else wearing race belts or perhaps she's finally seen the light and decided that they really are a good thing... (fat chance of that happening, eh Jaz!) So, someone must know the reason why, please tell us!
Jasmine's response: It is true! I had to find and buy 100m of elastic for the GB age group team in case they hadn`t brought a race number belt!! The race organisation here is excellent so far, but they have only provided the age groupers with one race number and the officials have insisted that the number is visible on the front for the run AND on the back for the cycle. This can ONLY be achieved with the use of a race number belt. I never thought I would see the day when I supported the use of number belts - but that day has dawned here in Geel!! Lots happening tomorrow, including the team briefing, the team photo and the Parade of Nations. We all look forward to a great race on Monday...
One person who won't be able to tell us is BTA Chairman Peter Coulson who apparently is too busy in France to be able to travel there. Does the BTA have no interest in duathlon at all? (Well, apart from the age group team management, of course). There's no mention of the event at all on the BTA site and the only obvious duathlon link is actually for the Home Nations duathlon which they are still listing as being at Margam Park...
The elite racing will be covered live on the ITU TV website and if it's as good as the coverage and results from Madeira we'll be in for a treat. High hopes for medals in the age groups races where we have the biggest team of all at around 220 and a reasonable chance in the elites as well with Annie Emmerson and Martin Yelling on the start list. Good luck to one and all.
Deal Tri are staging their two very popular races this weekend at the Duke Of York's School in Dover. The Fun Kids Triathlon takes place on Saturday for kids aged 8 -14, with the adult Quick Change Triathlon taking place on Sunday. The organisers will be happy to take race entries up to the close of registration on both days. For further information see the club's website.
Race 2 in the Hillingdon Triathlon Series which takes place this Sunday (May-30) is now FULL. There will be no entries-on-the-day. There are also only a few places available for the third and final event in the series on Jun-20. Details and entry forms are available on their club website.
UPDATE: Once again the BTA's TriNews newsletter has beaten their website to the punch with this story... Print rocks!
In a complete about turn, Big Cow Events will, once again, be promoting and running the National Age Group Duathlon Championships in 2004. The event will take place on Sunday 22nd August at Emberton Country Park Nr Junction 14 of the M1. For the record, the event was never going to be in Bedford and BiG Cow events had originaly planned for a standard distance event in 2004 for early April. It was only due to a request by the BTA that they shifted the date to September, only to find out later that it clashed with the BTA/ETU decison to hold the Europeans in Swansea. Apparently BiG Cow also had the opportunity to take up the European championship in Milton Keynes but felt that there was insufficient time to plan for such a high profile event and it was best to stick to its original event schedule.
For some time now there have been rumblings that it was not going to be possible (or even sensible?) to have a National Championship inside of a Regional Championship - especially now that you have to qualify for the Europeans - and so the whole things has come full circle. The BTA are having a massive learning experience in this, their first year of contracting out events. One only hopes that some of it sticks! Details of the event can be found on www.big-cow.com.
Simon Lessing won in 3:52:02 (which is really fast - like, short course fast) with Chris Lieto a minute back and Michael Lovato in 3rd. Of course, it wasn't really just Simon Lessing and Spencer Smith but as far as a UK audience is concerned those are the two that we were tracking. Spencer, who was 3rd out of the swim and in the lead group on the bike at mile 11 then disappeared for the rest of the race as far as the online updates were concerned and finally turned up in 8th (4:02)14). The reason for the delay was apparently a blocking violation around mile 22 although the referee didn't pull Spence over until around mile 25... That cost him 3 minutes and effectively put him out of contention despite him having the second fastest run split of the top 10 pros. However, as there were no pro slots for Hawaii on offer the whole event was really a warm-up with sights firmly set on Austria as the place to score the vital lot. Results and reports are on the ironmanlive website.
The list of applicants and qualifiers for the European Duathlon Championships went in to the BTA on Wednesday but still hasn't surfaced so it looks like we'll be hosting the age group lists once again!
May:22 Scottish open water training
There will be an open water swim session at the mouth of the River Doon in Ayr on Saturday May-29 at 10:00am. This is an opportunity to do the swim course prior to the event and possibly to gain some valuable open water experience. Meet in the car park off Castle Walk, bring your wetsuit and if you have one, a brightly coloured swim cap. Follow this link for further information and an entry to the Ayr Open Water Sprint Trialthlon.
May:22 Welsh Home Nations Duathlon Team
The Home Nation Championships will be held on 11th July 2004 in Llanelli (not Margam as previously announced). Athletes wishing to be considered for the Welsh team are invited to apply to Dean Hardie, the Home Nations co-ordinator for the WTA. The team will consist of 1 male and 1 female junior (under 20), 2 male and 2 female seniors and 1 male and 1 female vet (over 40). Athletes must be eligible to compete for Wales and be members of the WTA.
Details of the event can be found on the Multisport Organisation website. Details of criteria for Welsh eligibility can be found on the WTA website. Applicants should send an email with 2004 results to by 10th June 2004.
Two items from the Scottish camp: the 2004 triathlonscotland Annual General Meeting will take place at the Terraces Hotel in Stirling at 2.00 pm on Sunday, 17 October 2004 and the Atlantis Leisure Triathlon due to take place on May-23 has been cancelled.
There's an interesting story in yesterday's London Evening Standard which suggests that the BTA's bid for the ITU presidency in December, see earlier story, might actually be a bad thing for London's 2012 bid. The point the writer makes is that the ITU and the IOC are well connected and a bid to replace Les McDonald with Sarah Springman (described in the piece as "hardly a wellknown figure in Olympic circles") might upset some of the people who could have influence.
As a side note, apparently Springman and BTA Chairman Peter Coulson were turned away from a private function in Madeira where ITU and ETU officials were having a reception in honour of Michel Gignoux. As we commented earlier, it's hard to see anyone who doesn't have the support of the current heirarchy taking over -- and it's even harder to envisage Les stepping down anyway.
May:18 Clash of the Tritons
The Clash of the Tritons is the Greenwich Tritons first public event on Saturday Aug-21, a 500m swim and a flat and traffic-free 5k run around the attractive grounds of Eltham College, London SE9. An ideal entry into the sport for any newcomers in the London area who might be a bit daunted by the scale of the London Triathlon. All competitors will receive a T-shirt and goody bag and prizes will be awarded to the race winner and winner in each age category. Entry forms are available from their website or by phoning race organiser Andrew Edkins on 020 8851 8495. On the website competitors can also sign up to receive event updates, training plans and advice.
May:18 Hillingdon is full
Race 1 in the Hillingdon Triathlon Series taking place this Sunday (May-23) is now FULL. There will be no entries-on-the day. Places are still available for races 2 and 3 on May-30 and Jun-20 so don't delay your entry. Full details and entry forms for all Hillingdon Tristars events are available on their website.
May:18 South West region youth and junior open water training days
The South West region are running a training day for young people on Saturday May-22 at South Cerney, Gloucestershire. The sessions will be led by experienced coach and GB age group team competitor Roger Harle - this will be the first of 3, the others taking place on Jun-12, and Aug-15. If you don't have your own wetsuit, there are suits available to hire on the day. The plan is to provide youth and junior athletes with a valuable opportunity to practice open water swimming prior to national events such as Eton and Salford, as well as regional events such as the South Cerney Aquathlon on Jul-3, the Bude Triathlon on Jun-27 and the Cotswold Sprint on Sep-12. Minimum age for this session is 14. Athletes from outside the region are welcome to attend.
For the remainder of the day, activities will take place at the nearby Duke of Gloucester barracks where the closed roads and grass areas will provide the ideal location for bike skills, transitions, and run sessions. Younger Tristars from 8-14 are also invited to take part in this session from 10am. For information on how to apply please email or . For information on the session for Tristars, please email .
May:18 South West regional aquathlons
The regional Aquathlon Championships for Tristars 1, 2 and 3 will be incorporated into the Tri Team Glos Aquathlon on May-31. For entries please contact Louise Mendelsohn on 01242 261412 or . The regional Aquathlon Championship for Youths and Juniors will be the South Cerney Aquathlon on Jul-3. Please note this is the only qualifying event for the South West youth team to go to the Youth National Aquathlon at Salford on Jul-24. Entries are limited to 50 so please enter early. Contact Janet Whiting on 07773 705776 or . All presentations for the regional aquathlons, and Tristars series will take place at Langport on Aug-7. All young South West athletes are invited to attend an end of season get together which will comprise team training for the Inter Regional Championships, fun relays, and presentations. For more details go to the regional website.
Following up on yesterday's story about Andrea's appeal we gather that she has been told by the selectors that Jodie Swallow must prove her fitness by the end of July by racing in a World Cup (which would probably be Salford) and finishing on the podium. However, neither Graeme Maw, the BTA Performance Director, or any other senior BTA staff seem willing to make a public statement in this regard. This obviously allows the BTA to change its mind if it doesn't like the outcome as there's nothing in writing to hold them to...
The BTA website carries the news that Marc Jenkins and Andrea Whitcombe are reserves for the Athens Olympic Games and will train with the team. Reserves are a vital part of planning for such a major event: at the Games in Sydney Julie Dibbens had to withdraw and Michelle Dillon took her place and we suspect that AJ might have been subbed as well had his 'flu surfaced any earlier. The site also carries the footnote that Andrea Whitcombe appealed over her non-selection to the Olympic Team. That appeal was heard yesterday by a Review Panel established under the Association's appeals policy and the appeal was not upheld. Given Whitcombe's 6th place at Ishigaki and her positive participation at Madeira until she crashed on the bike it could be strongly argued that she was a far more prepared contender than Jodie Swallow, who didn't race in either qualifier. We gather that the argument was put forward that Jodie performed well on the Athens test event course and that's certainly true. Hovever, it's equally true that Steph Forrester came 6th and Andrea Whitcombe 7th in that test event. (For the record, not that it matters, Dillo was 28th and Dibens 35th...) But then, the powers that be in the BTA have never had a policy of doing what we might expect... Bets can now be placed on Andrea getting the slot anyway, we think it's a better gamble than many!
It seems that we aren't the only people puzzled by the BTA's choices for high profile events. Mark Cathcart's Triman weblog has a characteristically forthright piece on how, had the BTA been a football team, the Performance Coach would surely long have been shown the door.
May:15 Big Cow multisport weekend
Looks like Human Race's Gold Multisport weekend could have been the start of a new trend as BigCow, the Milton Keynes-based organisers are putting together their own Trifest04 to run June 5th and 6th. The weekend gets underway with an aquathlon and an open water swim event. Saturday afternoon will see a kids duathlon and The Sweatshop Summer Sizzler 10km run. There will be trade stands and some very special guests from the world of multisport and triathlon. On the Sunday an open water sprint triathlon will take place as part of the Big Cow Events TripleX series. The sprint race is on the same course as the Milton Keynes standard distance event. For more information go to the event website or telephone 08701 624933 and one of the Big Cow team will be only to please to assist. Race director and event organiser Mark Booth is trying to create a festival atmosphere to the weekend with a live band on the Saturday evening plus lots of activities for the kids in the day time. Camping facilities and parking at the country park venue will be free for all competitors.
The BTA have confirmed the names submitted to the BOA as the triathlon team. They are Michelle Dillon, Julie Dibens and Jodie Swallow for the women and Paul Amey, Tim Don and Andrew Johns for the men. No reserves have been announced but we guess that they must have at least a ladies reserve in case Jodie cannot prove her fitness in time.
Organisers of the Litespeed Swindon Duathlon on 16th May are still taking entries for this European Duathlon Qualifier up to May-13. They will also take late entries at registration on Saturday between 2.30pm and 6pm at Zurich Training Centre, Fox Hill Wanborough, Nr Swindon. There will be NO late entries on the Sunday. Contact them or on 01793 853933. A free seminar on the Saturday will feature talks by Trevor Gunning, Richard Hobson and Julian Goater.
Raw Energy Pursuits are running the Esporta Worthing, West Sussex series: the Worthing Triathlon on Jun-27, and two Tuesday night aquathlons on Jul-27 and Aug-10. The Worthing triathlon is standard distance with a sea swim, challenging bike and a flat run. Visit their website for an entry form or enter online at activeeurope.com.
The Woolacombe aquathlon (1k run, 1k surf swim, 5k run format) on Saturday 19th June is part of the Goldcoast Oceanfest which includes varied events such as surf competition, surf lifesaving, beach volleyball, surf boat racing and live bands continuing over the weekend. See www.goldcoastoceanfest.co.uk for a proper look. It should be a really good event in a stunning setting. If they can make it work it could become a regular event giving a new set of people an insight into our sport. Any questions contact Martin or on 01271 865859.
Owing to a lack of elite athletes available on that day and the added importance of the age group race as a European Duathlon qualifier, the organisers have decided to eliminate the elite drafting wave from the Edinburgh Duathlon on Jun-19. Please note, it is only the drafting wave that has been cancelled, the rest of the days racing is unaffected. Anyone entered in the elite wave should contact the organisers to either get a refund or be transferred into the non-drafting age group event. the event website is www.edinburghracingcoop.co.uk.
Another game show after triathletes
The success of triathletes in shows like SAS: Are you tough enough? seems to have prompted the scouts to actually start visiting events to talk about new projects. At the Morden 6n6 on Sunday a nice young lady from Endemol UK, producers of Big Brother and Fear Factor, was touting their new Channel 4 show which is currently looking for contestants. The stunt based game show is looking for "contestants with guts and determination who are prepared to be pushed to their limits for the chance to win a large cash prize". If you're over 18 and think you've got what it takes call them on 020 8222 4123 or email: . Judging from the reactions she was getting a few are already in the queue!
The elite men finished with Bevan Docherty (NZL) taking it in 1:41:05 from Ivan Rana (ESP) and Dimitry Gaag (KAZ). Tim Don was best placed GB in 4th which should guarantee his Athens slot alongside Paul Amey, Marc Jenkins 13th, Stu Hayes 15th, Richard Stannard 19th and AJ in 40th. We understand that both he and Paul Amey got chilled in the non-wetsuit swim and although AJ made the big lead group he never really got fired up so when the pace started to be piled on for the run he was unable to respond. The selectors will have to pick the bones out of that at their meeting tonight but we reckon that AJ should probably take the third slot based on his performance in Ishigaki where he only missed guaranteed selection by one place and still scored a top 5 position. However, Madeira does have a higher weighting in the selectors criteria as it's a closer match to Athens...
The elite women finished with Sheila Taormina (USA) taking the win (and a US Olympic slot) in 1:52:18 over Loretta Harrop (AUS) and Laura Reback (USA). British finishers were Julie Dibens in 8th which should secure her a slot for Athens, Leanda Cave in 20th, Michelle Dillon 28th and Jess Harrison in 41st. If Leanda Cave had secured a top 10 slot then the word from Madeira was that her place would also be secured but we guess that it will now go to the selection panel. Of course they could always throw caution to the winds and plump for Jodie Swallow who performed well at the Athens test event but now has only 15 weeks to get over her injury and into race condition.
Reports direct from Madeira tell us that Andrea Whitcombe crashed on the bike and Anneliese Heard missed the chase pack and dropped out on the run. Also, we hear the course is slightly short which is supported by the winning time.
Earlier this morning we had the Under 23 races; Helen Tucker placed 8th with Karen Sindall 13th. No male GB participated.
Full results are on the ITU website and we feel that we must congratulate them for the live webcast commentary and the instant results provided by the guys at Ultimate.dk. At times the commentary actually lagged the computer data by about 15 seconds -- amazing!
Spencer wins in Florida
In his first race of the 2004 Hawaii campaign Spencer saw a return to form at the Florida Gulf Coast event with a 4:02:34 win in front of Patrick High and Alex Rukosuev. Full results on the event website.
At the close of play it looks as though the final medal tally is an impressive 14 : Rachel Jones (30-34), Gillian Pears (35-39), Lesley Cliff (55-59), Sue Furniss (60-64), Philip Wylie (25-29) and also second fastest man overall with Gold (5), Penny Rother (45-49), Ashley Norie (35-39) and Peter Younghusband (40-44) with Silver (3), Jeannie Fry (40-44), Sue Bathgate (55-59), Paul Gallacher (40-44), Jed Harris (45-49), Richard Melvern (55-59) and John Clarke (65-69) with Bronze (6). As soon as we can get a full data file we'll post the usual summary results but that may be a while so please use the official website until we post otherwise.
Earlier, Oliver Freeman and Will Clarke claimed silver and bronze in the Junior Championships. Stuart Brown finished 17th with Dann Brook 21st and David Giles 32nd. For the girls, Rosie Clarke (Will's sister) finished 10th with Natalie Barnard 40th.
Looks like the BTA is having a bit of a torrid time in its first year of in-house race promotion/sub-contracted organisation as the National Age Group Championships are now moving from Birmingham to join the elite champs at Liverpool on September 5th. The news was broken in Madeira earlier today by Peter Coulson at an age group team meeting. Expect more details next week on the BTA website as the dust settles after Maderia.
The STA may be small but, like the WTA, they take their national membership a whole lot more seriously than the BTA sometimes seems to. Long-time exponents of electronic communication (we borrowed the eGroup idea off them when we launched that back in 99) they have just re-vamped their website and the results are really rather good. Nice one guys, shows what can be done by an NGB (that's National Governing Body and not some cryptic dig at Norman Brook, by the way...) who wants to communicate effectively with its membership at all levels. UPDATE: they have now added a forum as well to replace the old eGroup service. Not sure about the new logo but it's a hell of lot better than the appalling one the BTA seems to be trying to sneak in by default: what ever DID happen to the proper BTA logo then?
Aquathlon results and more
These are now posted on the ITU website. Best GB performance was Caroline Jones who placed 4th.
The BTA website reports that a GB age grouper, Richard Oram, was knocked off his bike and hospitalised with a broken leg while trying out the cycle course.
Also reported is the fact that Jodie Swallow will not be racing and Julie Dibens will substitute. Which, frankly, seems a little odd. Not that Jodie won't race but that Julie is only considered as a substitute. Surely she should have been part of the squad anyway given her strong performance at the Europeans? The BTA website also comments that Jodie could still be considered for an Olympic slot on the basis of past performance...
Greetings from Madeira where the weather is sunny and warm. (Yeah, right! Rub it , why don't you...) Expectation is growing as athletes begin to register and more and more fly in each day: a total of 1,700 athletes expected to race. Already the hotels are filling up and most of the age group GB squad are in town. The Aquathlon is tomorrow (Wednesday), women go at 4pm and men at 5pm. ( Nothing happens early in Madeira....!)
A lot of the age groupers have been out on the bike very early in the morning, grinding those cranks straight up the mountain...! There will be some stiff legs on Saturday evening. (Age groupers race Saturday morning.) The swim course is already laid out and many have been swimming in the 19 degree water. It looks like it's going to be a great event with the Local Organising Committtee working tirelessly with the support of the ITU to hopefully deliver the best World Championships seen so far.
May:04 Springman to stand for ITU Presidency
Well the story finally broke: the BTA is going to nominate Sarah Springman for the ITU Presidency at this December's Congress. Sarah was an active triathlete during the early years; European Triathlon Champion in 1988, European Long Distance Champion in 1985 and 1986, five Hawaii Ironman competitions and eleven British Triathlon Championships between 1984 and 1992. These days she's mainly based in Switzerland and is actively involved in sports politics. And there, of course, is the crux of the matter. The BTA's higher echelons have had remarkably little influence on the international scene over the past years and there have been several occasions where heads have clashed. Events like the Commonwealth Games and the ITU World cup races at Salford have largely been carried off by a team of individuals working with the ITU rather than the BTA's executive carrying out some master plan.
So, what will this nomination do for the BTA? Well, seeking election against the established ITU heirarchy has seldom got anyone very far! Les McDonald has been President since it started and one has the definite feeling that any successor will need to get a nod of approval from him first. We aren't sure if anyone else has yet declared an interest in standing for the elections so we suspect that this may just be the BTA getting an early start. There's certainly nothing in the BTA's press release that indicates any sort of platform from which she will be campaigning other than guarded references to the issues surrounding the 2000 elections at Sydney and Les's indications that he might stand down after Athens. Of course, there's little chance that any of this will affect the bulk of age group athletes in this country, irrespective of the outcome. Which is a pity really. But then, nobody bothered asking us if we thought it was a good idea in the first place...
If all goes according to plan the last two slots for GB male and female athletes going to the Olympics will be filled next weekend at the World Championships in Madeira. So far there's very little news from the elite camp: certainly Tim Don and Andrew Johns still have everything to go for to secure their places alongside Paul Amey while, for the women, Leanda Cave and Jodie Swallow have just this one chance to join Michelle Dillon having missed out in Ishigaki. Other contenders include Richard Allen, Marc Jenkins, Richard Stannard, Andrea Whitcombe, Steph Forrester and Anneliese Heard -- all will either have to get the top GB slot in the top five or be a top ten finisher to get consideration by the selection panel.
Of course, Madeira isn't just about the elite and qualifying for the Olympics. We have a strong age group contingent out there who, despite the early season racing, will be looking to bring home their customary haul of medals. For the first time they will also get some recognition from the sport itself as Ian Pettitt has been scouring the country for donations of prizes and goodies to award to any winners. Judging from the list of supporting suppliers and race organisers it looks as though this might actually be the start of something rather good - and not before time.
We'll try to keep the site updated with results as they come through but the ITU website and the event website are both supposed to be carrying live data. Best of luck to all taking part.
We hear of at least one triathlete who had booked tickets with DUO to get out to Geneva for the European Age Group Champs in Switzerland. For those that aren't up to speed -- DUO went bust this morning... Best bet will be to talk to your credit card company and your insurance provider ASAP. Added to the problems with getting bikes on planes for Ironman Austria it does begin to look as though low cost does carry high risk.
As well as the sessions being run by SBR Sports at Heron Lake, triathletes in the South East now have an opportunity to swim with Bill Black and Duncan Rolley at the Eton Rowing Lake, site of the Human Race Eton SuperSprints and Gold Multisport Festival. Two dates are currently planned, Saturday 15th May and Saturday 22nd May, with two sessions on each. These sessions are intended to fit in with the Eton races and so make an ideal open water introduction for first timers looking to do Eton or Windsor. Costs are £20 and details can be obtained from Bill Black at 14 Red Lion Lane, Chobham, Woking, Surrey GU24 8RH. You can email him .
PLEASE NOTE: Both the Heron Lake and Eton Rowing Lake sessions are ticket only. These are private venues and are not open to public access. We very nearly lost the use of Heron Lake through abuse of the privilege last year and it is important that scarce resources like these are treated with respect. If you want to swim at these venues then please contact the individuals named above.
UPDATE: Anyone looking for open water swims north of the border should contact who organises a series of sessions to tie in with major Scottish events.
Roth closes with 2,100 entered
Claiming the biggest Ironman-distance field ever, the Quelle Challenge Roth race closed its books this week two weeks earlier than planned, with a field 2,100 individuals and 550 relay teams, for a total of 3,750 participants. The growing popularity of middle and long-distance racing seems to be a trend that cannot be ignored. While not all events are sanctioned as official WTC Ironman races with qualifying slots for Hawaii, Roth dropped its affiliation three years ago, it does seem that athletes are after more of a challenge that the standard distance event can offer. Indeed, with ITU events becoming ever-more competitive as age groupers train better and better the next challenge has to be either middle distance or half Iron. Drafting is usually less of an issue - the longer swims spread the field and the courses are often planned to be tougher - so the racing tends to be fairer as well.
Even the BTA, long a studious bystander in the debate as its energies are primarily focussed on the standard distance, seems to have woken up to the growth in the market and is making some funding available to long-course elite athletes. This wasn't always the case, in recent years elite athletes have been effectively punished by losing their WCPP funding for having the audacity to race at longer distances - Annie Emmerson being a perfect example; having won HIMUK Llanberis she almost immediately lost her place at the elite table. Now, however, we have Jess Draskau Petersson, Bella Comerford, Spencer Smith and potentially Simon Lessing (although he was a DNS at today's Wildflower race) all making serious attempts on long course races. The possibility of a GB athlete taking Hawaii is no longer a wild dream but a serious possibility. Now that'll be a race worth watching on TV...
Long course triathlete Jess Draskau Petersson was named as "sports woman of the year" for the Isle of Man this week. Jess, who is currently training and studying in New Zealand, was unable to attend the ceremony but was represented on the night by her parents, who picked up the award on her behalf. Jess won the award after a series of performances in Ironman events over the last 12 months with top 5 finishes in New Zealand and Coeur d'alene as well as 21st at Hawaii, plus a host of wins in triathlon and duathlon around the country. Jess also has a new clothing sponsorship deal with Canadian-based Sugoi. Jess will now be training and racing in customised Sugoi kit with her next major outing being Ironman Austria. Mmmm, her and Spence... What odds on a British double?
Following the ITU Regional Championships in Valencia and Honolulu at the weekend there are four more names on the Olympics list.
Today sees the running of the European Championships in Valencia with more opportunities to book a ticket to the Olympics -- unless you're GB in which case it's an outing for the up-and-coming. Except, that is, for Julie Dibens who took a podium slot in 2000. Now here's a conundrum. If Julie won the women's race she should, in theory, immediately qualify for the Olympics as a gold medal in the ITU Regional Championships gets a slot. Except, of course, that Valencia is not a GB selection race... Given that Julie is one of the women we reckon ought to be going to Athens we say "Go for it!". Well, she certainly did on the bike finishing around 30 seconds up on the field after taking it on about half wat through the 40k but appears to have faded somewhat on the run, either deliberately or as a result of pushing the bike, and eventually took 8th. Helen Tucker was 22nd, Catriona Morrison 34th and Karen Sindall 35th. None of the obvious favourites; Kathleen Smet, Mieke Suyz or Sibylle Matter finished in the top 5. Instead we have Vanessa Fernandes (POR), Kate Allen (AUT) and Pilar Hidalgo (ESP) as the podium finishers.
In the mens race we have Rasmus Henning (DEN), Eneko Llanos (ESP) and Maik Petzold (GER) as the podium places with GB athletes Harry Wiltshire 51st and Fraser Cartmel 53rd. UPDATE: we hear that one of the GB lads was involved in a crash on the bike, no comment on this on the BTA website, and that it may have also involved Ivan Rana, which may explain his placing.
Find all the results on the ITU website. By the way, top service from Ultimate with live lap and split times throughout the event and a great new feature that allows you to track specific athletes.
Flora London Marathon
Today also sees the Flora London Marathon with dozens of triathletes using it as a training day. Annie Emmerson, described in the press and on TV as a "former triathlete" is probably the best-known although she seems not to have finished. The official website seems to have been totally overloaded during the race and it looks as though their automatic SMS split times system also took a hit.
The Litespeed Swindon Duathlon on 16th May is to be an age group qualifier for the European Duathlon Championships in Swansea on 26th September. If you wish to qualify for the European Championships at Swindon you must be a BTA member by 14 May. For entry form email . Further information regarding the European Championships will be available on the BTA website in the next few days.
Update on Andrea Whitcombe
Andrea Whitcombe's coach, Simon Wilson, sent us an update post-Ishigaki. Although she raced well in the Ishigaki World Cup she has had several weeks of injury problems that accounted for her weak run (so the rumours were correct...). Andrea would like to take this opportunity to thank Angela McNaughton, her physio from the EIS (English Institute of Sport), for helping her to make the start line and keep her Athens dream alive.
In the ladies race Michelle Dillon looked a clear winner until Maxine Seear (AUS) outsprinted her at the finish to take victory. Andrea Whitcombe's injury rumours were obviously just that as she finished 6th with Anneliese Heard just behind in 9th and Steph Forrester in 10th. Outside the top 10 were Julie Dibens (12th) and Jess Harrison (17th). Looking at the various time splits on the website seems to indicate that Heard had the best swim, Dibens the best bike but that Dillon overhauled them all on the run. Catriona Morrison was a DNF, she has a swim time but no bike splits, while Leanda Cave seems to have been a DNS.
Technically that means that Dillon has the first slot with Whitcombe, Heard and Forrester all now waiting on Madeira where they either need a clear top 5 place for the second slot or the favour of the selection panel to get the third slot.
In the mens race Stannard led out on the swim and was part of the lead bike group for the first half of the 40k while AJ and Richard Allen bided their time at the back of the chase group. Three athletes broke away at the end of the bike; Gemmell, Mazure and Krommidas, to lead out onto the run but by the end of lap 1 Docherty and Gaag had built up a 15 second lead on Bennett, Amey and Johns. On lap 2 Docherty and Gaag increased their lead to 25 seconds while Bennett, Johns and Amey chased for the final podium place.
In the end it was Docherty who took the win with Gaag in second and Paul Amey coming through for third and technically picking up the first GB mens slot for the Olympics. AJ took 4th with Tim Don 8th and Stuart Hayes 10th while Marc Jenkins was 32nd and there's no sign of Stannard or Allen in the final results which indicates that they dropped on the run.
As with the women, we now have three athletes waiting on Madeira where they either need a top 5 to guarantee a place or the selection panel's nod on their top 10 finish to get the third slot.
Full results and race commentary are on the ITU website.
Tomorrow's ITU World Cup in Ishigaki, Japan is the first of two possible locations for GB athletes to get one of the three slots available for both male and female athletes to get to Athens. A top 5 placing will guarantee the slot (subject to Britsih Olympic approval) while a top 10 placing will open the door to a possible place. Virtually all the top GB triathletes are competing with the obvious exceptions of Simon Lessing who has decided not to go for a slot and Jodie Swallow who misses the race because of injury.
Many of the squad raced two weeks ago in Australia where they have been attending camps throught the winter months: Paul Amey has already shown his hand with that second place while AJ is also looking a strong contender but has a poor history of racing in Japan. Joining them are Tim Don (recovered from the stomach upset that caused him to miss the South African Championships), Richard Allen and Richard Stannard (hopefully both recovered from that bike crash), Marc Jenkins and Stuart Hayes. For the girls we have Leanda Cave, Andrea Whitcombe (about whom there have reportedly been some injury worries but who won her last race in March), Michelle Dillon, Steph Forrester, Jess Harrison, Julie Dibens, Anneliese Heard, and Catriona Morrison. None of them have shown race form in recent weeks so it's a pretty open book although Leanda Cave's interview in The Times indicates that she's certainly up for it.
Of the two qualifiers it would appear that Ishigaki is the one to go for if you're intent on scoring a place. The course is somewhat less demanding than will be the case at Madeira and several of the top athletes have already qualified for the Olympics and so may not be quite as eager for the win as the GB squad. So, place your bets and cross your fingers!
Live coverage will be provided on the ITU website but remember that Japan is 9 hours ahead so their 1pm start is 4am UK time...
Most of you will never have heard the name but, for those who have, today brings the sad news that Michel has finally lost his long battle with illness and will no more grace the world triathlon scene with his humour, wisdom and enthusiasm. He will be sorely missed by many.
So, there you are: a highly respected member of the duathlon/triathlon community on both a national and international level. You pop down to your local race this weekend and have a bit of a blast, just to keep you hand in - so to speak. Sadly all that time spent in committee meetings seems to have dulled your memory of the rules because, last time we checked, undoing your helmet in transition BEFORE RACKING YOUR BIKE is a 2-minute penalty... ...even if you're a BTA Executive Board member. Even more priceless is the fact that the referee was a fellow BTA Executive Board member!
Jess Draskau-Petersson finished first in the Cervélo half ironman in New Zealand today (April 3rd). The race took place at Lake Karipiro just south of Hamilton where she is currently studying. Jess came off the bike in second place, behind Ironman New Zealand runner-up Lynley Allison, but took the lead at 9km on the run, turning a 6 minute deficit into a 6 minute winning margin and setting a run course record of 1hr 18 mins in the process, to add to the Ironman New Zealand run course record she broke last month. Allison hung on strongly for second place. Thanks to Steve Guffick for the report.
We missed this one on the day but Bella Comerford placed 6th at the Ironman Australia on Sunday. Also of note this weekend was that the infamous USAT blocking penalty got handed out to Lisbeth Kristiansen (AJ's partner) in the California Half Ironman (she eventually placed 7th). Now there's one rule that nobody outside of the USA seems to fully grasp, Tim Don also got hit by it last year in the Lifetime Fitness race. Interestingly, we figure the only way that a motorcycle referee can accurately assess the penalty is to put themselves into a position which, in itself, could be deemed to be blocking other athletes... Watch for this one if racing in the US!
Some news in from José João Teixeira, the Technical Advisor at Madeira, is that the steepest gradient for the bike course in Funchal is about 15% during the ascent to highway at the beginning of the bike course and they are recommending "for the oldest athletes" a chainring of 39T (front) and a cassette 23 or 25 T (rear). Not quite sure what age has to do with it... Reminds us of a conversation we had recently with an athlete doing Lanzarote who was worried about the aero nature of his bike being spoiled by having water bottles on the downtube! We don't expect you to be getting much aero advantage in either Madeira or Lanzarote, you'll be much better off saving those legs for the run so don't be afraid to go 38T on the front at 25 on the rear if you're anything other than a mountain goat.
They also reckon that the water temperature in Madeira will be between 19 and 21° Celsius so, for the aquathlon at least, José thinks it's likely that wetsuits won't be needed. Of course, that may well change...
Thanks to Neil Bardsley for the heads-up that Benny Vansteeland was currently getting swim training (see the duathlon.com forums) but we can't help but wonder if this isn't some sort of April Fool... After all, the login of the poster is "trk"... If it is true then it'll be interesting to see how the most successful duathlete of all time translates to the world of triathlon. Perhaps there's hope for Billy Goat yet?
Latest update from John Lunt is that Windsor is FULL with well in excess of 2,000 names on the books. If you're after a place you now have until Monday 5th April to and grovel your way onto the reserve list.
Deal Tri, one of the first tri clubs to see the benefit of a website, has just had its online home re-designed. Entry forms, results, photos and daily news updates are available including details and entry forms for their Easter Sunday Spring Aquathlon taking place at The Duke of Yorks School, Dover which already has over 75 entrants.
Membership renewal: snail mail beats email
BTA members have to opportunity to renew online this year but, judging by the chatter on the triathlondiscussion eGroup the online version is not performing quite as well as either the postal or telephone option. We renewed by phone and had our membership cards back well within a week whereas some of the online renewals seem to be taking three week.
Updates to Olympics page
Thanks to Katherine Cassidy for news of the four athletes selected to go to the Olympics by invitation following submissions to the IOC Tripartite Commission by their National Federations. See the Olympics page for details.
We have a couple of class races this weekend; the African Championships where Tim Don was start-listed but was a DNS (upset stomach) and Mooloolaba where most of the GB elite will be warming up for Ishigaki in a couple of weeks. At the latter we have an interesting development in that the women's race was won by Liz Blatchford -- currently Australian but soon to become a Brit. She's changing allegiance because she failed to make the Australian Olympic team and, if that sounds a little familiar you may be equally interested in the rest of the results! Paul Amey was 2nd with an astounding run cutting back into Craig Walton's 3:30 lead off the bike, AJ was 5th and Marc Jenkins was 7th but we had no female finishers; both Julie Dibens and Anneliese Heard dropped out after the bike. Richard Stannard crashed on the bike and took Richard Allen out with him; Stannard is OK but apparently Allen was a bit more briused and battered. The full results are up on the race website.
Of course, the real interest in Mooloolaba is that it provides an indication of race fitness at a time of year when most of the GB elite are not exactly race ready. The fact that it is an Olympic year means that we get a World Championships very early in the calendar and then the main event in August; so northern hemisphere athletes will effectively have to peak twice. The GB qualification criteria require that an athlete delivers a top 5 place in either qualifier to get on the list or places in the top 10 to stand a chance of getting the third slot. Judging from today's result in Australia it looks as though the boys are race ready but that the girls may have a tougher job. Conditions, however, were hot and windy with only 37 of the 57 starters finishing.
Space available at Outrageous Duathlon
The organisers have asked us to let you know that there are still places available in next Sunday's duathlon. See their website.
Well, it wasn't exactly a huge secret that the BTA's National Elite Championships were going to be in Liverpool on September 5th, but we did think that the BTA website might have made the announcement before the latest issue of TriNews arrived! Normally berated for being behind the times, this issue also breaks the story that the European Duathlon Champs will not be in Northern Ireland, as previously announced, but at Swansea instead and that the National Age Group Champs will move from Buckingham to join them. Date for that one is September 26th, the day after the Milton Keynes Duathlon... Oh, and shame that nobody warned Nirvana, who are still advertising trips to Belfast!
Room at Hillingdon
Hillingdon Tristars are still accepting entries for their first duathlon of the year, to be held this Saturday 27th March. The event is run over distances of 2.5 miles run, 15 miles bike and 1 mile run on the traffic-free confines of Minet Park Cycle Circuit near Hayes in West London (easily accesible from the M4). The circuit is a 1-mile, purpose-built cycle venue and is perfect for both novices and experienced competitors. One major benefit of a traffic free venue is a leisurely start time of 2:30pm! Entries will be accepted on the day. For a full race calendar of all their events, race details and entry forms check out their website
Well, if you haven't got your entry in already you're definitely leaving it a tad late as there are already over 2,000 entries in the race and, at the rate they are arriving on John Lunt's doormat, the race could well be full by the end of the month! Given that the event has no official status this year (there are no qualifiers for any World Champs in 2004) and the BTA didn't see why they needed to include the athlete's favourite event (as per the annual vote) in their National Ranking Series, it's a remarkable testament to the race's (and its organisers') reputation. So, don't miss out -- get those entry forms in. Who knows, you might even have the pleasure of bumping into your favourite webmaster as you go in and out of transition...
East London Triathletes has agreed to take on Swim for Tri to manage the club's swim coaching. Swim for Tri is a swim technique and coaching concept developed by James Fleet, Dan Bullock and Keeley Bullock who share over 30 years experience of competitive swimming, coaching, teaching and direct involvement with triathlon. There are still a few places available in the East London Triathletes Dragon Slayer duathlon on the 4th April. This challenging and fun duathlon is held on a completely closed course at the Eastway Cycle Circuit in east London. There are also places available for any novice athletes out there who would like to try a duathlon, but aren't sure about the distance, in the Dragon Tamer. For details ring Claire Brady on 07760 207 668 or Rob Moorehead-Lane on 07970 761 422. Alternatively visit the club website.
Training camp full
Bucks Fizz Travel have told us that the inaugural London Triathlon Training Camp in Club Pollentia, Majorca between 1st and 6th May is now fully booked. Demand for the group has been beyond expectations and they will shortly start working on an expanded programme for 2005. Glenn Cook has ben announced as the lead coach for the group with a full support squad of 3 staff from Bucks Fizz.
Thanks to Simon Wilsons for the news that Andrea Whitcombe, who is currently training in Australia, won the NSW Olympic distance triathlon championships last weekend. Andrea took control on the bike leg in the non-drafting race and broke the course record by five and half minutes. Results are not currently available.
Neil Bardsley kindly pointed us at the article on the BCF website about Vicky's first foray into international bike racing. For thos who can't be bothered to follow the link, she finished 12th, 5 seconds off the leader and first Brit. Memories might be sparked of Ceris Gilfillan's equally successful transfer to cycling, although she retired last year at the tender age of 23.
Jess Draskau Peterson placed 5th in IM New Zealand today in a very respectable 9.54.53, Jo Lawn (NZL) won in 9.22.24. Full results on the Ironman Live website. Steve Guffick reports that Jess was not only 5th but broke Lisa Bentley's run course record in the process, recording 2:59:10 becoming the first ever female under 3hrs in NZ.
In a report on the BTA website where the Chairman pays tribute to his "legacy" (er, he isn't dead yet...) it now looks as though Simon Lessing won't be contesting a place on the British team at the Olympics. The book is now formally open on who'll be going; previously we had reckoned that it would be a repeat of 2000 but the loss of Simon makes it really quite open for the third slot. Current best guess would be AJ, Tim Don (apparently well recovered from last season's injury) and Marc Jenkins.
Anyone within the triathlon community will have already worked out that if London is to stage the Olympics in 2012 there will need to be a proven triathlon course in place. That is, a course of world class status... For several years now there has been a plan to run an event out of Hyde Park but money has always been an issue, not to mention the ticklish problem of shutting down a chunk of London! After the success of Salford, first as a venue for the Commonwealth Games and now as an ITU World Cup event, it's clear that this country can put on major triathlons -- given the right team. However, in a piece in today's Times, it seems as though money may well be the stumbling block rather than a lack of experienced crew. Various comments, including those by Minister for Sport and even the BTA's chairman, Peter Coulson, all seem to echo a doubt that a test event could be run and, if it were, that it might be of inferior quality. Odd, given the very same BTA's upbeat remarks yesterday regarding Salford...
The ITU want a test event to prove the proposed course, the triathletes will want a test event to prove the course and any contracted event organisers will want a test event -- just like for the Commonwealth Games where two test events were run at Salford in years prior to the games proper. Given the state of the 2004 Olympics and the fact that Athens only managed to run a test event less than a year before the real games it's hard to see why we couldn't (given funding) or shouldn't (for the reasons above) get 100% behind the proposals and make sure that they deliver a quality event. Surely it's in everyone's interests to be positive about this opportunity rather than seeking justification for failure before it has even been tried. But then, that's what politicians do, isn't it...
Training camp news
Steve Trew and Sian Brice have just four places remaining on the weekend training camp at Stoke Mandeville on March 13th and 14th. Cost is £88. Ace triathlete and marathoner Paula Craig has accepted the invitation to come along and be the guest speaker as well as train with the group. There are at seven practical sessions; 3 swim, 1 run, 2 cycle (1 turbo and 1 bike handling skills) and one brick/back to back. The practical training sessions are NOT just for the superfit superheroes, they are adaptable and will be adapted for all levels of fitness. If you are interested or would like any further info on this or future camps, get in touch with Steve
After the success of their January training day, Core Active will be running more of their innovative skills-based triathlon trianing camps at Crystal Palace Sports Centre, on March 28th and April 25th. There will be three coached sessions on each day: swimming, running and conditioning/core stability, with the camp costing £25 per head. Core Active coaches are the BTA London Region World Class performance coaches. To reserve a place contact Steve Freestone on or 07702 555211
And, finally, Maximum Potential are running two three-day Mental Mastery Sports Performance workshops in Bournemouth in April. These workshops will be led by Jeffrey Hodges, Australia's leading sports performance consultant, and Steve Ward, a sports performance coach from the UK. Practical, athlete friendly, easy to use techniques, from sports psychology and NLP will be taught, that will cover areas such as positive motivation, goal achievement strategies, emotional state management, concentration and focussing, relaxation and anxiety management, building confidence and self-belief and precision visualisation. Further details are available at www.maximumpotentialuk.com or by calling Steve on 01202 623322.
We received a nice press release today, all about the ITU World Cup race in Salford. All sorts of interesting comments by various involved parties and a hint or two at who might be taking part in this final warm-up for the Olympics. All perfectly clear. However, when we read the same piece on the BTA website we were a bit suprised because there seemed to be something different about it. Back to the original to check and, sure enough, there's a whole chunk missing. In fact, so far as the BTA website are concerned, the race is magically being put on by Salford, the ITU and, presumably, by those event organising supremos -- the BTA themselves...
Just for the record, here's the bit they seem to have missed out:
Race Director John Lunt comments: "We are honoured that Salford has once again been chosen to host the only ITU World Cup race in the UK for all the world to see. As one of the last World Cup events before the Olympics, the 2004 Countryside Properties Salford Triathlon ITU World Cup event has even greater importance for those racing in Athens. We should have a bumper field and the weekend will be a great advert for the sport of triathlon."
If you want to read the whole thing then there's a copy here.
In preparation for the big day in August we've started a page that will list all the national qualifiers. So far we know about New Zealand and Australia - are there others?
At the Oceania Championships in Devenport, Australia, Richard Stannard placed 4th with Andrew Johns and Leanda Cave both recording a DNF.
Feb-25: BTA Elite Champs on the move again
Two years ago it was Stockton, the start of a great new home for British Triathlon... Last year it was Swansea, the start of a great new home for British Triathlon... This year? Who knows! It won't be either of those two previously feted (should that be fated?) locations, that's for sure as a sponsor for Swansea has failed to come up with the goods - or so the news page of the BTA website reports.
Stuart Steele is running his next Swim Masterclass on the 7th March at Gala Baths, Walsall. Cost for the day is £25 and as well as including the usual stuff he's adding a section on turns which will help pool-based swimmers shave a few seconds off those 400m times. For details or visit his website.
Well, nearly new... OK, so I got carried away last year and bought a new bike... OK, so I got really carried away last year and bought two new bikes... Stupid! Inevitably, one gets used and the other doesn't and so I've decided that one of them has to go. The chosen (?) victim is a titanium Merlin Extralight Compact (now called the Magia) in Medium Large with Reynolds Ouzo Pro full carbon forks. The beast has full Dura-Ace 9-speed, ITM Four bars and stem, Easton CT2 seatpin, Selle Italia Oktavia saddle, Bontrager Race X-Lite wheels (2002/3 version in titanium finish) with Continental GP3000 tyres, Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-R pedals and a Cateye cordless computer which registers the shameful fact that the bike has only covered 600 miles. Offers in the region of £2,500 would be nice so if you are interested. No timewasters please!
A couple of days ago we mentioned the opening of SBR (Swim: Bike: Run) Sports, a new tri-oriented shop in Windsor: here's an update based on what we saw at the preview opening this afternoon. Small but perfectly formed may well be a bit of a cliché but given that there's not much room in a railway arch Martyn Edwards has packed a lot in there. Light, bright and with a definitely up-market product range, this is a place where you'll easily depart with something nice tucked into a bag -- I know, because that's exactly what Jen did... Downstairs has Sugoi and Concurve running kit, shoes, SiS and a smattering of essentials while upstairs holds the majority of the stock with Orca and Ironman wetsuits, Orca and Sugoi tri kit plus Gore, Nalini and Pearl Isumi bike kit. Not much in the way of bikes, there's simply not that much space, but we saw a team issue bike, and an Ambrosio in place and a QR box arrived while we were there. Despite not officially opening until Saturday there's already a feeling that the business is up and running and just waiting for the customers to arrive - as they already are, one local popped in for a pair of new trainers this morning on the off-chance that they would be open.
Feb-19: Battle plans for Lessing and Smith
In what could be a very interesting year for UK Ironmen and women, the battle plans for Simon Lessing and Spencer Smith seem to be taking shape. Following Simon's signing to Asics as a shoe sponsor, xtri reports that his plans include Half Ironman California and\or Half Ironman Florida, and Ironman USA (Lake Placid). In the meantime a posting on the triathlondiscussion group by Bob Holloway reports a conversation with Spencer at the TCR Show. His plans include Ironman Austria, Windsor and Sherborne (which is a 2004 qualifier). Thanks to Neil Bardsley for the heads up on the Lessing story.
As we noted in a piece last year when the news about Simon's Hawaii ambitions first surfaced, even the pro athletes have to qualify for Hawaii, just like the age groupers. To that end this weekend's Ironman Malaysia sees the first GB age group contingent looking for those elusive slots.
There are still places available for the Llanelli Duathlon on March 7th. The event which is a 5km run, 30km bike, 5km run and kicks off a very busy season on the Welsh Triathlon circuit. Further details plus an entry form can be obtained from their website.
The City of Chester Triathlon Club are organising a series of free taster Aquathlon races around Cheshire in order to introduce novices to the delights of multisport. The dates and venues are:
- Sunday 21st March 3 - 4 pm, Sir John Deane's School, Northwich
- Saturday 10th April 4 - 5 pm, Great Sankey Leisure Centre, Warrington
- Saturday 24th April 3 - 4 pm, Christleton High School, Chester
The distances will be 10 lengths swim (250m) and 1 mile run. They will be low key sessions with no pressure, plenty of support and the emphasis on fun. For more information or to book a place email or call Janine and Andy White on 01244 682490.
According to reports on the BBC and other news sites, Marco Pantani was found dead in an hotel room in Rimini, Italy earlier today. (Rimini was where the Duathlon Worlds was held in 2001) As to whether his death was drugs related or as a result of his reported depression is not yet clear. UPDATE: Current theory is that it was a heart attach but there were tranquilizers in the room but it is not yet known whether these played a part.
21-year-old Belgian cyclist Johan Sermon has also been found dead from apparent heart failure in his sleep. The death of the under-23 rider in the Daikin team, emerged just hours after Marco Pantani was found dead.
This weekend sees the second holding of the Triathlon, Cycling, Running Show at Sandown Park, Esher. Follow the link on the left for details. We were there this evening during some of the set-up and there's certainly far more retail this year than last and it looks like there may well be a lot more people going; the Frosty 10k on Sunday has over 700 people entered! Enjoy - sadly I'll be a couple of miles down the road standing behind the counter of a certain well-known bike/triathlon shop waiting for some overspill from the stand at the show...
On Saturday 21st February at 11am, SBR (Swim: Bike: Run) Sports will be officially opening it's doors to the public at 17A The Arches, Goswell Hill, Windsor - that's underneath the Slough/Windsor railway line. SBR Sports is being launched by Martyn Edwards, well-known as a UK age group triathlete, and already has an interesting collection of athletes in its team (see website for details). While this isn't a 10,000 sqft triathlon emporium like Tri-UK just opened (their Endless Pool would probably fill Martyn's whole shop!) it is local for a large section of the SouthEast's triathlon community and literally on the doorstep of the UK's top race. First 100 through the door on the 21st, once double Olympian Greg Searle has cut the tape, get free goodybags and there's a website competition, with prizes from top brand names.
Well, finally, the new style makeover is complete. While we've tested it as thoroughly as possible, it's inevitable that a few gremlins are still lurking so if you find any please let us know. We are also re-working a lot of the older content to bring it up to date so watch for more new stuff soon.
There's been a fair smattering of mail about the withdrawal of the classifieds: the decision stands until someone figures how to fit more hours into a day. However, we have been advised of an alternative classifieds section on the Rightzone website. Please feel free to pay it a vist!
The second Australian qualifier was won by Simon Thompson, he also won the first one. Greg Bennett placed second and he now takes the second Australian Olympic slot for Athens. AJ was 6th, Richard Stannard 9th.
OK, we're running a bit later than expected - recoding all those pages has been a bit harder and more time consuming than we estimated. However, a couple of decisions have been taken: the classifieds section won't be coming back, free or otherwise, and we won't be changing to a blog-style format either. The site will continue to provide the race calendar and will host race results for organisers (where they care to submit them) and we'll continue to post news and comment on the UK triathlon scene as we have since 1998. Current estimates to the update are within 2 weeks so please be patient.
James Beckinsale, the coach for Optima Racing Team, has been looking for somewhere for the team to swim in the morning (6am - 7am). Putney Leisure Centre (upper Richmond Road) have offered the pool at this time on, say, a Tuesday, but ORT only need two lanes. If anyone else would like to take up the remaining space could they please contact him by email - .
Bit late, we know, but Annie finished 10th and first lady (only 2 places behind Richard Stannard, her long-term partner). Results and pictures are on the Serps website.
As mentioned at the end of last year, we're taking some time to do a bit of tinkering under the hood with the way that the website operates. This should all be completed during January. While that happens we'll only be making minimal updates to the site although the race calendar will be kept up to date and any major news items will be posted here or on the updates page.