Race Reports

Willesden Triathlon Club members participate in a wide range of events. Here are a selection of our race reports and reviews:

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Outlaw Half Iron Distance 2014 Race Report (raced May 2014) – Richard the Second

Outlaw Half

Why did you choose this event?
I chose this event in a moment of madness in August 2013 after successfully completing a (flat!) Olympic distance event two weeks prior (raising money for charity makes you feel even higher!), and because it’s the route to the full distance Ironman event…… okay I’ll honest it’s because it is a fairly flat course, it’s not a premium branded race (no extra £££), because its midlands based (Nottingham) and finally because it’s been voted a really awesome event by the Triathlon magazines, quickly selling out its limited field year after year. [Ed’s note – the 2015 event sold out in 36hours!!!]

How was the swim, bike and run?
The swim was as expected, if a little pungent because of the weeds on the lake bottom which were quite overpowering. The bike was enjoyable but as for the run wow, as it’s the last discipline it was maybe one of the hardest runs I’ve ever done, I found the last hour purgatory as I was past empty.

How did training with Willesden Triathlon Club help you for this event?
Training with Willesden Triathlon Club helped me by giving me a social group to train with during the weekends, and lots of encouragement to keep up with the training. When you are around people doing the same hobbies as yourself it pushes you to do more. There were ideas and advice around en route to the big day.

What advice would you give people thinking of doing this race in the future?
Do it. And if you don’t do it, go support the others that do! And take jelly babies to hand out! The atmosphere was great from what I remember…..good dream, bad dream…..great event! And to treat the event with respect from at least three months out. To me, it’s more than a marathon in terms of distance, i.e. it’s a ‘proper’ event, so the lifestyle needs to reflect that- nutrition, routine and dare I say it the social drinking that I/ we do ; )

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Pruhealth World Triathlon London 2014 (raced May 2014) – Emma

Why did you choose this event?
Having watched in amazement both the pros and distinguished WTC members race at Hyde Park, I thought never in a million years would I be able to do that too! But I like a new challenge and so when this year they included a Super Sprint distance race (400m swim, 15.5k bike & 2.5K run) it seemed like something I might be able to do!

How was the swim, bike and run?
The swim was in the very picturesque Serpentine. I had visions of it being very speedy/vicious, but as it was the very last wave of the day with lots of other slightly terrified triathlon newbies it was actually quite enjoyable!

The bike course is nice and flat-ish – 2 laps for the Super Sprint – the bike turn was a bit confusing and involved weaving in and out of hay bales!

The run was a bit of a shock to my system (felt a bit like trying to run through treacle), but it’s a nice flat-ish loop back around the Serpentine. The finish is great, as you get to run the blue carpet like the pros – plus your friends/family can watch you finish from the grandstand.

How did training with Willesden Triathlon Club help you for this event?
WTC training has been great! Incredibly patient coaching from Kristin (and of course James & Deb) which got me from being a hyperventilating front crawler to a vaguely reasonable one! As well as helping me be a bit speedier on the run! Without WTC training I doubt I would have finished with such a big smile on my face!

What advice would you give people thinking of doing this race in the future?
Don’t be put off by the fact that this is large race (5,000 amateurs) or a pros race. There’s a huge range of people/abilities that compete. In my wave there were people racing on everything from a mountain and folding bikes, to very expensive high end road bikes! Everyone’s really friendly and helpful. Plus there seemed to be a lot of first timers.

Try out your wetsuit/open water swimming in the Serpentine Lido before the race. I found the concept of swimming in open water/ the Serpentine really daunting, but once I’d had a go and found it was fine (and not too full of duck poop!) I felt less nervous.

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Hever Castle Triathlon (raced 2013 and 2014) – Poppy
CASTLE TRIATHLON SERIES

Why did you choose this event?
To me racing is about being challenged and enjoying time with friends, so with the prospect of a varied course in castle grounds and other Willesden Triathletes already signed up for a weekend of fun it seemed a great end to the season. (Ed: so great Poppy entered the event again in 2014)

How was the swim, bike, run?
The scene was set as the race brief was given in medieval costume surrounded by the castle grounds. Despite being at the end of September, the water temperature was pleasant and with multiple waves, the start was not congested and was able to relax into the two laps of the lake. The ‘undulating’ bike course through the beautiful Kent countryside provided a fun challenge with hills, corners and straight stretches and the opportunity to see fellow Willesden Triathletes in different waves en route. The final run weaved through forest, fields and passed by lakes and the castle itself with a clear finish point to allow a sprint finish.

How did training with Willesden Triathlon Club help you for this event?
From a training perspective those ‘fast feet’ echoed in my mind to constantly push ahead. Having Willesden friends we all helped each other calm nerves and sort ourselves out in transition, and cheer each other on. From a friendly rivalry perspective the fear of being overtaken kept me on my toes!

What advice would you give people thinking of doing this race in the future?
Go for it! Due to the ‘undulating’ terrain of the course, this is not be the place to expect a PB (personal best), though does give the opportunity to just enjoy yourself and practice race technique.
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The Thames Turbo Sprint Series (raced 2013) – Lucy

Logo

Why did you choose this event?
I chose this event as my first triathlon because it was a sprint distance with a short pool swim (400m). I didn’t own a wetsuit at the time, and wasn’t very confident about my swimming, so it seemed an ideal first triathlon. Also it was in London, so fairly easy to get to get to.

The swim was in a heated pool (which was good, especially as it started at 6am and it wasn’t a warm morning!). It was really well organised and the starting order was done by swim time, so there wasn’t too much overtaking in the pool. The bike route was 20k mostly along quiet roads by the Thames. The route was lovely and the roads were in reasonable condition – I have to admit to getting a bit distracted by the nice views of the Thames. The run was in Bushy Park, with only a small part of the route on a loop. It was lovely to be able to see deer whilst running!

The event was very friendly with lots of first timers and really well organised. Seemed to also be lots of people who obviously enjoy the course and come back and do it again. The race is part of a series, so I did enter again later in the year (and improved my time).

How did training with Willesden Triathlon Club help you for this event?
I couldn’t have done it without the swim training, I wouldn’t have been confident enough, or managed more than one length of front crawl! The running sessions really helped my pace in the run, and I got a PB 5K time!

What advice would you give people thinking of doing this race in the future?
I would highly recommend this as a first triathlon – really friendly and nice experience. It does have a really early start, so is a bit hard to get to if you don’t have a car, so do it with a friend who has a car if you don’t have one.
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