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Croyde Ocean Triathlon gallery

Pics and report from the Olympic-distance toughie in North Devon

Some 222 athletes lined up on Putsborough beach, North Devon, this weekend to face what’s fast becoming known as one of the most savage Olympic-distance races in the UK: the Croyde Ocean Triathlon in Association with Hyundai Roundswell.

Despite heavy rain during the night, competitors awoke to blue skies and calm seas. Hannah Dry of Guildford took an early lead over the whole race in the sea swim with a 27:54 split, which set her up to an overall finish of 13th in the women’s race. The new 40km bike route took the competitors to Fullabrook Windfarm and back, and while the roads were quiet and avoided Ilfracombe this time, the consensus from athletes was that it was tougher with longer climbs than 2015.

By the end of the bike leg, Harry Edney from Barnstaple had a 2min lead over Bristol’s James Travers. With temperatures reaching 23ºC, the heat took its toll on the competitors as they faced the arduous 12km off-road climb over Saunton Down. Descending down to Croyde Beach, Travers managed to overtake Harry Edney, only 6km from the end of the race, winning the second Croyde Ocean Triathlon in a time of 2:35:51, just missing out on breaking Sam Petty’s course record by 24secs. Third place overall was James Heal from Taunton.

The first woman across the line was Claire Powell of Hedge End Triathlon Club with a time of 3:05:39; local Victoria Duncan was in second place and Super Veteran Julia Taberham in third. The fastest team was Amazeballs, a local team from Georgeham, and the ladies category was won by Ab Fam, a group of sisters from Devon, and first place in the mixed team category was local team Black Sheep Fitness.

BBC spotlight

The oldest woman to compete was Sue Bathgate, who was celebrating her 68th Birthday and received two presents: taking gold in the Vintage Women’s category and being featured in BBC Spotlight. Oldest Man was 69 and youngest to compete was Lucy Tothill of North Somerset, aged 18 who came in second in her category.

Half of the runners were local, with the other half coming from all over the UK and also from far afield as Russia, 28-year-old Elena Yusova who came 15th in her category.

Aside from the carnival-like atmosphere and a great turn out of spectator, the Croyde Ocean Triathlon raised approximately £10,000 for various charities: Seamoor Chemotherapy Unit Barnstaple, RNLI, Croyde Surf Life Saving Club and Over and Above.

Head to croydeocean.co.uk for more on the race.

Images: DAVE KEIGHTLEY

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