A record-breaking 6,000 participants made the trip to Tenby, Pembrokeshire for the Long Course Weekend (4-5 July), a slightly different format of triathlon which challenges people to different swim, bike and run distances across the weekend.
>>> Gallery: Long Course Weekend 2014
In brief, athletes can choose to swim 1.2 or 2.4 miles on the Friday, bike 40, 72 or 112 miles on the Saturday, and run a 10k, half or full marathon on the Sunday. Athletes who attempt to complete the full Long Course Weekend need to complete a 2.4 mile sea swim, 112 mile bike ride and a full marathon, all within the allotted cut off times.
The prize fund offers £1000 for the swim 1st place, £1000 for the marathon 1st place and £1000 for the full Long Course Weekend winner. The Wales Swim offers £500 to the charity of choice to whomever can beat the hare, which this year was Thomas Allen – who wears a golden swim cap. The top 150 fastest riders of the King of the Hill in Saundersfoot are giving the chance to win a brand new Ceepo Frame curtsey of Ceepo Bikes.
Due to the record number of athletes, registration and expo opened Thursday 2nd July, along with arranged seminars with Mark from Mikes Bikes, 2014 men’s champion Oliver Simon and 4x Ironman winner Lucy Gossage.
Every year the weekend starts with Taff Kids on the beach and 2015 was no different, with nearly 500 children on the beach it was bigger than ever before. This year the National Anthem was sung by St Florence, Tenby Juniors and Tenby Infants and a local samba band also entertained crowds before the event started. Taff Kids is a splash and dash and a chance for primary school aged children to get involved as they cross the main finish line on the beach in front of thousands of spectators.
Taff Kids was followed by The 2XU Wales Swim, with 1,800 athletes entering the water to take on either 1.2 or 2.4 miles of sea swimming. Tommy Allen was the hare of the swim event, with a £500 prize going to the charity of choice for whoever beat him.
Tommy Allen finished 1st with a time of 44:45mins. Second place was Chris Suggitt (45:36mins) and third place was Andrew Horsfall-Turner (47:41mins). The women’s swim event saw Fern Davies take first place with a time of 54:49mins, and closely behind in second place came Carol Bridge (58:17mins), then in third place was Hayley Davis (59:31mins).
The Pedal Cover Wales Sportive takes place on the Saturday, starting in the Salterns and incorporating the Ceepo King of the Hill in Saundersfoot. The route is known for being challenging and hilly, however with fantastic scenery all the way round.
The top 20 Long Course Weekend athletes from the Wales Swim cycled down the ramp off the Stage at the Salterns, where a DJ played music and fireworks started an epic day of cycling for all cyclists. Pro triathlete Stephen Bayliss led after the swim and therefore was leading off the ramp.
Closely behind came reigning champion Oliver Simon and last year’s second place Dominic Rohan-Gates. The Ceepo King of the Hill saw Parys Edwards winning the ladies’ race with a time of 35.6secs, and James Shaw took the men’s title with a very quick time of 26.3secs.
Top three males overall for the Pedal Cover Wales Sportive: 1st Dominic Rohan-Gates, 2nd Oliver Simon and 3rd Roscoe Howell. Top 3 females overall: 1st Lucy Gossage, 2nd Parys Edwards and 3rd Emma Newsome.
The last day of the Long Course Weekend saw athletes take on the run leg of the event. Participants were able to choose either the Oakwood Wales Marathon, Oakwood Wales half marathon or the Coastal Cottages 10k distance.
The Wales Marathon male winner was Gareth Petts, closely behind in second place was Richard Gardiner, and in third was Gareth Thomas. The women’s marathon was won by Karen Sobrino, followed by Jillian Gordon and Nerys Jones.
The half marathon male winner was Ryan Mclfynn, second place was 2xU’s Mike Martin and third place was Charlies Morris. Half marathon female winner was 2xU’s Freya Martin, followed by Lucy Gossage and Kayley Price. The new 10k event that launched at this year’s Long Course Weekend saw Matthew Rees take first place with a time of 34:26secs, followed by Oliver Brace and Rhys Harries.
A record number of athletes enter the Full Long Course Weekend this year, with the final number of competitors hitting 650. Oliver Simon managed to retain his Long Course Crown this year, though Dominic Rohan-Gates finished very close behind, with only a few minutes in between them.
Unfortunately Stephen Bayliss who was high up the leader board was unable to start the Marathon due to illness. There was a new winner on the women’s board, with Nerys Jones’s Long Course Weekend title taken from her by Emma Newsome.
Top 10 men
1 Oliver Simon
2 Dominic Rohan-Gates
3 Richard Gardiner
4 Gareth Petts
5 Steve Parsons
6 Craig Dummer
7 Charles Hickman
8 Stuart Curtis
9 Robin Guy
10 Stuart Evans
Top 10 women
1 Emma Newsome
2 Nerys Jones
3 Heather Rees
4 Stephanie Waring
5 Liz Steward
6 Bethan Griffiths
7 Jayne Arnold
8 Claire Stubbs
9 Miriam Brown
10 Linda De Max
Full results here.
The event will be televised and will be on Channel 4 August the 29th on Channel 4. Entries are open for the 2016 event at www.longcourseweekend.com.
(Main image: Dirty Green Trainers)
Did you race the Long Course Weekend? Let us know in the comments below!