While the excitement of football fever grips the rest of the country this weekend some of the UK's best triathletes will be having sleepless nights for entirely different reasons. That's because on Sunday (June 13) 2,500 elite and age group competitors will compete in the Nokia Windsor Triathlon as it celebrates a major milestone - the 20th running of the race.
Such was the demand for places at this year's event, the most prestigious on the UK's racing calendar, which all 2,500 spots sold out within days of online registration opening.
'I don't know whether it's because this is the 20th anniversary or because of the magnificent setting which takes in some of Windsor's iconic sights, but everyone wanted to be a part of this race,' said John Lunt, founder of Human Race which organises the event.
Sunday begins with a series of age group starts, or 'waves' followed by the elite women's and men's races, the third of five races in the 2010 British Triathlon Super Series. Once all five races are complete one male and one female athlete will be crowned British Triathlon Super Series Champions.
With 2009 Windsor winner, Stuart Hayes, away in America racing it will fall to Richard Stannard, twice a victor here, to take on Olympian Marc Jenkins, 29-year-old Gavin Noble and Tom Bishop and Daniel Halksworth (who finished 3rd and 5th respectively at Blenheim last week) to fight it out for the honour of being crowned the 2010, and 20th, Nokia Windsor Triathlon winner.
In the women’s elite field, the Irish look to be hot contenders for podium places with the 2006 champion, Vanessa Raw facing tough competition from Irish triathletes including Strathclyde Triathlon winner Jacqui Slack and Emma Davies.
Whilst Sunday’s racing will see the elite field competing for a £10,000 prize fund, the majority of the competitors will be amateurs of all ages and abilities, part of a massively growing number of people who are taking up triathlons for recreation. Many of these competitors will be supporting official Charity Leukaemia Research who are on target to raise over £50,000 as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations.
The event's youngest competitor will be the up and coming star, Sky Draper, aged 14 from Middlesex who is a member of British Triathlon’s High Performance Squad, and is tipped to take the women's Sprint race (750m swim, 30km bike, 5km run). Sky will be competing for the first time since a recent bike accident, while out training on the Windsor course, saw her hospitalised.
The day's oldest participant will be the irrepressible Daphne Belt who only took up triathlon at the age of 51 and is still competing 20 years later. She'll be joined by husband, Steve Belt, who's taking part in the younger 60-64 category.
Racing begins at 6am with a series of 'starts' or waves beginning with the Sprint distance and then moving on to the full distance. The Elite Women's race begins at 9am and the Elite Men's 20 minutes later at 9.20am.
As always there will be plenty of entertainment and refreshments for those watching at the start and finish areas. Best spectator vantage points, together with full details on the course for those racing are available on www.nokiaoutdoorseries.co.uk
The public are also invited to browse the triathlon village which is open and free of charge throughout the weekend, with retailers and sports brands demonstrating the latest equipment. Full details on the race, including maps and information can be found on www.humanrace.co.uk