Jenson Button, the British racing driver, displayed his physical fitness and passion for the world’s fastest growing mass participation sport as he excelled at the Mazda London Triathlon, recording a remarkable time of 02:07:02 (two hours, seven minutes and two seconds) over the Olympic distance (1,500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run).
Button was joined in his race wave by British MotoGP 125cc rider, Bradley Smith (18), who recorded a total time of 02:13:36 (two hours, 13 minutes and 36 seconds). The motorsport pairing exchanged some pre and post race banter, but it was Button who finished as the narrow victor after both men put in impressive performances
"I had to wake up at 4am to get here this morning and I loved it – it has been my best ever Sunday morning," said Button. "I enjoyed it today, it’s such an amazing event, it’s so big and it’s great that triathlon is doing so well in the UK. I hope that its growth continues."
Of Bradley Smith, Button commented: "He did very well, he’s a fit lad and so am I and it’s great to show that at events like this. Our performance demonstrates that we do have to train hard to be an F1 driver or a MotoGP rider and that when we aren’t racing, we aren’t just at home sitting around and that we do have to be very fit in order to race at our level."
In the elite field, Great Britain’s Will Clarke won the men’s race, with Australian Courtney Atkinson coming second and the overall British Triathlon Super Series winner, Stuart Hayes, finishing in third place. The current women’s World Champion, Great Britain’s Helen Jenkins, took the honours in the women’s elite race, with Liz Blatchford (second) and Jodie Swallow (third) close behind.
Another familiar face around the course on Saturday was that of ex-England and British Lions winger, Rory Underwood, who completed the Olympic course in a time of 03:10:28 (three hours, ten minutes and 28 seconds). The former Royal Air Force Pilot was competing in aid of Help for Heroes and received great support as he completed his first Olympic distance triathlon.
In total, the weekend witnessed nearly 10,000 competitors taking part in the swim-bike-run event, with over 50 percent of those being triathlon first-timers. Starting and finishing at London’s ExCeL, the course spanned some of the city’s most renowned landmarks including the London Eye, Big Ben, and Tower Bridge. Over £3 million was raised for charity with over 55,000 spectators cheering on the competitors.
Title sponsor Mazda demonstrated its commitment to the London Triathlon by providing funding and entering a team in the event for the second consecutive year. "Mazda is keen to lead by example to help triathlon grow as a sport in the UK," explained Mark Cameron, Mazda Sales and Marketing Director, who completed his second Sprint distance at the event on Saturday, following his triathlon debut at the Mazda Blenheim Triathlon.
All race times are available at www.triathlonresults.co.uk. For a full interview with Jenson and to see his training plans, see the September issue of 220 (out 25 Aug).