Cholmondeley Castle Triathlon 2015 race report

Lucy Gossage and Colin Norris win middle-distance race The Gauntlet in Cheshire

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The 2015 Cholmondeley Castle Triathlon took place last weekend in sunny Cheshire, with 1,500 competitors racing across two days and plenty of new champions crowned across a variety of distances.

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One of the biggest draws was middle-distance race The Gauntlet, with Lucy Gossage tipped as women’s favourite after her commanding win at Ironman 70.3 Staffs a few weeks ago. New Zealand’s Sam Warriner had other ideas though, and proved a challenge for Gossage on the bike.

The Gauntlet

Unfortunately for Warriner, the big lead she built on the second leg would melt away to almost nothing after a mechanical. Gossage found herself in the unusual position of coming into T2 just over a minute in arrears and it was left to the run leg for her to create a lead and eventually cross the line as the 2015 champion, with Warriner coming second 6mins behind. Fran Summers rounded off the podium. Impressively, Gossage would also finish third overall and with a new women’s course record of 4:31:45.

Lucy Gossage wins The Gauntlet

Lucy Gossage on the finish line

“I really enjoyed Cholmondeley Castle Triathlon,” said Lucy afterwards. “I love the bike and run courses – it is technical, twisty and hilly and much more interesting than most. It was great to see so many novices doing shorter races out on the course at the same time and then of course the kids in the afternoon. A real family event and one I was really pleased to be part of again.”

In the men’s race, several elites were also entered including Xterra specialist Matt Dewis, iron-distance pro Darren Jenkins and a former champion on The Gauntlet series, Matt Leeman. However, it was perhaps a less-fancied name who won the race against some of the better known names.

Matt Leeman at The Gauntlet

Matt Leeman on the run

However it was former British Middle Distance Champion Colin Norris (M25-29) who won out, and Norris says he plans to return for the Castle Triathlon Series finale at Hever Castle on Sunday 27th September. 

Darren Jenkins finished the race in fourth in what was his second of four attempts at competing in every Gauntlet race in the series. Jenkins will now begin his preparations for The Bastion iron-distance triathlon being held at Hever Castle on the 12th July 2015 for which he starts as one of the favourites.

Luke Pollard, Catherine Jameson win at the Olympic Distance

In the shorter but sharper Olympic Distance triathlon, it was Luke Pollard and Catherine Jameson who emerged victorious.

The race was incredibly competitive with times to reflect that and Pollard will be pleased to have taken the scalp of Welsh Commonwealth representative and elite Liam Lloyd, who managed 2nd on the day.

The rest of the action 

As is typical of a Castle Triathlon Series race, there were races for all age groups and distances up from 8 years old and a new starter sprint launched especially for those who might have never done a triathlon previously.

Juniors prepare for Cholmondeley Castle Triathlon

The event welcome more children (8 – 15 years old), than ever before with 400 taking to the start line. In keeping with the family theme, volunteers from the NSPCC helped see them round the course and welcomed them over the finishing line. Elites Cat Jameson and Max Hazell inspired the next generation by joining in with the prize giving.

The event also welcomed a huge number of spectators who enjoyed the triathlon festival, including live bands, and revelled in the new event format which introduced an Australian-style exit to the swim course and a change to the bike course that allowed competitors to come through the castle grounds so that the crowds could get up close to the action for this part of the race.

2015 Cholmondeley Castle Triathlon Champions

The Gauntlet (1.9km / 96km / 21km)

Colin Norris (4:21:01)
Lucy Gossage (4:31:45)

Standard distance (1.5km / 44km / 10km)

Luke Pollard (2:04:12)
Catherine Jameson (2:19:01)

Sprint Plus

Lewis Eccleston (1:55:11)
Sophie Johnson (2:17:29) 

Super Sprint

Russell Parry (00:57:00)
Rachel Hall (00:59:46) 

Starter Sprint

Glenn Singleton (00:49:21)
Nicola Pye (00:50:00)

13-15 years

Jed Skilton (00:36:11)
Kate Pugh (00:43:11)

11-12 years

Benjamin Cumberland (00:21:39)
Molly Reardon (00:25:22)

8-10 years

Ruben Snelson (00:19:15)
Sarah-Michelle Clear (00:23:22)

Full results of all races here.

The next event on the Castle Triathlon Series is at Hever Castle in Kent on the 12th July. Over 200 triathletes will take on the epic iron-distance challenge in The Bastion, or take part in the new long distance Aquabike challenges and open water swims taking place on the same day.

For more information on any of the races, or to enter a triathlon in 2015, visit www.castletriathlonseries.co.uk.

(All images: Paul Warburton)

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