Eton SuperSprints 2015 race report
Two-day multisport festival hosts kids’ Scootathlon and keenly contested Super Sprint races
Eton SuperSprints returned to Dorney Lake last weekend, marking the start of many people’s 2015 triathlon season with a two-day event that offered a range of events from the kids’ Scootathlon to the adults’ races.
Saturday started with the first LittleLife Scootathlon (390m scoot/390m bike/250m run), with 100 kids taking part. The children’s efforts were rewarded with a t-shirt and medal giving them all fantastic bragging rights at school the following week!
Having had all winter to cool down, Dorney Lake greeted the adult triathletes with a less than balmy 14 degrees. The intrepid first wave struggled with the temperature to begin with but soon got into their stride as they swam fast to keep warm.
Patrick Tierney stormed to victory in the men’s race with the only sub-1 hour time of the day, completing the 400m swim, 21.2k bike and 5k run in 58.58. Unusually for triathlon, it was the swim that made the difference on the day.
It may have been the fact that the wind had dropped by the time the final wave reserved for Ful-on-Tri triathletes took to the water, making the lake significantly less choppy than the first wave at 9.30am, but 5:36mins for the 400m swim was an impressive time even in calm waters.
Second place went to George Eyles who just missed out finishing in under an hour, crossing the line in 1:00:12. Richard Curling, also of Ful-on-Tri took third place honours in 1:00:30 and had the added satisfaction of having the fastest T2 transition time of 41 seconds making him the proud winner of the T2 trainer’s prize, courtesy of Zoot.
Over in the female race, Ful-on-Tri were a class above the competition, taking four of the top five places. Sarah Lewis, who came 13th overall on the day, was the fastest female, completing the course in 1:04:21. Lewis’ swim of 5:26 was the fastest overall on the day, and the only sub-20 minutes for a female on the run course made her a very worthy winner.
Christina Jenkins, also of Ful-on-Tri, took second place in 1:06:12. Tamsin Neale was third across the line finishing in an impressive 1:08:56: she was also the fastest female in T2 transition across the weekend making her the lucky winner of a pair of Zoot trainers.
Almost 700 triathletes were welcomed on Sunday by glorious blue skies and sunshine at Dorney Lake for day two of the Garmin Eton SuperSprints.
Following Saturday’s format, the Super Sprint consists of a 400m swim, 21.2km bike and 5km run. Despite only one distance on offer, the event attracts a mix of seasoned athletes looking to test their legs after a gruelling winter of training as well as many first timers looking to take advantage of the short swim distance as a way to dip their toes into the world of triathlon.
Before the triathlon waves kicked off, the real stars of the show headed to the start line, with their helmets firmly on and their scooters at the ready. It was of course the start of the increasingly popular LittleLife Scootathlon, an event for 4-8 year olds who scoot 390m and cycle 390m before running the 250m to the finish line where they receive their special Scootathlon medal.
The big kids (7-8 year olds) were first off, showing their younger siblings how it should be done. Race Director Matt Brooke who was leading the way for the young athletes had his work cut out keeping ahead of the field. Two more waves; the 6 year olds and then the 4-5 year olds then proceeded. In total we saw over 100 children take part, which is very exciting news for the sport of triathlon.
Next came the adults’ triathlon races, with nine waves throughout the day. The first three consisted of Mates Waves, which allows friends and family to take part together regardless of age and sex. The remaining waves were split by age and gender.
In the men’s race there was less than 1 minute between the top three finishers, but only one man broke the awe-inspiring 1 hour barrier and that was last year’s 3rd place athlete, David Hill, who powered home in 59:48. Just missing out on the sub 1 hour club by 7 tenths of a second, and finishing in a very impressive 2nd was Harrison Smith who crossed the line in 1:00.07. Close behind him was Richard Bull who took bronze position with a time of 1:00.31.
Young athletes stole the show in the women’s race with two under 17’s finishing in the top three. First to finish was Kathryn Bell in a time of 1:12.28. There was very little between the silver and bronze positions with Tracey Hare crossing the line in 1:13.13 and Emily Bannister in 1:13.33.
A special mention goes to Elle Linton who overcame her fear of the open water and, after a very nervous start, went on to conquer her fear and finish the course in a very respectful time.
No-one could challenge the speedy T2 times set by Saturday’s triathletes, so Richard Curling of Ful-on-Tri (41 seconds) and Tamsin Neale (47 seconds) were the weekend’s winners of brand new Zoot trainers.
The Eton Sprints and the Mixed Distance Tri are heading to Dorney Lake next weekend (23/24 May), and organisers Human Race will also be bringing the 25th Windsor Triathlon to the banks of the Thames on 14 June.
Did you take part in the Eton SuperSprints? Let us know in the comments below!