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Home / News / F1 ace Jenson Button races Blenheim Triathlon

F1 ace Jenson Button races Blenheim Triathlon

Tim Don and Gillian Sanders win elite races

Formula 1 driver Jenson Button clocked up an impressive 1.09.50 on his debut at the GE Blenheim Triathlon today [Sunday], with girlfriend Jessica Michibata completing the course in 1.47.01.

The former world champion, who was racing with friends on the picturesque Oxfordshire course, was the fastest of a number of celebrities involved over the weekend.

Former Olympic, European and Commonwealth champion Iwan Thomas clocked up 1.30.00, whilst 55 Degrees North actor Mark Lewis-Jones went round in 1.36.00.

Jenson Button commented; “I love doing triathlon. It’s one of the few times I get to see all of my friends.

“It’s great being part of the Ichiban Triathlon Team. Today was fantastic, and a tough challenge. It’s amazing to be able to race at a beautiful venue in such a well organised event.

“It was wonderful for Jess to race in front of her mum and our friends with the support of so many spectators.

“We have been to races in Kona, Honalulu and all over the world, but to me, as this is my home country, it is the most beautiful.”

In the Men’s Elite Race, reigning champion Tim Don exited the water in fifth position at the end of the 750m swim, but quickly moved through the field to lead through the majority of the 20km bike. From this point Don ran away to complete the 5.4km run and finish in a total winning time of 59.30. Fellow Brits Tom Bishop and Todd Leckie finished second and third in times of 1.00.04 and 1.00.10 respectively.

In the Women’s Elite Race, young British junior athlete Lucy Hall looked on course to upset her seniors, coming out of the water in first position with a phenomenal time of 9mins 23 seconds. Hall set the early pace on the bike, only to be caught by chasing group midway through stage. Heading out onto the run she was overtaken by South African Olympic hopeful Gillian Sanders and fellow Brit Jacqueline Slack. Sanders quickly asserted her dominance on the run, clocking up a time of 20mins, 10seconds on the 5.4km run to finish in a total time of 1.08.12 – over a minute clear of Slack, who finished in 1.09.20.

Hall managed to hold off the chasing competition to finish in third overall and first Junior in a time of 1.09.41 – taking home two medals from the day (Bronze in the Elite, and Gold in the Junior).

Gordon Benson took the Junior Elite title in the Men’s Race in a time of 1.01.49.

As well as the Elite athletes and celebrities, the weekend saw more than 5,500 amateur competitors participate with over 15,000 spectators cheering them around the course. Families turned out in force to enjoy the carnival atmosphere in the sunshine, whilst cheering on their children in the Active Kids zone events.

Simon Langford, GE Communications London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, commented “We’ve been delighted with our first time as sponsors of the GE Blenheim Triathlon, it’s been great to be a part of such a fantastic event with over 6,000 participants, including 40 GE employees from all parts of the business racing during the weekend. It’s all part of our HealthAhead programme encouraging GE employees to get active, fitter and enjoy the sport of triathlon no matter their experience or level.”

James Robinson, Managing Director of IMG Challenger World, commented; “Blenheim Palace has once again proved to be a fantastic stage in which to host a world class triathlon event. We have witnessed two fantastic performances from Don and Sanders in the elite races today, as well as seeing men and women from all walks of life getting involved and having fun throughout the weekend.”

Paul Orsi, Event Manager, Blenheim Palace, said: “It has been a huge honour to welcome back the GE Blenheim Triathlon for its seventh successive year.

“The weekend’s racing has been a great success for competitors and spectators alike. We have had fantastic feedback from everyone involved, and look forward to another wonderful event in 2012.”

Elite Race Results

Male Elite:

1. Tim Don 00.59.30

2. Thomas Bishop 01.00.04

3. Todd Leckie 01.00.10

Female Elite:

1. Gillian Sanders 01.08.12

2. Jacqueline Slack 01.09.20

3. Lucy Hall 01.09.28

Male Junior Elite:

1. Gordon Benson 01.01.49

2. Cameron Milne 01.01.55

3. Grant Sheldon 01.02.20

Female Junior Elite:

1. Lucy Hall 01.09.28

2. Maddy Winzer 01.09.41

3. Georgina Taylor-Brown 01.12.17

The event will be broadcast on Channel 4 on the 19th June at 7.30am.

For further information on and full results from the GE Blenheim Triathlon visit: www.theblenheimtriathlon.com.

Profile image of Matt Baird Matt Baird Editor of Cycling Plus magazine


Matt is a regular contributor to 220 Triathlon, having joined the magazine in 2008. He’s raced everything from super-sprint to Ironman, duathlons and off-road triathlons, and can regularly be seen on the roads and trails around Bristol. Matt is the author of Triathlon! from Aurum Press and is now the editor of Cycling Plus magazine.