Matt Sharp and Emma Pallant were named winners of the sprint distance races at this year’s Blenheim Palace Triathlon, with Sharp and second-placed male athlete Mark Buckingham just sneaking in under the 1hr mark.
Sharp raced to the finish in an impressive 58mins 43secs closely followed by Buckingham in 59mins 9secs and David Bishop at 1hr 7secs. “To be honest I wasn’t having the best day,” said the winner post-race. “I gave it everything I had on the swim and tried to break away quite a few times on the bike but the group was pretty big. Then on the run, I just tried to go hard and maintain it all the way to the finish.”
In the women’s elite sprint race, Pallant completed the course in 1:06:49, posting impressive splits of 9:42mins for the swim, 33:12mins for the bike and 19:52mins for the run. She was joined on the podium by Kate Roberts (1:07:33) and Sophie Coldwell, who started in the junior elite wave but performed so well that her time of 1:07:44 qualified her as top three for the senior elites also.
The event was opened on the Saturday with a supersized birthday cake to celebrate its 10th anniversary, unveiled by local girl Scarlett Clarkson, 9. Scarlett was there to cheer on her Dad, Dan Clarkson, team leader of Scarlett’s Dragons, which was racing to raise money for blood cancer charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, and which counted Radiohead basis Colin Greenwood among its number.
Greenwood said afterwards: “It was stupendous and brilliant, and if I could learn the front crawl I would definitely do it again. Raising money for Scarlett’s Dragons is the reason we are doing this and means everything.” In all the Dragons team raised over £90,000 at the event.
Elsewhere on the course, Charles Pennington (M35-39) won the men’s sprint race in 1:03:55, and Dionne Allen (F25-29) won the women’s race in 1:15:42. The supersprint races were won by Daniel Pinn (M17-19) and India Warman (F25-29), while the junior elite races were taken by Luke Penney (M17-10) and Sophie Coldwell (F17-19).
(Images: RB Create photography)