For the first time in its 22 years of history, this year’s Toshiba Windsor Triathlon was changed to a duathlon (run, bike, run) following water safety advice from the Environment Agency, which deemed the Thames too dangerous for swimmers given the recent high volumes of rain.
The new format attracted duathlon specialist and former Olympian, Michelle Dillon, who entered the day before, as well as adding a layer of intrigue as to who would adapt best to the revised format without the swim in the male and female elite races.
In contrast to the wild weather of the previous week, the day dawned clear and bright with the summer sun in full appearance for much of the day. With a 1,000m run, 42k bike course and 10k run to finish, the elite pack was always going to be fairly tight with the race being played out in the second run.
Tim Don shook off the disappointment of Olympic selection by leading from the front and throwing off the competition in an impressive second run here at Windsor crossing the line in a time of 1:36:51.
Chasing Don was Stephen Harrison who made an error in forgetting to lay out his bike shoes. The ensuing 93 second transition cost Harrison the chance of challenging for the British Triathlon National Champion title and he chased Don into second place with a time of 1:37:37. Third place went to Ireland’s Mark Nolan (1:38:18) who held off Richard Stannard. Duathlon expert David Vaughan rounded off the top five.
Over in the female race, Jacqui Slack was a worthy winner breaking away from second placed Seoinad Thompson early on in the second run becoming British National Champion in 1:50:47. Thompson crossed the line 1:51:30 after her well-practiced transitions took their toll on 3rd placed Kate Robson (1:51:46). Seasoned Olympian Michelle Dillon took 4th place and Emily Mcloughlin hobbled over the line with severe cramp to take 5th.
In the amateur race, Bill Newbery wasn’t far behind the elites finishing the Olympic course nearly 2 minutes ahead of second placed Christian Faires in a highly impressive 1:42:57. In the female race, Mary Campbell (1:59:38) was just one second ahead of second placed Suzette Guerrini.
Taking Sprint honours for the men in the 1000m run, 30k bike, 5k run was Rob Booth who led all the way to finish in 1:11:04. The first female in the amateur sprint distance was Felicity Cole who also led for the entire race crossing the line an astounding 8 minutes ahead of her nearest rival (1:16:06).
The amateur race saw the return of septuagenarian Jim McKellar trading up from last year’s Sprint distance to take on the Olympic for the first time. This year 76 year old Jim had some competition on his hands, with fellow septuagenarian Tom Rylance vying for the age-group honours. The fight to the finish became easy for Rylance (75) as the younger man proved just too strong on the second run crossing the line in 2:46:37.
Human Race is back in Windsor in three weeks time for the Windsor leg of the Speedo Open Water Swim Series on 8 July, followed by the Hampton Court Swim on 15 July. More information at www.humanrace.co.uk.
Photos: Matt Alexander