Despite the rain, another great weekend at Windsor. Here’s the elite race report, look out for an age-grouper’s report in issue 263…
Getting up at the crack of dawn came with its benefits as the majority of the 2,500 age-group triathletes competing in the 2011 Toshiba Windsor Triathlon were greeted with sunny conditions perfect for racing. It was a totally different story by the time a highly competitive elite field came to contest the British Championships however, as conditions steadily began to worsen as the morning went on.
The low levels of rainfall over the last few months meant the notorious currents of the 1500m river swim in the Thames were not as strong as in previous years and as expected, fresh from doing the same at the ITU race in Madrid last weekend Abbie Thorrington led out of the water, coming into transition with a 35 second lead on a pack of six containing Aileen Morrison, Lois Rosindale and Jacqui Slack among others.
In the men’s race, Richard Stannard and Matthew Sharp led out of the swim together with a thirty second lead over a hard-chasing Tim Don at the head of a group of nine. Don used a quick transition to cut the gap in half by the time they exited onto the bike and the two leaders were quickly brought back to form a pack of 15 that stayed together throughout the 40k loop.
Over the next hour the conditions worsened considerably with hard rain and a cold wind meaning a number of athletes lost contact with a hard pushing front pack in both the men’s and women’s race. Coming into T2, Lucy Chittenden managed to put some distance between herself and the chasing pack and went out hard, testing the legs of her opponents in the process. Minutes later the men’s race came into transition en masse, with Tim Don leading Mark Buckingham, Conor Murphy and Adam Bowden at the front of a large pack of athletes to set a frantic pace from the very beginning of three-lap, 10k run leg.
Out on the run and the cold, along with the fast pace set by the leaders began to tell. After going out hard in a bid to stamp his authority on the run early in the first lap, Don visibly began to suffer on the more exposed points in the course and Tom Bishop and Aaron Harris made their move, closely followed by Matthew Sharp, Mark Buckingham and Conor Murphy of Ireland.
Coming onto the second lap of the run, Aileen Morrison, Lois Rosindale and Heather Jackson passed Chittenden to form a fast-moving leading three with Holly Lawrence and Abbie Thorrington in hot pursuit. Rosindale then made her move, breaking away from the other two and quickly building a lead of over a minute which she held all the way to the finish to take the title of 2011 British Elite Champion in 02:06:37. Aileen Morrison finished off a solid performance with a 02:07:45, second place finish with Heather Jackson third in 02:09:29 and Lucy Chittenden and Holly Lawrence filling fourth and five spot respectively.
Back on the run course the men‘s race was developing nicely as Tom Bishop and Aaron Harris battled for the lead. After running shoulder to shoulder for a few kilometres Bishop finally broke the elastic with a surge on the third and final lap of the run to take the win from Harris by just ten seconds in 01:52:33 and with it the title of British National Champion for 2011. Third place went to another young athlete, Matthew Sharp, in 01:52:56 with Mark Buckingham and Adam Bowden rounding out the top five.