Blenheim Palace Triathlon race tips

2014 sprint winner Charlie Pennington shares his tips for reigning at the palace


For eleven years, Blenheim has been a ‘must-do’ event on the UK tri scene. Set against the majestic backdrop of Blenheim Palace, the race sees over 7,000 athletes traverse the historic grounds over the weekend for the super sprint- or sprint-distance races. (The Brownlees famously made light work of the sprint course back in 2012 pre-Games, practically skipping across the line arm in arm in a time of 57:16mins.)


>>> Super Sharp and pacy Pallant win 10th anniversary of Blenheim Palace Triathlon

New for 2015 is the Weekend Warrior event, where you can do as many super sprint and/or sprint distances during the weekend as you like, although with only 20 spots available it quickly sold out after launching (early bird entry is available now for 2016, see website).

But for those sticking to the one-race format, or thinking about entering next year, let’s hear from last year’s sprint winner, Charlie Pennington…

Date: 13-14 June
Location: Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
Distances: Super sprint (400m/13.2km/3.1km); Sprint (750m/19.8km/5.7km)

The swim

The swim start is a little way from transition so make sure you head down early. As the swim is a single point-to-point affair, position yourself appropriately at the start. There’s a long run from the swim exit to T1, so perhaps undo your wetsuit on the way up.

The bike

This is TT-bike friendly, but anything goes. There are a few short climbs and a couple of tight turns, so make sure you pay attention on the first lap: you’ll be better on the next laps.

Be careful when overtaking as it can get busy on the course and keep out of the way if not overtaking. Transition can be busy too, so be wary when racing out or into T1/T2. Likewise, be wary of drafting.

The run

It’s two laps around one of the smaller lakes, mostly downhill for the first half of each lap then a gentle climb back to transition.

Use the downhill to recover and use the energy from the spectators to push on the uphill. I ran without socks, but this doesn’t appeal to everyone – go with what you’re comfortable with.

Charlie Pennington racing the Blenheim Palace Triathlon


Be wary of overdoing it. I see plenty of people with up to 10 gels on their bike. You’re not going to digest all that and it will make you uncomfortable during the race.

Instead, focus on getting your nutrition right before the event. Likewise breakfast is important: not too much, but in time for you to digest it. Perhaps a sip on a sports drink before the start, too.


Enjoy it! The venue is fantastic and if the weather is good there’ll be plenty of spectators. But don’t think that suddenly you’ll be 20 minutes quicker than what you’ve trained for: plan your race and race your plan. This is critical to your enjoyment. Trust me on this!


Are you racing Blenheim this June? Let us know in the comments below!