Serpentine defends top 5 position at Triathlon London League

Serpentine remains in top five position of Triathlon London League, but smaller clubs edge upwards after Round 5 and 6.

Round 5 and Round 6 of the Triathlon London League saw home teams Greenwich Tritons and Jetstream Tri Club edge upwards in the rankings. The league, however, is still dominated by the major contenders such as the Serpentine Running Club.

Given the small number of Serpie representation – five to be exact – we didn’t expect to win the mob batch at the Clash of the Tritons, held on 7 June 2015, at Greenwich. We did expect, however, a strong showing from the smaller clubs. Given that the London League is a grass-root event, the Clash was also grass-root in every sense: small-scale aquathlon; broader base of sporting abilities; last-minute improvisation of race plan – one hour ahead of the 7 am start.

Up for a Clash. From left: Leila Gaafar, Micky Craig, Debbie Clarke, James Brown and Pam Hemstrong
Photo: ©Salina Christmas

 

The clash

Conflicting priorities between the organisers and Charlton Lido meant that the venue was still closed when we reached the race site at 5.30 am. Greenwich Tritons had one hour or so to prepare the Clash. This was explained kindly to us by the club, and not so kindly by the lido man who evidently didn't like to get out of bed so early. So whilst everything was being set up, we took the opportunity to watch another early morning race taking place above our heads: the Lord Mayor's Appeal Hot Air Balloon Regatta. It was a spectacle, and in a way, prepared us for a rather fun day of racing.

James getting his number doneAnother race takes place before ours, in the air
About 91 people participate at the main eventWe have a short time to prepare
The league is backed by Triathlon EnglandNumbers are called too early, taking us by surprise
Photo: ©Salina Christmas

 

The swim

The race went ahead at 7 am, regardless – and to the surprise of the competitors. The quick preparation meant that no briefing was given to the competitors on race plan or number of laps prior to the start. At a bigger event, this element of surprise would be unnerving. But the team handled this well.

The race kicked off with the swim in a heated pool. Leila completed the 750m swim stage in 00:15:47, making her the fastest swimmer in the squad for the Clash. Debbie and Pam showed good form by overtaking one or two male contenders in the last lane.

Leila performs strongly in the swim stagePam overtakes a man in the last lane
Debbie dashes towards the transitionMicky, rushed but not stirred. He gets on with it
Photo: ©Salina Christmas

 

The run

Post-swim, the competitors did a 5k run at the adjacent park, in three laps and in an '8' formation. One side of the seemingly flat park was deceivingly 'uphill' and the other 'downhill', making the run – as Leila put it – enjoyable and excruciating in alternate modes.

The short time in preparation meant that competitors relied solely on the marshals to keep track of their laps. After each lap, a runner was given a specifically colour-coded band to be worn on the wrist. A few runners crossed the finishing line with an “are we done now?” look on their faces. Pam did an extra lap due to the unclear instructions from the marshals. She wasn't impressed. If it was any consolation, she did 6.6k in 00:23:00. Debbie also finished strongly during this leg, despite having recently recovered from hamstring injury.

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The team cheers Pam onPam runs 6.6k in 23 minutes
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James finishes 30 seconds behind DebbieMicky is so pleased the race is over
Photo: ©Salina Christmas

 

The small clubs own the day

Debbie emerged as the fastest contender in the Serpie team. The Serpentine slipped to the third spot behind Crystal Palace and Clapham Chasers, proving that small-scale events such as Round 5, and the subsequent Round 6, can really level the playing field. Indeed, the smaller clubs reigned on 7 June, with Ful-On Tri – a tiny outfit based at Fulham Pools, a council facility – winning the aquathlon.

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Good comeback for Pam at the aquathlonCompetitors get goodie bags at the end of the race
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Competitors of all abilities have fun competing at the ClashHave we got a team here for a relay?
Photo: ©Salina Christmas

By 8.15 am, the aquathlon was over. It was time for us to “get off the grid”. South of the river was not easy to escape from on a Sunday morning, given the lack of public transport. So during the lengthy wait for the bus, train and tube that take us back to SW, the team discussed future events, training commitments and how we would like things to turn out when we finally host the Jekyll & Hyde Duathlon in October.

But first, we have to kick ass at Windrush Aquathon at the end of this month.

 

The latest results

Serpentine Running Club: Triathlon London League 2015 Results

RaceFormatMen's TeamLadies' TeamMixed TeamMob match
Thames TurboTriathlon
96
98
98
100
KingfisherAquathlon
99
93
93
95
Ful-OnDuathlon
99
99
99
99
Crystal PalaceTriathlon
99
98
99
97
Clash of the TritonsAquathlon
93
94
96
96
Jetstream Open WaterTriathlon
0
0
0
0
WindrushAquathlon    
Capital TriAquathlon    
Serpentine Jekyll & HydeDuathlon    
League position 
3
4
3
5

Click here to see how we compare with other clubs on the Triathlon London League table.

 

The 2015 League Race Schedule

The events below have been allocated to the 2015 London League.

28th June 2015 Windrush Aquathlon (waiting list only)
http://www.windrushtri.co.uk/

6th September 2015 Capital Tri Aquathlon
http://capitaltri.com/

4th October 2015 London Fields Aquathlon
http://lftri.co.uk/events

25th October 2015 Jekyll & Hyde Duathlon (entries only by authorisation from Serpentine race organisers)
http://www.serpentine.org.uk/pages/duathlon.html

CONTACT

The Captains at londontrileague@serpentine.org.uk

RELATED LINKS

2014 results:
http://www.triathlonengland.org/london/athletes/london_adults/london_league_results#League Results by Year

More on the London League and Triathlon England:
http://www.triathlonengland.org/london/athletes/london_adults/london_league

 

Aga Wicinska
Salina Christmas
Captains, London League 2015
londontrileague@serpentine.org.uk

Submitted: 22 June 2015

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