National Club Triathlon Relays Report

Only four teams this year but there were some solid performances on a rather wet day.

Due to late registration [actually a record early sell-out - Ed.], we only managed to secure four team entries for the National Club Triathlon Relays at Nottingham this year but we made the most of them with 16 intrepid triathletes (actually 14 + 2 Jonny Raes) braving early autumn showers to put in some solid performances on Saturday. For those who are uninitiated in the formalities of the event, it involves teams of four each completing a 400m swim in turn, followed by a 15km cycle each finishing with a 5km run each (in a baffling array of mixed, male, female, age group, BTF, non-BTF competitions - but I'll try and keep it straightforward).

The morning races saw a team of Christine Lutsch, Paul Jenkinson, Zoe Birkenough and Jon Rae notch 21st place out of 237 teams corresponding to 16th place out of a strong field of 80 teams in the mixed competition with a time of 3hrs 32mins 48secs. To put that time in context, the morning race was won by a team from Loughborough University comprising some of members of the BTF youth training squad in a time of 3hrs 10mins. The team's individual performances were consistently strong but Christine Lutsch's 5km run of 19:48 was the stand out result.

Also competing in the morning were a mens open (i.e. non-BTF) team of Mark Kell, David Miles, David Morgan and Roger Reid finishing in 6th in the open category and 30th overall for the morning race in a time of 3hrs 36mins 5secs. The team lost time on the swim and bike against their mixed Serpie counterparts but made up some ground on the run with the Daves both going sub 19 minutes.

The afternoon's racing saw the self-proclaimed 'A' team up of Jon Rae, Angus Beaumont, Chris Hill and Graeme Blair up against a team assembled by Martin Gaunt comprising some pacy runners who reckoned they could "swim and cycle a bit too" (Martin Gaunt, Andrew Greenleaf, Matt Kilpin and Leon Foster). As it turned out, the plan didn't quite come together for the 'A' team who demonstrated just why triathlon is a sport for individuals by showing some reluctance to engage with each other to facilitate the handover of the baton in transition on a number of occasions. Having amassed a delicate lead of just over 6 minutes after the swim and bike, the more seasoned triathletes saw it eroded away (brutally annihilated) by some top-drawer running by "Martin's Team" with Andrew Greenleaf registering a 5:51 split for the 5k (2nd fastest run of the day out of about 2,000 competitors including many sponsored and age-group athletes), reinforced by a 17:23 from Leon Foster. At the final handover, "Martin's Team" had reversed the positions and carried a 36 second lead for a tense finale. Jon Rae could only replicate his 18 minute(ish) 5k split from the morning to keep the competition in sight but was unable to make up any ground and "Martin's Team" took victory by a margin of 42 seconds after almost 3hrs 20mins of racing.

The official times and placings were:
Martin's Team - 3hrs 17mins 30secs, 33rd Mens under 40 team out of 109 teams (winning time 2hrs 51mins 09secs)
The 'A' team - 3hrs 18mins 12secs, 35th Mens under 40 team

After all that, I'm glad there weren't more team results to write up but hopefully we'll have a full contingent representing Serpentine again next year - and maybe even push to leave some footprints on a podium in one class or other. Despite it being a bit moist on the day, the event is certainly a uniquely fun and engaging format on a very fast course so watch out for notifications about entry next year and we'll be quicker on the draw to get a full complement of team slots.

Report by Jon Rae.

Submitted: 24 August 2010