Report and Pictures by John Coxon
Pictures – 1) the three teams on the podium- women’s winners.
2) Fiona Ford during her bike race leg.
photo John Coxon
Lead off for the Brats was National Duathlon Champion and former Elite and Commonwealth runner Loretta Sollars with Zoë Hanson, Lindsay Smith and Victoria Rusius as anchor bringing them home in 3:18 :38. “Planet X Planet X” came home second some three and a half minutes adrift with the team unable to make up the deficit from the lead Loretta had established even though awesome Fiona Ford( fresh form her recent Age Group win at the Salford World Cup) and gusty anchor person Michelle Lee pulled back some three minutes each running in the sunshine and breezeless heat around the picturesque mirror calm Regatta Lake. Fiona Ford was to compete in the afternoon again, this time for one of her club’s Hillingdon teams.
photo Fiona Ford/John Coxon
In fact number two in the Planet X team Fiona Hoare had volunteered to step in at the last minute so the team could compete but despite giving her all the team were clearly missing the awesome running speed and cycling ability of current European and former World Duathlon champion Cat Morrison unavailable as she was on duty in Canada participating in the Trans Rockies Mountain Bike Race.
Oxford Ladies Tri came home in third place just over a minute behind the Planet X crew . Team captain Emma-Kate Lidbury ( off to the Worlds in Hamburg next ) led them off . Emma-Kate won the London Tri Sub 2.30 last weekend and is also a former national level swimmer and came 8th in Lausanne Tri in the 24- 29 age group. Ruth Burnett, Roberta Dionello and Rachel Stoakes making up the rest of the team. Leicester Tri won the Female Vets relay with Cambridge Tri second and Berkshire Tri Squad “Laydeez” East Essex Ladies won the Junior Women Race by a walkover.
It is not hard to appreciate just why the National Relay Championship is truly one of the most popular Tri events on the calendar and was so well attended with so many teams , their supporters and often whole families ; this from humble beginnings when, still in his teens, Ian Hamilton organised the first of the many with just 40 teams at the Nottingham venue. The event inspires a unique and awesome holiday feel with many clubs bringing club branded gazebos and providing comfort and support for teams with barbeques and all sorts much in evidence. Many competitors brought their tents taking advantage of the nearby camp site for cheap accommodation.
The venue is amazingly spectator friendly with virtually the entire course around the placid gloriously landscaped lake easily visible from the transition side of the lake. With the evident potential for complete chaos , it is a tremendous organisational achievement for Pacesetter events that some 400 hundred teams took their turn with members eagerly but patiently waiting to be tagged in holding areas and the whole thing went off smoothly without a hitch.
With events divided into huge morning and afternoon waves competitors in the afternoon waves are assured of huge support from the morning wave athletes chilling out on the lakeside verges cheering them on. The glorious weather on the day was a bonus. Truly, I have not enjoyed myself so much at a tri event since I began covering the sport. The atmosphere was brilliant.
For more details of this and other events see PACESETTER EVENTS website
photo Getty Images