Oct 032015

The Elbaman triathlon has built a reputation as being one of the toughest Iron distanced triathlons in the world attracting athletes from around the world to be able to say they have finished 3.8km of swimming,  180 kms of cycling (including more than 3,000m of climbing) and then running the 42.2km marathon in the blistering heat of the midday sun on the beautiful island of Elba off the West coast of Italy.

Michelle Parsons, from Evesham and representing Worcester Triathlon Club was returning to international competition for almost the first time in two years following the successful operation on her Achilles tendon earlier in the year and then recovering from a stress fracture sustained in her recovery period.

The race starts with a two lap swim in the bay at Marino di campo, the scene of Michelle’s last international victory in 2013 and not surprisingly she was apprehensive as she entered the water but the weather was kind and the choppy seas of two years ago were replaced by relatively calm conditions.

Michelle’s swim performance once again left her trailing the female leaders in 10th position overall some 20 minutes behind the then leader Kathrin Schneider from Switzerland.  She completed the swim in just over 1 hour and 22 minutes and was now ready for the infamous 112 miles of cycling over 6 climbs around the west side of the island.

Also competing in the iron distance event was fellow Evesham based teammate Danny Harris (also representing Worcester Tri Club).  Harris produced a superb swim time of 1.09.23 placing him in 61st position in the mens race and so was soon out onto the bike course working steadily through the field.

With no rain forecast and instead high temperatures and coastal winds the bike was going to be a tough test rain but in her customary style Michelle set about picking off the athletes between herself and the leaders.  She was soon up into the top 5 and was aiming to past the Swiss and German athletes who with three Italian athletes occupied the top 4 positions.  This she did in the second half of the race climbing all the way up to 3rd position literally seconds behind Schneider as they entered T2 at the end of the bike section.  Michelle recorded the fastest female bike split of the day in 6 hours 42 minutes and 5 seconds.

Danny Harris steadily moved up the order in the mens race finishing the bike in 6.39.07, a very respectable time for the tough course but more importantly in good shape to start the marathon run.

The runners had not only their fellow participants to compete with but also the heat of the day as the temperatures increased in the midday and afternoon sun.  With little shade available on the course it was always going to be an attritional run.  But Michelle was running exceptionally well and soon in 2nd place hunting down the leader Carolin Engelke-Horn from Germany.   The two had raced before in Ironman Lanzarote in 2013 when Michelle had got the better of her German counterpart and it looked as though she would do the same again.

The course is made up of 6 laps of just over 7km around the town taking in the seafront twice on every lap.  The first three laps saw the gap between the two close but at the same time Italian Monica Ferrari was also running well and had moved into 3rd place before they reached the half way point.  On lap 4 of 6 Michelle finally caught Engelke-Horn and edged into first place for first time in the race and built  a small lead of 30 second towards the end of the lap.  Unfortunately the German regathered herself and made a strong effort at the start of the 5thto retake the lead and pull away– both were running at sub 3.30 marathon pace and as the final laps unfolded it was Engelke-Horn who was stronger and managed to hold onto first place overall in a time of 11.40.03.  Michelle was second with Ferrari in third place some 4 minutes behind.  On the last lap Danny Harris who was still running strongly was finally caught up by Michelle and the two team ran in together to complete the course in 11.48.52 Michelle recording a 3.38 marathon split bettered only by Engelke-Horn in the female field on the day.

Harris finished with the 19th fastest male run time of the day pushing himself up into 24th position overall.  A fantastic result in his first attempt at the race.   The male winner for the second year in succession from Belgium, Lucky Berage, finishing in a phenomenal time of 9.26.15 with over an hour’s lead on second place.

Michelle is now in recovery mode for a week or so before she gets back into training for a late season Ironman race in Perth, Australia in December.

The Elbaman organisers also run a half distance race on the same day on basically the same course.  Taking part this year (all based in Evesham) from Worcester triathlon club were 5 more triathletes.  Most notably was Lee Harvey who was attempting his first ever open water triathlon.  Harvey who was nervous at first soon got into the swing of the race and produced an exceptional debut finishing in an overall time of  6 hours 22 minutes and 36 seconds in 161st position overall.  Other WTC finishers were Phil Parsons 5.10.51 (8th), Iain Jennings 5.37.53 (34th), Mark Ellison 6.06.15 (114th and 6th in his age group) and Phil Johnson 6.31.29 (192nd).040 058 IMG_1816

Oct 032015

After having a poor race at Bredon Tri following a virus, I entered Cotswold triathlon wanting to have a good, solid performance. However, after a series of disturbed nights from my teething toddler, I wasn’t hopeful and decided to just treat the race as training.

I actually ended up having a really good race finishing the race in 1hr 11.14 mins and coming 2nd in my age category and 10th female overall in a race which included an elite wave. I completed the 750m swim in 11.12 mins which was the 5th fastest female swim and 16th fastest overall out of the men and women. I tried to stay within myself on the bike to save myself for the run as I haven’t done much bike training recently and completed the course in 37:16mins. I then had a good run, completing the 5k run in 20:52 mins.

Rosalind Townsend -Hope also raced and won her age category in a time of 1hr 20:38 mins.

Full results can be found here http://www.dbmax.co.uk/results/results-2015.html



Oct 032015

Congratulations to Catherine Kelly who raced and won her age group at the Stratford Triathlon. Her race report is below.

‘On a sunny day in May 2009 I stood terrified at the side of the pool as I was about to take part in my first triathlon. My friend wanted to do one and asked me to join her. At the time she couldn’t put her head under water and hadn’t been on a bike in 10 years so I thought I may at least give it a go as I was unlikely to come last. The race was the Stratford sprint triathlon held twice a year at Stratford Leisure and Visitor centre and consisted of a 400 m swim, 23 km cycle and 5 km run. That day I came 202nd out of 221 in a time of 1:35:28. It wasn’t a great result but I was hooked.

This event has always remained special to me as it was my first race and the great thing about it being ran twice a year means that I can use it to track my progress. Over the last 6 years I have been slowly creeping up the results table helped mainly by joining Worcester tri 2 years ago.

6.5 years from that first race I find myself stood by the same pool again but this time with the aim of doing well rather than just survival. The swim felt tough as I went out too hard on the first length yet again but I managed to settle down and get a PB. Being a relatively fast swimmer I was one of the last in so knew I was racing those around me for position. Next was the slightly undulating bike leg through the Warwickshire countryside. I felt strong and managed to push hard to achieve another PB. Then came my worst disciple, the run. The course was two laps on grass out and back along the river. It took all my strength to keep going but I was determined to finish strong.

The results were displayed shortly after the race. My main aim of the day was to get a course PB and although I got the same time as last September the transition area was further away leading to longer transitions times than previously. The main shock came when I discovered that not only did I come 26 female out of 184 but I also won my age category.’

Aug 162015

There was good representation from the club at the Bredon Triathlon today. Congratulations to all club members that competed.

Christopher Ricketts: 18th open male. 52nd overall. 1hr 25:42

Duncan Jubb: 11th male supervet. 73rd overall. 1hr 28:07

Ellen Hemsworth: 7th open female. 74th overall. 1hr 28:12

Gill Jubb: 2nd female supervet. 83rd overall. 1hr 30:29

Ros Townsend-Hope: 5th female supervet. 98th overall. 1hr 32:47

Catherine Kelly: 19th open female. 137th overall. 1hr 39:04


Aug 042015

The Great Britain first and second youth women’s teams enjoyed great success at the European Youth Relay Championships last Sunday 26 July.

In temperatures of around 30 degrees each of the three team members first completed a 300m swim in the crystal clear waters of Banyoles Lake, the setting for the 1992 Olympic rowing events. Then followed a 6.6km cycle leg around the lake and then a 1.6km run plus an additional 400m finish straight on the third leg.

Fourteen teams from 10 countries competed and the relatively unknown but very strong and consistent Russian team emerged as clear victors with a total time of 01:07:32. GBR 1 having lead after the first leg finished second in 01:08:20 with France third in 01:08:37.

The GBR 2 team which included Worcester Tri Club’s Nixie Turner finished seventh in 01:10:00, only 13 seconds separating them from fifth placed Spain. They finished ahead of the first teams of Portugal, Hungary, Ukraine and Sweden and all of the other second teams (Ukraine, Spain and Portugal), demonstrating the current strength and depth in British female youth and junior triathlon.

Nixie took the third and final leg and completed the course in an individual time of 23.47 – the sixth fastest third leg time. However her bike time of 10:19 was the fifth fastest of all the 42 competitors.

The GBR 1 youth men’s team went one better, winning their event in 01:00:05 with Spain second and Portugal third. The youth men’s GBR 2 team did not finish.

To cap off a fine day for British Triathlon the GBR U23 mixed relay team (which included female youth Issy Morris) came a close second to Italy in their event.

The GBR 1 and 2 Youth Men and Women’s relay teams.  Nixie Turner 4th from right.

The GBR 1 and 2 Youth Men and Women’s relay teams. Nixie Turner 4th from right.

Jul 152015

I entered this event as something to aim for after giving birth to my son a year ago. I hoped to be competitive but most of all I wanted to enjoy it as I love racing and have missed it. The event was in Falmouth and involved a 750m sea swim followed by a 5km run around the headland. After some lovely days of sunshine leading up to the event, the weather on race day was awful! Wind, rain and jellyfish made for a really tough swim. Sighting was hard due to the waves and I had quite a shock when I came face to face with a huge barrel jellyfish. I had no idea of my positioning after the swim but headed out on to the hilly run course thinking I had probably put myself out of medal contention. The run was uphill for the first half and I was finding it hard to settle my breathing but I gained on a few people.

After the finish I hung around at the beach cafe trying to warm up however, my husband and I spent most of the time chasing our wild toddler around whilst he roared at other freezing cold triathletes and attempted to steal their cake. So after lots of ‘shall we just go I won’t have won anything’ moments the results were finally announced. To my surprise I had won my category and became National Aquathlon Champion in the 25 – 29 age group.



Jul 092015

Congratulations to club junior Jodie Ruane who has been selected to represent the West Midlands at the National Inter-Regional Championships. Jodie only started triathlon last year but has had a very successful year including first place finishes at Sandwell Aquathlon, Wrekin College Aquathlon, Warwick Children’s Triathlon and Barton Marina Triathlon. Jodie competes in the TS2 category (11 – 12 year olds) and we wish her the best of luck for the competition in September.

Jun 202015

Worcester Triathlon Club junior Nixie Turner has qualified to represent Great Britain in the 2015 European Youth Relay Championships in Banyoles, Spain on 26 July by finishing in fifth place at the Blenheim Triathlon which this year acted as the qualifying event.

A strong 400m swim saw Turner emerge second from the water in just over five minutes and she then led for much of the technical 13.2km cycle leg, dropping all but two other athletes and completing the stage in 23.29 minutes.

Turner soon settled in to third place on the 3.1km run leg as strong runners Kate Waugh and Olivia Mathias pulled away from her and despite being passed by fellow West Midlands Triathlon Academy member Caitlin Roper she seemed destined for fourth place until a fantastic run by Scotland’s Erin Wallace just pushed her back to fifth in a total time of 45.23 compared to Waugh’s winning time of 44.04.

Great Britain will be sending two teams of three to the Championships plus two travelling reserves so the first eight finishers all qualified. After the race Turner, who is now sponsored by Echelon Cycles of Pershore and trains with Worcester St johns Cycling Club, Worcester Swimming Club and Worcester Athletics Club commented ‘I always enjoy racing at Blenheim and the bike course in particular suits me as I prefer a technically challenging course with some climbs to a straight, flat course, so when I heard that it was going to act as the qualifying event I knew I was in with a good chance and now I can’t wait to wear the GBR Trisuit for the first time’.

Although Turner has represented Great Britain before on an invitational basis, her latest race being at the European Junior Cup event at Quarteira in Portugal on 21 March where she finished a respectable 21st out of 57 entrants, this will be the first time that she has officially qualified. She will warm up for the race in Spain with another invitational entry to the European Junior Cup race at Holton in the Netherlands on 4 July.

Nixie at Blenheim

Jun 162015

Congratulations to club member Kaine Pritchett who completed Ironman Staffs 70.3 at the weekend. His race report is below.

Respect the distance. Something we all hear from time served triathletes and after this weekends Ironman Staffs 70.3 I fully understand. Having done the full distance Ironman last year, I entered Ironman Staffs 70.3 due to it being all new, its location and finally it will allow me to gauge how my Winter season training had panned out. Well this was the plan. Unfortunately due to injury woes, I ended up going into it with only 4 weeks training in total so decided I would go out at 80% and see how I get on. The weekend started with a bit of a faff around the logistics of registration and T1 racking between Shugborough Hall and Chasewater some 30 minutes apart from each other. Although this was an Ironman branded event, the event showed signs of disorganisation, which was in danger of souring the weekend if it wasn’t for the energy and enthusiasm of the volunteers – I hope Ironman listen to all the feedback received and sort these issues for 2016. The weather on Saturday was very wet and colder than I like however I trusted in the weather reports for Sunday. Early start as I travelled from home but found myself in T1 checking my tyre pressures at 5:40 Sunday morning, some 2 hours before wave start, watching the sunrise and enjoying the buzz building up. To my surprise, Gordon Ramsay was racked almost right behind me so had to wish him luck as seemed rude not too, before I got my wetsuit on and made my way down to the swim start ready to watch the pro’s kick off at 7am. My race started at 7:40 and the shift began with a slow, cramped filled 47 minute swim – I was disappointed with the cramp as only a week prior I had done a 37 min 1.25 mile at Upton Warren. Out of the water it was a short jog on a concrete path to T1 where a quick (for me) five minute change and I was out on the bike. When I originally entered IM Staffs it was marketed as a flat and fast course, however as many may have read since the day this is not the case at all with a few short steep sections and then a tough climb at 70k up into Cannock Chase. Having got on the bike I continued to suffer with cramp however just kept on pushing through. Had a quick stop at around mile 35 to see my family and give my little boy a kiss which got a massive cheer from the crowd assembled and also made me well up for a few minutes once I got moving again. Eventually made it back to Shugborough in 3 hours 22 minutes where I almost suffered yet another problem in T2. I went to change and found my running gear bag was missing – aaagghhh!!! Support crew to the rescue and just as I got to breaking point they found it at the end of a different rack where it had possibly been replaced after a incorrect pick up. So after a 12 minute transition I was away for a very slow hilly run. But like all Ironman events it was the crowds and volunteers that made it easier – you can’t help to keep moving with all the encouragement and kind words from so many people – this is without doubt the best part of any distance Triathlon – I love it. Three wristbands later I found myself entering the finish chute and running down the red carpet in a final time of 7 hours and 2 minutes (run: 2:29). Finishers pic pose, medal and food later I found myself in the rest area where it started to rain but more importantly the sense of achievement kicked in. All things considered even finishing on Sunday was an achievement and as this was my first 70.3 I set a new PB – surely I can only get faster.

Jun 092015
So after the past two years of DNF’s at the full iron distance this year was going to be the year I turned it around and what better place to do it than what is regarded as one of the toughest Ironman events in the world, Ironman Lanzarote. Preparation leading up to the event was very up and down at times but I managed to get enough miles in the legs as I could to make it to the start line. The main goal was to finish and a bonus if I could beat my Outlaw time of 13hrs 20mins. Once I arrived on the Island I soon discovered why it is regarded as one of the toughest events in the world with almost being blown over as soon as I got off the plane. A little couple hour ride on the bike on the Wednesday I soon discovered the wind is another level out here and coming in from all angles. With a wind speed of 35mph TTing was out of the question and soon packed it in and returned back to the hotel. With another dip in the sea and all registered up Race day soon came around and luckly the wind had felt like it had died down a bit but was still in the min 20’s mph.
With a 7am start time I positioned myself ready for the day ahead with a finish time of around 12hr-13hrs in my head. With a mass start of over 1800 people on a 2 lap swim course it felt like I was stepping into a ring with Mike Tyson. People were punching, kicking, swimming over you, under you, dragging you back. For the first 500 metres it was a battle but soon found some clear water to get into my groove, by the time I got to the 2nd turn around point all hell broke lose again and it felt like no one has ever swam open water races before. This was pretty much how the rest of the swim went with the added bonus of the wind picking up in the 2nd lap and creating a bit of chop in the middle part of the course. With a finish time of 1hr 12mins I knew if I wasn’t in a battle for most of the swim I could have gone quicker but this was just the start of the long day ahead.
After collecting my bag from T1 on the beach and running up the sand bank to collect my bike for the ride ahead my legs were feeling good and was hoping for a 6hrs-6hrs 30min bike. With over 2551m of climbing with the adding factor of higher winds than normal, heat, even rain at one point this estimate soon rabidly disappeared and it was more about survival and making it in before the cutoff time. For the first third of the course the legs were feeling great and was keeping in my limit and not over pushing myself. Was passing people with ease on the climbs and was just able to get some time on the TT bars before a sudden cross wind would catch you and you soon was either cycling at a 45 degree angle or getting nearly blown off the bike. Cycling up some of the famous climbs especially through the national park with what can only be described as a long straight road as far as the eye can see which just goes up and up and up some more with a line of cyclist was an awesome sight to see. Making sure I ate and drank as much as possible the wheels soon came off around the 100km mark at the worst possible time as the biggest climb of the day was just getting started. The Climb up to Los Nieves can only be described as hell on wheels for me. I knew at the top was my special needs bag with a mars bar and a bottle of coke in it and this was much needed as this time. I just didn’t have the gears to get into any rhythm and was soon pedaling squares with what felt like the whole field passing me by. Its was going up and up and had to grind it out to the top. With a 10min stop with my special needs bag I was soon onto the decent and as the air temperature was dropping so high up I was feeling really cold and trying to switch back descend while your arms are shivering wasn’t great. So I took it carefully and soon began to warm back up once the sun popped back out from the mist. The rest of the ride was a battle to the end with some fast descents, broken up roads, winds from every direction and the heat I managed to finish the bike in 7hrs 33min, An hour over my expected time but with conditions being what described from everyone I spoke to says that was the worst conditions they have had on the bike course and every ones expected times were out.
So Just a little marathon to go. A change to the route for previous years now took you for one long bike lap out past the airport and back then 2 short 10km laps to the finish. My time goals was to run each 5km in around 30mins stopping at each aid station to drink/eat/water over head & body to the finish. This started off ok for the first 10km out past the airport but my run soon turned into a jog with the feeling of a golf ball blister on top of my toe coming through. I managed to run the first long lap with the crowds in there masses cheering you on along the way. My jog soon ended up being a shuffle walk shuffle with the bike taking more out of me than I thought. I didn’t care how I got to the end as long as I got there that was all that mattered. After shuffle walk shuffling with another athlete for around 10km the time soon pasted by and with 5kms to go and it soon turning dark I was determend to run the last 5kms to the finish non stop. After the past 2 years of DNF’s and disappointment I finally crossed that finish line in 14hrs 18mins. Was slightly disappointed with the time but given the conditions on the bike I didn’t care. The support form other athletes the crowds and the whole island gets behind everyone and every village you either cycled through or ran, especially the climbs in the middle of know where we all well supported and gave you that boost you needed. The views on the bike were awesome at times when I wasn’t in so much pain to look. So that is me done with the Iron distance for a couple of years at least and will be def be back to Lanzarote to compete again as the island and the race is already drawing me back to want more. Next up for me after a little recovery is the Avenger middle where I hope to get a PB over the distance.