2016 HSBC Triathlon & Duathlon – Event Report

19th September 2016

The date; the 18th September 2016. The event; the HSBC Triathlon & Duathlon 2016. The venue; Eton Dorney Lake. The weather; warm, breezy and overcast. The atmosphere; buzzing. The achievements; inspiring, uplifting and motivating.

In what was the closing meet of the season for the Human Race Events Triathlon Series, athletes came out in their droves to race, have fun and to overcome their own personal challenges (and a late change to a duathlon). Everyone was looking to accomplish the goals that they had set themselves. The event was sold out, as more than 1,800 people of all ages and abilities signed up across a range of: scootathlon, duathlon and triathlon distances, with even a 2km run for kids!

The day began in trying circumstances though, as due to water quality conditions all triathlons had to be changed to specially designed duathlons. Of course, this was a regrettable decision that we apologise enormously for. However, it was due to matters beyond our control and our number one concern is always participant safety. Once the water safety experts had advised us not to put people into the water, we were never going to risk it. If you are interested in our full explanation on this, please click here.

Before continuing, we also wanted to let everyone know (as we realise that some of you may not receive our emails), that we will be emailing everyone who signed up to the event this year with a discount PIN code for 33% off. This will be applicable on any of our 2017 triathlon events at Dorney Lake.

And so… it was a day for duathlons, and… as it turned out, a lot of PB’s!

But first, and as is tradition, the morning kicked off with a gigantic, frenzied and epic LittleLife Scootathlon. More than 100 kids took part and it was as always a great and uplifting sight to see so many whizzing around the course (390m Scoot, 390m Bike, 250m Run). Watch out for some stars of the future! All the children were rewarded with a medal for their incredible efforts and two lucky families went home with shiny new Micro Scooters from our prize draw.

There was more to come from our young guns though, as the Children’s 2km Run was up next. A new event, and certainly a keeper! For the girls, it was Daisy Mclean who came home in first (10:21), a full 2 minutes and 30 seconds ahead of the field – brilliant effort. In what was a family affair, Hamish Mclean stormed home in the boy’s race (though only just pipping his sister!), in a fantastic time of 10:10. Well done to all.

Just as the 2km racing was finishing up, the first waves in the adult Olympic Triathlon were getting underway. For today, this was changed to a duathlon (2.5km Run / 42.4km Bike / 10km Run) however, this meant some fast and extremely competitive racing; with the top 8 men all going under two hours. Marton Cseik was untouchable throughout though as he came home 1:51:55 to win by more than two minutes and thirty seconds. Marton led out of T1 and just never looked back, slowly extending his lead the whole way around. He was relentless and unwavering, a superbly paced race. Coming home second was David Kettle (Clapham Chasers) in 1:54:18, who just edged out Jesus Gonzalez Tejeria (1:55:41).

The Women’s race saw two athletes stand head and shoulders above the rest. Esther Rousay and Vanessa Fursden (Evolution Tri Windsor), were together virtually the whole way. Though Vanessa just never seemed quite able to overhaul Esther after both put down blistering opening runs to put more than 2 minutes into the field from the off. Esther running the opening 2.5km in 10.43 and Vanessa in 11:17. It was Vanessa who was fastest on the bike though; before Esther made the most of the 10km to come home in 2:15:38, with Vanessa crossing the finish line just behind her in 2:16:24. Jo Green picked up a creditable third with a very well balanced race (with the fastest cycling leg of the day in 1:16:00), bringing her home with a time of 2:25:17.

While all of that stunning and exciting racing was going on over the long course, the official (and planned!) duathlon started and finished. Blink, and you would have missed Dan Blake taking the course by storm. The only person to finish in under 60 minutes, stopping the clock with a barely believable 59:06. Unsurprisingly, Dan was the quickest in all three legs of the race and looked super-human as he set about mastering the event. Following him in second and third were Mohammed Ahmed (1:01:48) and Mustafa Huseyin, from Ocean Lake Tri Club (1:03:17).

The Women’s race saw Karmen Pardoe and Anna Lovelock duel the whole way around like great warriors of old. This was a back-and-forth tussle, with Anna building up a significant lead on her bike leg; before Karmen stormed home one the final run to win in a time of 1:18:48, with Anna crossing the line moments later in 1:21:01. Coming in third, and rounding off a top three, who really were a cut above today, was Lisa Mitchinson (Leighton Buzzard Tri Club) in 1:22:36. Interestingly, it was day for the more experienced athlete today, as all three of our podium finishers in the women’s event were aged 45+. In fact, there were only 4 athletes in the top 10 who were under 40!

We had all the fun of the fair during the Olympic Relays, with three teams setting some impressive times. The top 3 were split by barely over a minute, while there was only 1 measly second between second and third. In the end, Team Alexander/cipolletta/debelder (V5 Racing) took the title in 1:54:17; ahead of Team 3 Crazy Foos (1:55:48) and in third, Team Unexpected Delays (1:55:49).

Onto the shorter formats, starting with the Sprint distance triathletes, who today competed over a: 2.5km Run / 21.2km Bike / 5km Run duathlon. The late change did nothing to phase Charles Pennington (Freespeed), who blitzed his way to a great time of 1:00:02. Only just missing out on that elusive sub 60-minute finish! Nothing for Charles to regret though as he was the fastest on the course across all three elements and took a very well deserved spot on the top step of the podium. Not far behind Charles in second was Michael Marzetti (1:02:29) and coming home third, with a very tidy performance was Graeme Acheson in 1:04:42.

In what was almost certainly the race of the day, Suzi Donoghue (Army Triathlon Association) won the Women’s Sprint in a wonderful time of 1:12:06. However, that doesn’t tell the full story, as the lead in this event changed four times, with even 10th place finisher, Dani Heeney leading after the first run (smashing the 2.5km in 9.53!). Eventually, Gesine Junker (Windrush Triathlon Club) edged out Saskia Bockelmann with her time of 1:13:04 just 40 seconds quicker than Saskia’s 1:13:45. In this event though, hats off to all. Some really tough, committed and exciting racing.

Come the end of the day it was time for our newbies to take centre stage. With both Novice (1km Run / 10.6km Bike/ 2.5km Run) and Taster (1km Run / 5.3km Bike / 2.5km Run) races getting underway. In the Men’s Novice event, you could have been forgiven for thinking they’d done it before, as three athletes went under 35 minutes. First was Ivor Hewitt (34:03), edging out Hugo Hewitt (34:09); with a very fast finishing Jamie Greenwood just unable to catch the top two, finishing third in 34:50. In the Women’s Novice race, Isabelle Ellis won the day with a very rapid 37:17, just staying ahead of her sister Emily Ellis, who came home second in 38:50; who in turn was just 17 seconds ahead of Holly Dixon (Greenwich Tritons) who stepped up into third place with her 39:07 finishing time.

In the adult Taster Wave, one man stood head and shoulders above the competition. That man? Byron Brown, who dominated the field to finish in 28:32. Behind him it was a little more competitive with Chaz Parvez (35:17) and Allan Quimby (38:33) both doing nicely to dip under 40 minutes. In the adult Taster Wave for women, it looks like we found some athletes with some great speed: Louise Brown (32:23) finishing in an all-conquering first place. While Stephanie Walker (36:35) just beat out Elaine Burton (37:21) for the silver.

The Kid’s Taster Wave saw Henri Bedford comfortably take home the champion’s crown in the boy’s race. Winning in 19:38 ahead of excellent runner, Alberto Panicucci (Thames Turbo Triathlon Club) who posted 20:03 and Alistair Fletcher who did well to edge out Charlie Reehal by just one second to take third in 20:58! Amy Harland won the girl’s race, performing exceptionally well to complete the course in 20:30. The two athletes in second and third finished well ahead of the chasing pack too; as Elena Roncarati (21:05) held her nerve and some energy reserves for a strong final run, to overtake Isabella Purdle (Evo Tri Club) who finished in 21:44.

All of the participants were fuelled around the course with energy drinks from SiS and welcomed back home across the finish line with a cool pint of ERDINGER Alkoholfrei isotonic recovery drink. Don’t forget there’s still time to send around your fundraising link for SOS Children’s Villages UK, the official charity partner of the HSBC Triathlon & Duathlon. They are the world’s largest family, providing loving homes to over 60,000 orphaned and abandoned children around the world.

Next up for any triathletes looking for a winter challenge, or if you’ve caught the duathlon bug, is the Human Race Off-Road Series which consists of Trail Runs and Off-Road Duathlons, perfect for keeping fit through the off-season. Why not give it a try?