2017 Lidl BananaMan race report

10th July 2017

With 15 waves going off throughout the day, 2,000 sausages being barbecued and 1,000 participants it really was an action packed day at the beautifully sunny Dorney Lake this weekend.

And what better way to kick start the day than to have 60 4–8 year olds taking part in the Scootathlon, which sees them scoot, bike and then run around a mini looped course. Brave crew were at hand to oversee scooters being flung (mainly at them!), bikes being mounted in true multi-sport fashion, before finally watching in amazement as many pairs of little legs were turning over at alarming high speeds. All of our Scootathletes were welcomed home across the finish line with a medal and a high five from proud parents and spectators.

As the scent of BBQ and suntan lotion filled the air, the Bunch of Bananas Team Time Trial relay teams nervously made their way to the edge of the lake. The Bunch of Bananas Team Time Trial, which requires all three team members to complete all three disciplines (800m swim, 31.8km bike, 7.5km run) before crossing the line together was dominated by the Berkshire Tri Squad (Bts), with 5 of their teams taking spots in the top 10. The first all-male team was Team Bts Flipper Smiley & Tickle in an impressive time of 1:29:00. The first all-female team was Team Bts Babes Of Decades in 1:51:20.

Set off in close succession was the duathlon, comprising of a 5km run, 21.2km cycle and 2.5km run. The combination was nothing to sweat about (even in the scorching heat) for Josie Cram who blitzed the 5km run in 18:58 and went on to take the title in a time of 1:10:00. 2nd and 3rd places in the Women’s race went to Lucy Williams (1:12:29) and Helen White (1:14:17). With less than a minute separating the top 3 in the men’s race, spectators were treated to a close battle. But it was Lee Imrie who led from the gun and took the victory in a time of 1:01:45. Vandell Mclean (1:02:15) and Ian Reid (1:02:27) were hot on his heels crossing the line in 2nd and 3rd.

It was then time for the Jumbo Banana (Olympic) distance athletes to wade out into the balmy 23-degree waters of Dorney Lake, who were set off in three waves; men under 40, men over 40 and all women. The Jumbo Olympic triathlon consists of a 1500m swim, 42.4km bike and 10km run, made all the more challenging by the beaming rays of sunshine. It was age before beauty in the running order, with the over 40 men taking the plunge first! It was Steve Fell who showed pure multi-sport talent with consistently strong performances across the three disciplines earning him gold in the over 40 category in a time of 2:12:07, which was also the fastest time of the day over that distance. Duncan Emery took silver in a time of 2:14:57 with bronze going to Nic Harker in 2:18:11. In the battle for the under 40 title, it was Michael Hartland who came out on top, finishing in a time of 2:13:35. In 2nd was Eduard Gercog with 3rd going to Josh Roberts. In the Women’s race it was the 2016 silver medallist, Lucy Collins, turn to stand on the top spot of the podium, finishing in 2:31:00, a 7 minute improvement from last year! Less than a minute behind her was Sarah Kemp (2:32:45) followed by Helen French (2:36:56).

Luckily, ERDINGER were on hand at the finish line to welcome all of our athletes back with a cold refreshing recovery drink, which was highly appreciated by our Jumbo Banana finishers as well as the rest of the day’s competitors.

While the rest of the event village were happily scoffing Lidl burgers and hot dogs, the Whole Banana Men were psyching themselves up to take on the 800m swim, 31.8km bike and 7.5km run. Christopher Symonds proved to be a class above the rest, finishing his Whole Banana over 3 minutes ahead of anyone else in a very impressive time of 1:24:59. Joining him on the podium was Daniel Pearce (1:28:21) and Angus Whitfield (1:31:41).

In the Women’s Whole Banana event, Hayley Rigby, who could have been mistaken for a mermaid after completing the 800m swim in 09:50, finished 5 minutes ahead of her nearest rival in a time of 1:43:54. Hannah Darcy took the silver in 1:48:12 and respect was earnt by 50-54 age category athlete Mary Stevenson who took the bronze in a very respectful time of 1:50:03.

Next to make a splash were the Lidl employees who were taking on the Fritter distance; 400m swim, 21.2km bike and 5km run. Closely followed by 4 other Fritter waves; Men under 40, men over 40, women and the Fritter relay teams. As expected it was a highly competitive display all round with four athletes completing the distance in under an hour!

In the men’s race it was the 2016 winner, Lee Thompson (under40) that came back to successfully defend his title, taking two minutes off his time in the process, finishing in 56:31. Oliver Bradley (over 40) wasn’t far off the pace finishing in 2nd (and winning his category by over 5 minutes) in a time of 57:01 and 3rd place went to junior athlete Michael Eagling (58:06).

Carol Bridge treated us to a class performance in the woman’s wave, making the whole thing look like child’s play, finishing almost 6 minutes ahead of her competitors in an incredibly speedy time of 1:00:53. It was junior athlete Hannah Lancaster who was next to cross the line in 1:06:33 followed by Michelle Kerfoot in 1:08:03.

Berkshire Tri Squad (Bts) were back collecting more metal work in the relays, this time taking two of the top three spots in the men’s relay. However, they had to settle for silver and bronze as on this occasion they were out classed by Team Turing House School who took the top spot in a time of 1:26:25. But fear not, they were back on gold winning form in the women’s race, with team Bts Live And Let’s Tri taking the victory in a winning time of 1:58:54.

Half Bananas were next on the menu, which saw many first timers taking on a 400m swim, 10.6km bike and 2.5km run. Heather Clarke showed us an impressive display of athleticism and determination, completing the distance in a time of 46:29. Beatriz Bonilla and Julie Hamilton joined her on the podium, finishing in 47:35 and 48:48 respectively.

In the men’s wave it was the youth athletes who dominated with two potential upcoming stars grabbing spaces on the podium. But it was experience that won the race, with Daniel Davis taking gold in 39:14, with Hugo Warner (40:21) and Casper Grundy (41:11) taking 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Last but not least were the adult and children’s (11-14 year olds) Banana Split waves which consists of a 200m swim, 5.3km bike and 2.5km run. Once again it was the next generation showing the men how it should be done in the adult’s wave, with youth athletes Henry Johnston clocking the fastest time in 25:53, Alasdair Poll the 2nd fastest in 27:59 and Jay Mcbridge taking third in 28:16. In the female adult’s wave, Zoe Regan swam, cycled and ran her way to victory in 40:49. In second was youth athlete Mya Barrow (41:01) and third place went to senior athlete (50-54 category) Jennifer Thompson (44:56).

In the 11-14 wave, it was Nellie Hodgson who showed real potential, smashing through the multi sport challenge in a time of 25:51, which would have secured her the top spot in the men’s or women’s adult wave! Eva Kynaston took silver in 27:17 and bronze went to Maison Foxcroft in 27:44. Star quality was also seen in the boy’s wave, with the top 4 boys all finishing in under 25 minutes! Adam Hunt barely got wet after finishing the 200m swim in under 4 minutes, and went on to take the title in 23:06. Alex Titley was hot on his heels finishing in 23:21 with Joesph Heather close behind him (24:24).

A massive thanks to all our partners and sponsors for making the event possible and contributing to the brilliant atmosphere on the day, but an extra special thanks goes to Lidl for providing everybody with such a fantastic spread throughout the day. We hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did.