2017 Woburn Abbey Triathlon Race Report

14th September 2017

Thousands take part in the Woburn Abbey Triathlon
Two day event sees record numbers

Two thousand triathletes of all abilities took part in the Woburn Abbey Triathlon presented by tri for life on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th September. The spectacular venue in Bedfordshire saw a record number of participants completing distances from SuperSprint to the challenging WoBurner Middle Distance triathlon.

For the first time this year, all triathletes completed their swim in the larger lake in front of the Abbey offering an improved swim experience and a shorter transition. The cycle route also took in some quintessentially British countryside around the local area, with the final flat run course enjoying stunning views of the Abbey grounds and the deer park.

Saturday morning began with the WoBurner participants taking on the challenge of 1900m Swim, 90km Bike, 21.1km – not one for the faint-hearted. Following 2016’s inaugural event, there were several new developments on the course this year, including an on-the-go bike feed station, with volunteers handing out SiS electrolyte drinks and bars, bananas and water.

Piers Vallance (Redway Runners) finished in 4:37:48, followed by Johnny Bolan (Serpentine) in 4:46:04 and Eugene Grant in 4:46:26. The first woman was Annabelle Gamble in 6:12:56.
Olympic triathletes also braved the wind and rain on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, completing a 1500m swim, 44km bike and 10.5km run. The fastest time from the two days came from 21-year old David Robertson (Team Triumph) who sped round the course in a staggering 1:58.55. Second place went to Sam Barley (Velolife) in 2:02:49, followed by Jon Reilly (TriForce) in 2:04:35.
Sunday was also a day for families, with Junior triathletes aged 9-12 years completing a 100m swim, 3km bike and 1km run, while their older counterparts (aged 13-16 years) took on a 300m swim, 10.5km bike and a 2.5km run. Many were completing their very first triathlon, and were supported by huge crowds of friends and family cheering them through each discipline and over the finish line.
In the nine to 12 category, Harvey Doyle (Tri Henley) finished in a speedy 15:52, with Gabriela Woodroffe-Gomez (Bedford Girls School) coming first out of the girls in 19:08. The 13-16 age category saw Daniel Roberts (Team Cherwell) take the top spot in 33:21, with Emily Heasman (Deal Tri) leading the ladies over the line in 37:42.

Those who fancied trying out multisport at an even younger age had the opportunity to complete the Scootathlon, for four to eight year olds. Involving a scoot, cycle and run over a small area in front of Woburn Abbey, this was a fantastic chance for youngsters to get involved in the day and enjoy being active, with many having siblings and parents taking part in the longer distances.

The final waves of the day included Sprint and Supersprint distances with many great performances from the participants; newcomers and experienced alike. Edward Castro(1:01:03) and Claire Vallance (1:13:05) were both Sprint winners, with Andrew Pryke (43:28) and Saoirse Mcclure Fisher (43:58) grabbing the title in the SuperSprint.

The Woburn Abbey Triathlon is presented by the charity triforlife which has raised over £2million to date. This year saw many participants raising vital funds for the chosen charity beneficiaries – Great Ormond Street Hospital and Melanoma Focus Cancer Research.

“The growth of this unique triathlon is fantastic, and we are very proud to be a part of it,” says Nick Rusling, CEO of event organisers Human Race. “We have worked closely with tri for life to broaden the vision of the event, with the development of the longer distance WoBurner, and it was lovely to see so many participants, friends and families enjoying a sporting day out at the beautiful venue of Woburn Abbey.”

“2017 was a milestone year for us,” says Marcus Anselm, Trustee of tri for life. “It was amazing to break through 2,000 participants across the weekend, with the Sunday being completely sold out. We truly offer something for everyone, whether you are 4 years old, or 64 years old – wanting to do a super sprint or a middle distance. Not only that, but we’re supporting some phenomenal charities and ultimately everything we do is about giving back, just one of the many reasons why the Woburn weekend sets itself apart from all other events. We were delighted with the success of this year’s event and look forward to building on this further in 2018.”