Bananas, Burgers and Brilliant Triathlon Racing

13th July 2015

A lovely British summer morning greeted around 800 participants at Dorney Lake on Saturday for the UK’s most bananas multi-sport event. This year the Lidl BananaMan Triathlon was taken to another level with the addition of a Duathlon, for those not so keen on the swim leg of the usual triathlon, and the Little Life Scootathlon races.

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We kicked off the morning with the new Little Life Scootathlon races where kids from ages 4-8 scooted, cycled and ran the short course, cheered on by hordes of proud parents. Without wanting to be outdone, it was then the parents turn to join in the fun in the Parent and Child Relay Scootathlon. Mum/dad scooted on adult scooters kindly provided by event sponsor Micro Scooter then ran, before tagging in their child who scooted and cycled. The final run lap was completed by both parent and child together, so they could cross the finish line and collect their finishers medal in unison.

Once the family fun had been completed it was time for the Duathlon to start with participants taking on a 5km run, 21.2km bike and 2.5km run. This inaugural Duathlon at this event was won by James Repper in a time of 1:08:40, beating Gerald Tudor who came second in a time of 1:09:25 because of his rapid run times. Repper posted impressive times of 17:54 for the first 5km run and 9:21 for the final 2.5k run which were the quickest run times of the entire field. Despite clocking the quickest bike split of the Duathlon (37:15), and being nearly two minutes quicker than Repper’sbike split, Tudor could only manage second spot. Third place was taken by Jonathon Walker in a time of 1:11:02.

As for the women we had a clear winner in Kate Sharland who posted the quickest run 1 (22:00), bike (45:15) and run 2 (11:22) splits of all the competing women culminating in an overall time of 1:21:04 to take first spot. She came in ahead of Amanda Peart (1:25:11) andCathy Taylor (1:26:49) who finished second and third respectively.

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Following the Duathlon the first triathlon wave of the day started with the always super-competitive Team Time Trial race. The Team Time Trial is perfect for friends and club members who want to race all three triathlon disciplines together at the same time rather than an individual doing each one separately. This race was won by Team Bumblebee from Berkshire Tri Squad in a time of 1:34:34 and they clearly enjoyed the draft legal bike course as they flew round it in the quickest bike split of the race (49:33). Second spot was taken by Team Windsor Old Boys in 1:38:48 while Berkshire Tri Squad had more club members on the podium with their Fleegle, Bingo & Snorky (droopers on standby) team taking third in 1:45:53.

Berkshire Tri Squad were in a dominant mood when it came to the all-women teams too as their teams Top Totty and the aptly named Girls Going Bananas took first and second spot in times of 1:56:04 and 2:02:47 respectively. Third place was Team Helena Gabi And Ciara who finished in 2:06:10.

After the Team Time Trial the first individual participants set off in the Whole Banana which was an 800m swim, 31.8km bike and 7.5km run, and, with so many men taking part we split the field into two waves of those under and over 40 years old. First off were the over 40s and the top three in this age category were the top three overall. Showing their younger counterparts how it was done, was winner Mat Clarkson (1:33:56), second placed Michael Marzetti (1:35:02) and third placed Scott Forsyth (1:35:30).

As for the under 40s the quickest in this age group was Mark Chamberlain (1:36:03) from Southampton Tri Club followed by Mark Furth (1:36:31) from Team T.H.E. in second place and Jack Knight (1:38:28) in third.

When it came to the women’s Whole Banana wave there was an outstanding performance from Carol Bridge who finished over 14 minutes ahead of the next best placed female in a winning time of 1:36:08 (quick enough for fifth spot overall). Not surprisingly Bridge posted the fastest swim, bike and run time of all the competing women and her swim time of 10:03 was the quickest on the day overall.

The earlier Team Time Trial was not the only relay on offer at this event, we also had the more traditional Bunch of Bananas Relay where teams of either two or three people took on the same Whole Banana distance passing the baton (or timing chip in this instance) between people. In this race Berkshire Tri Squad were again heavily present on the podium taking both first and second places in the male/mixed relay category. Team Simple Minds were victorious in a time of 1:34:00 and Team Woodland Animals second in 1:34:38. It wasn’t all Berkshire Tri Squad however as Team Turning House School took third spot in 1:37:15.

When it came to the female only teams, Team Banana Cake took the top spot in 1:40:00 with another team from Berkshire Tri Squad, and the Ultimate Threesome team claimed second in 1:55:52. Third spot was taken by Team Bloomberg Women who finished in 2:00:09, with a really strong final run leg that was an almost an identical run split as the winning team (despite that team finishing 20 minutes ahead of them).

For those that wanted a shorter distance than the Whole Banana there was the Banana Fritter on offer which consisted of a 400m swim, 21.2km bike and a 5km run. This popular distance was again split for the men by age with the under 35s going off first  followed by the over 35 year olds shortly afterwards. Once again it was the more experienced over 35s that were quickest with the top four all coming in this age category. There was a popular winner here amongst the Human Race crew with our expert swim starter Tom Emmett’s son Jason Emmett taking first place in 1:01:53 representing Evolution Tri Club from Windsor. Despite not having the fastest individual splits of the day he was the most consistent throughout and overtook Mark Hanby from Manchester Tri Club on the run to beat him by just 8 seconds (1:02:01). Third place went to Wayne Thrusting from B2P Tri Club who clocked 1:02:34.

The under 35s were not too far behind with the top three in this wave being made up of Tom Scott who was first in 1:06:46 followed by Tom Sherratt in 1:08:57 in second and James Douglas from PremierTri in 1:10:20 in third.

The women’s race (which wasn’t split by age category) was equally competitive and, despite being chased down on the run course, Sonia Spearing from the Metropolitan Police Triathlon Club, who led the field going into T2, held on and took the victory in a time of 1:06:45. She was being chased by a fast finishing Rachel Rowan who took second in 1:07:21 followed by Victoria Emmett (yes another from the Emmett family) who took third in 1:09:23.

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There was one other wave which took on the Banana Fritter distance and this was a special Lidl employee wave made up of just Lidl staff. Winning this wave for the second year in a row was Glen Barlow in a time of 1:10:54. Barlow won a thrilling race and actually went into T2 in second spot just behind Adam Catterall but Barlow went onto the run course over a minute before Catterall as he took just 55 seconds in T2 compared with Catterall’s 2 minutes and 47. Catterall eventually finished in eighth spot. There was a great race for second and third places with Leif Schubert coming into T2 from the bike leg just seven seconds head of Russell Jeffery, but a slightly quicker T2 from Jefferymeant he led out his colleague onto the run course by just a single second. Despite being close throughout, Schubert couldn’t finish ahead of Jeffery who took second place in a time of 1:13:58 and he will have been delighted to have finally made the podium this year after coming fourth in each of the last two years! Schubert’s finishing time was 1:14:33. A special mention here should go to Lidl UKCEO Ronny Gottschlich who dramatically improved on his fifteenth spot taking fifth place this time around in 1:19:14.

As for the women, despite being the tenth female out of the water from the swim, Julia Turek-Osagie then produced a great performance clocking the quickest T1, bike, T2 and run times of all the female Lidl employees and consequently she took top spot in 1:19:23. Second place went to Zoe Hawkins(1:21:56) while third spot was taken by Shona Murray (1:22:14).

Shortly before the Lidl employee wave we welcomed the Half Banana participants into the water as they prepared to take on the 400m swim, 10.6km bike and 2.5km run course. Amongst the strong field for this distance was Zack Holdaway who was looking for an unprecedented fourth win in a row in this event. Holdaway wasn’t to have it his own way this time however as we witnessed a stellar performance from Kieran Lindars from Bodyworks XTC as he dominated all three disciplines and was a class apart throughout to clock a winning time of 31:54. There was a much closer race between second and third and it was Matt Floyd who won the battle for second in a time of 39:02 leaving defending champion Holdaway to settle for third in 39:26. Holdaway later commented that exams and revision had distracted his training time leading up to the event but that he would be back next year to try and re-claim the crown.

There was more great racing in the women’s Half Banana wave and this was won in another impressive time of 39:36 by Eleanor Mcnally who really treated the two transitions as the fourth discipline of triathlon clocking the quickest times for both T1 and T2 of the field including a fantastic 36 seconds for T2. There was almost a photo finish for second though as Lisa Durward held on to claim second place in a time of 42:42 with the fast finishing Lauren Wye closing her down right to the end and just missing out on second to claim third spot in a time of 42:45.

The final distance of the day was the even shorter Banana Split (well it wasn’t going to be called something sensible was it?!) which consisted of a 200m swim, 5.3km bike and a 25km run, for those 15 years and over, or a 1.8km run for the 11-14 year olds. The men’s 15 years and over Adults Banana Splitwas won by a young Sam Atkins who also won this race last year but this time he knocked over two and a half minutes off his finish time clocking 27:38. Second spot went to Nick Montgomerie who finished just behind in 27:46 and third went to Robbie Leckie in 31:36.

The women’s over 15 year olds Banana Split was won by Anja Heijnen in a spectacular time of 26:56. She was followed in by second placed Adele Van Eden who finished in 35:58 and then Beatriz Bonilla who claimed third in 36:36.

The 11-14 year olds were even quicker  with Harry Gurney taking the title in 23:42 which included a spectacular swim time of just 2:29 (the quickest 200m swim time of the day and a respectable pool swim time never mind in open water). Second spot went to Alex Percival of Hampstead Triathlon Club who clocked a time of 24:13 while third spot went to Hugo Warner just behind him in a time of 24:26.

The top 3 girls in this age category were led in by Emily Bray from Evolution Tri Club winning in a time of 25:47 while second place went to Siena Crossleyin 28:49 and third place going to Mya Barrow from Farnham Triathlon Club in 32:13.

All finishers were treated to a ERDINGER Alkoholfrei drink after crossing the finish line and Keith Jenns, who was fifth in the Duathlon, was clearly impressed commenting that it was “the best isotonic recovery drink you can get!”

Before the event participants could grab a free Zipvit Sport high performance ZV7 sample energy gel from registration while on the run course they were being fuelled by their ZV1 energy drink elite. If you liked what you tried and want to stock up on some more, remember you can get 25% off any items using the discount code ‘HR1’.

One of the big highlights of the day however, and what makes this event really stand out from most others, is the fantastic array of free food and drink on offer from title sponsors Lidl. Not only was there plenty of soft drinks, snacks and of course a mountain of bananas, there was also an all-you-can-eat BBQ for all participants and spectators which went down a treat in the sunshine.

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This year the event was in aid of official charity CLIC Sargent, with all participants encouraged to fundraise to support the great work they do in offering children with cancer all round care and support. CLIC Sargent are hoping to raise thousands from this event and if you haven’t yet donated it’s never too late to do so; you can donate just £3 quickly and easily by texting HELP to 70030.

Elsewhere in the event village Wiggle were on hand offering their range of products at their Platinum customer prices; so even cheaper than their already great website prices. We also had bike hire from British Bike Hire, blueseventy wetsuit hire and the chance for participants to hire a Garmin sports watch for free at the event. Plus Spatone liquid iron supplements were free to try and available at registration for all participants.

Next up for Human Race is Macmillan Cycletta Scotland on Saturday the 19th July and we are back at Dorney Lake for a range of Triathlons in September starting with Diamond Triand Tri Relays on 6th September.