Diamond Tri kicks off September triathlon season

9th September 2015

Kicking off a double-header of triathlon action and the start of the 2015 September Tris was the Diamond Triathlon. The Diamond Triathlon was first launched in 2012 to commemorate a great year for the country with the greatest sporting event descending on the capital and the Diamond Jubilee.

The 2015 Diamond Tri certainly had a lot to live up to, however we were not disappointed, as we were treated to a thrilling day of multi-sport action at the stunning 2012 Olympic rowing venue, Dorney Lake.

It was the Diamond Swims, a new addition at this year’s event that kicked off proceedings on a cool yet calm morning down at Dorney Lake. First off were the 4km swimmers, the longest swim distance of the day. The first winner of the day in the male category was Luke Edmonds with a great time of 1:00:33, 4 minutes later he was followed by brothers Michael, in second, & Thomas Bilbe in third in a hotly contested family affair with only seconds separating the two. It was much the same in the female category which was convincingly won by Robyn Bateman, with a fantastic time of 51:37, the fastest in both the male & female categories. Not too far behind in second was Sarah Moore of Mid Sussex Triathlon Club with an impressive time of 57:37 & Michelle Reid followed swiftly in third. Shortly after the 4km swimmers kicked off the Diamond Swims in style, we were treated to the 3km swim. In much the same fashion as the 4km race we witnessed a tough, well-fought race that culminated in a tantalising finish. It was Ben Garland, a Junior u19, who finished first in the men’s category, closely followed by Pip Bennett in second & John Smith in third, with only seconds separating the three. In the female category, there were only thirteen competitors but this did not stop Amy Barton producing the third best time of the 3km swim (41:33) beating John Smith to third overall. Shortly behind Amy in second was Caroline Pote & Janine Dickinson followed in third.

The 2km swim followed swiftly, which saw Jonathan Bird take 1st place in the men’s wave, with Tom Shaw following in second & Garfield Thomas taking third place in the men’s wave. However it was the women that dominated the top 5 of the 2km swim, with Becky Power of the Clapham Chasers edging out Jonathan Bird to take first place overall with a time of 28:27. Shortly behind Becky Power in second, & third overall, was Janette Cardy of the Oxford Tri Club, edging out Tom Shaw in fourth by 30 seconds. Third place in the women’s category went to Hilary Coulson, who was only 8 seconds behind Tom Shaw in 5th place overall. In the final swim distance of the day, the 1km Swim, it was much the same as the 2km swim, with the female swimmers dominating the top 5, with Bethany Barby (Junior 17-18 year old), Claire Wright and Carly Wheeler taking the top three places. In fourth overall behind Carly Wheelers was Tom James who won the men’s category, with Adam Cooper in second and Alexander Pottle in third.

Once the swims had got under way, it was the turn of the kids to show everyone how’s it’s done in the LittleLife Scootathlon. This saw children aged 4 to 8 get their first taste of triathlon with a 390m scoot, 390m bike and finally a 250m run finishing under the LittleLife gantry. The Scootathlon provided a great way to settle everyone’s nerves before the impending triathlon waves, showcasing the triathletes of the future!

With the day beginning to heat up, it was the turn of the Olympic Triathletes to dazzle us with their triathlon prowess, starting off with the Women’s wave. With some extraordinary athletes on show in this heat, it made for a hotly contested affair with the top 3 falling within seconds of each other. However it was Katherine Gardner who took the victory after a very impressive run time of 39:10 propelled her past her fellow challengers. In second place, only 45 seconds behind Katherine in second was Beverley Childs of the RAF Triathlon Club with an impressive time of 2:36:25. Less than a minute behind Beverley was Samantha Sterwald-Smith who comfortably took third place.

Shortly following the women’s Olympic wave, it was the turn of the men to take on the Olympic Triathlon, and as the women showed in the previous wave, there was to be a rich array of triathlon talent on show and we were treated to a spectacle in both the Men’s 40+ & Mens U40s waves. In the Mens 40+ wave it was Duncan Emery who took control and beat Darren Bosher of the Army Triathlon Association to 2nd place by 50 seconds, with an impressive time of 2:15:08, with Shane Antill following shortly behind in third. The Men’s U40s wave was again to be a quick and competitive affair with a clear top three, with Massimillano Radi blitzing his fellow competitors with a fantastic time of 2:09:57, just over 2 minutes faster than Edward Nunn of Bts in second, who had a particularly strong bike leg with a time of 39:07. Third place went to Garry Cummins of ESC D3 Triathlon with a time of 2:17:49, who only just beat James Holliday to third place by 3 seconds. James Holliday in particular deserves a worthy mention as he is only a Junior (17-18), but still more than held his own in the men’s Olympic triathlon wave by taking fourth place.

As the midday sun began to shine down on Dorney Lake, it was again the turn of the women to show what they can do, however this time in the Sprint distance. The eventual winner came in the shape of Carol Bridge with a fantastic time of 1:06:37, 3 minutes ahead of her nearest rival in second place. It was Carol’s consistently strong performances through all three disciplines that won her the race, which is how she got the beating of Eileah Bailey of RG Active Race Team, who, after absolutely flying out of the blocks with the quickest swim time of the day in the Sprint Distance (5:42), struggled to maintain her fantastic start in the bike and run legs. Shortly behind Eileah in third was Anne Eden of Thetrilife.com, who finished with a solid time of 1:13:06.

It was then the turn of the men to take on the Sprint triathlon, with the men’s waves once again split between the 40+ & the under 40s. The over 40s wave produced a great spectacle with Paul Bean just pipping George Eyles to second with a time of 1:04:45, shortly followed by Mark Hanby of the Manchester Triathlon who finished in third just 10 seconds ahead of Eoin O’Connell in fourth. In the under 40s wave, we were again to witness a rapid and competitive race, much like the U40s wave in the Olympic distance. However it was Oliver Bradford of Ful-on-Tri who claimed first place with an impressive time of 1:02:10, after particularly strong times in the bike and run legs. Oliver was shortly followed by Pavan Roopral of Team Dillon in second and Glenn Olding in third. In a first for the Diamond Triathlon we had a Sprint mates wave and a Disney wave, a sprint distance wave made up entirely of Disney employees. Although no new record times were set in these waves, the mates wave and Disney wave were great to watch, they added a real vibrancy to the day, highlighting the great sense of camaraderie that was ever presence throughout the day at Dorney.

Whilst we witnessed some great triathletes take on the Olympic & Sprint distances, it was great to see all the participants in the Novice wave test out a triathlon for the first time and, hopefully for many, it won’t be the last one they take part in. The first finisher in the novice wave was Henry Bennett who was the first male to cross the finish line, finishing in a great time of 39:50, Henry was shortly followed by Emile Dunant in second & Tom Orpwood in third. The first female to finish was not too far behind the top 3 males, Natalie Green was the first female to finish with an impressive time of 41:17, Janette Cardy & Fiona Laffin were not too far behind in second and third with strong times of 41:29 & 47:23 respectively.

The final waves of the Diamond Triathlon were the Adult & Children’s taster waves, which once again highlighted why Triathlon is one of the UK’s fastest growing sports, with 66 kids taking part in, what was likely their first triathlons. In the adult’s taster wave, it was Mark Lloyd who won in comfortable fashion with a time of 26:53, however it was the battle for 2nd and 3rd place that made for interesting viewing with Russell Quelch taking second with a time of 31:03, and Helen Osgerby and Kate Williamson both finishing on exactly 31:23, taking joint third place. It was much the same in the children’s taster wave with Morgan West taking victory with a time of 23:13, shortly followed by Benjamin Hinchliffe who claimed second place by only 3 seconds ahead of Bertie Pettit.