Hayes and Pallant return to take Windsor Triathlon titles

13th June 2016

High profile triathletes Stuart Hayes and Emma Pallant stormed to victory at the 26th Windsor Triathlon on Sunday, beating some talented opposition and overcoming the changeable weather, to be crowned champions again. Around 2,000 triathletes of all abilities took on this historic swim, bike and run race which included a start in the River Thames and a final run in the shadow of the unmistakeable Windsor Castle. Many were racing to try and claim a much sought after place on the podium, whilst others were taking part with the sole ambition of finishing, with many choosing to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

After registering and getting a feel for their surroundings on Saturday, the triathletes returned from 6am on Sunday morning to start their epic challenge. The swim route (1,500 metres Olympic, 750m Sprint) is predominantly downstream arguably favouring the weaker swimmers, before a quick dog-leg and an exit next to Alexandra Park where transition is located. The light rain was a minor inconvenience, but for most their training paid off as they looked strong exiting the water.

After transition the bike course (40km Olympic, 30km Sprint) was where many looked the most comfortable. Again the precipitation caused those racing to be slightly more cautious, and maybe knocked a minute or two off the final times, but the high standard of those taking part was obvious as they navigated the route round the outskirts of Windsor and Bray.

After dropping their bikes the run (10km Olympic, 5km Sprint) asked the triathletes to complete three picturesque but sapping laps to complete the challenge, with Science in Sport products provided to keep them fuelled. Whilst the stunning backdrop of the castle would have momentarily distracted them from the job in hand, it was obvious from their faces that this was no sightseeing trip. The finish line in Barry Avenue was the end goal, and attracted hundreds of supporters to line the final 400 yards. Everybody who finished received a bespoke medal, this year designed by top triathlete and artist Vanessa Raw, alongside a Vita Coco to add to their goodie bag.

Since 1991 plenty has changed about this much loved event, but one thing that remains the same every year is the incredible atmosphere. This is true both on the course, where participants push each other on to the line, and from the spectators who line the streets in and around town to cheer on friends and loved ones. Alongside the action of the roads was a popular event village which included top brands such as Wattbike, Nuffield Health, Zone3 and CEP. The team from SWISS were also offering people the chance to win an incredible cycling trip to Switzerland.

Hayes and Pallant (both representing Team Dillon) have previously picked up this legendary title but had the added pressure of headlining the ‘Race with the Stars’ wave this year. They dealt with the expectation well, Stuart finishing in 1 hour 54 minutes and 28 seconds less than a minute ahead of young Tom Davis (Red Venom), with David Bartlett (Cycology) in third. It was once again the cycle leg that separated Stuart from the rest, just like in 2015 he pulled away from the opposition, and smashed out a breath-taking section time of 58:07.

World Duathlon Champion Emma Pallant’s winning time of 2:06:06 was too strong for the opposition, as she used all her talent and experience to expertly navigate the Windsor course. Sarah Lewis (Freespeed) and Emma Deary (Stortford Tri) also performed excellently and took second and third respectively.

Winner of the shorter Sprint distance was Mark Yeoman in 1:19:44 (Viceroys) in the male category, with Ben Ashwell and Duncan Allan completing the podium. The female winner was Carol Bridge (Rhondda Tri Club) in 1:26:59, closely followed by Bridget King and Karen Roake (B2P Tri Club).

New for 2016 was the Club Championship, allowing members of triathlon clubs to represent their team on race day. The trophy for these were named after Jasmine Flatters MBE, who has been involved in the Windsor Triathlon since its inception 25 years ago, with Jasmine on hand to present to the winners. The female title went to Berkshire Tri Squad, with Team Dillon taking the male silverware.

In the relays Team Beecroft picked up the sprint title, with Team Choppers claiming the Olympic. The oldest winners on the day were Tom Rylance (79) and Daphne Belt (76), with Tom completing the run section barefoot! Many other awards were handed out to each of the age group winners, with full results available from www.humanrace.co.uk/results

The Windsor Triathlon will return on Sunday 18th June 2017. Registration is already open for those who want to take up the challenge, with a £20 discount for entering quickly. Head to humanrace.co.uk/triathlon to find out more.