Report: Shock Absorber WomenOnly Triathlon 2016
11th July 2016
A mild morning welcomed around 800 women for the 2016 Shock Absorber WomenOnly Triathlon at Eton, Dorney Lake on Sunday. The usual competitive testosterone fuelled atmosphere was noticeably replaced with a welcoming and friendly vibe, but having said that there were still a number of competitive athletes amongst the field who were ready to lead the charge in their race.
This event, for women of all abilities, offered participants the chance to take part in a whole range of triathlon distances as well as a duathlon and 5km run. But it was the kids who took to the stage first with the LittleLife Scootathlon offering children between the ages of 4 and 8 the chance to scoot, bike and then run to the finish line.
After the parents had seen how it was done, the first adults race of the day started with the Duathlon (5km run, 21.2km bike, 2.5km run) and 5km Run both going off together. Both races offered those who were reluctant to swim but still wanted to be part of the day the chance to show what they could do and they were warmly greeted across the finish line as the first finishers of the day. The winner of the 5km run was Anya Gardner in a time of 21:29. She finished ahead of Sarah Harris of Phoenix Triathlon Club (22:58) and Elisa Harris (26:59) who finished second and third respectively. As for the Duathlon, it was Louise Clark from Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers who led from start to finish and won in a time of 1:23:21. Second went to Agnes Debreczeni (1:24:15) and third placed was Lesley Mallock (1:26:31).
After the Duathlon and Run had started, the first triathletes were ready to take on the longest distance of the day; the Olympic distance (1,500m swim, 42.4km bike, 10km run) race. There was a stunning performance in this race with Charlotte Bowsher taking first place with a staggering winning margin of over 25 minutes! Her time of 2:19:09 beat Juliet Starbuck of Steyning Athletic Club who clocked 2:45:02 into second and Nicole Gruenauer who posted a time of 2:45:53 into third.
Today we saw a real mix of abilities with some experienced triathletes like Charlotte pushing for a PB on the famously flat, fast course amongst other less experienced athletes taking on the event for charity. The official benefitting charity of the event was appropriately Breast Cancer Care who were hoping to raise a massive £43,000 from the day. They had countless triathletes, duathletes and runners all raising money to help such a good cause, and those who weren’t fundraising could still donate at their stand or by texting the word TOGETHER to 70300 (which donates £3 to the charity).
Following in the Olympic triathletes’ footsteps were those taking on the Challenge distance (800m swim, 31.8km bike, 7.5km run) which featured both individual and relay teams taking part together. The quickest in this wave was ‘Team Guns of Roses’ from London Frontrunners (1:45:44) while the second placed team went to ‘Team Have fun tri-ing’ (I see what you’ve done there) (2:00:29) and third was the equally pun-tastic ‘Team Must tri harder’ (2:01:46). It seemed as if you didn’t need a team to be one of the quickest in this race though as the top three individuals were all only beaten by one team. Here we had a great race with Alexandra Openshaw posting a quick swim, then she was overtaken by Kim Bainbridge on the bike before re-claiming her lead and the individual victory in a finish time of 1:49:42. Kim for the second year running took second spot for Viceroy Triathlon Club in a time of 1:51:24 (35 seconds quicker than last year mind) while third wen to Rebecca Prince of Wimbledon Windmilers in 1:52:46.
Up next was the Sprint distance (750m swim, 21.2km bike, 5km run) which even featured a popstar racing. We welcomed former Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm back to this event which she has taken part in before and which is clearly one of her favourites. Melanie (representing the RG Active Race Team) clocked an impressive time of 1:28:49 which was only enough for 18th spot overall. First place went to Gesine Junker of Windbrush Triathlon Club who won in a time of 1:14:00. Second place was Ali Longman’s thanks in part to having the fastest swim in the field which set her up to finish in a time of 1:20:55. She beat Alison Bird into third in a time of 1:22:03.
As the day went on, the distances kept getting shorter with the SuperSprint distance up next which featured a 400m swim, 21.2km bike and 5km run. Thanks to posting the quickest bike time in the field, Luan Mahoney took first in a time of 1:14:37 while second went to youngster Isabelle Ellis (1:16:38) who finished ahead of Ann Cook (1:18:49) who took third. A special mention must also go to Barbara Boshier of Southampton Triathlon Club who was taking part in her second SuperSprint triathlon at Dorney Lake of the weekend having done the same distance at the Lidl BananaMan Triathlon the previous day. She was clearly frustrated at clocking just over two hours on the Saturday as she came back on the Sunday and managed to dip under the two hour barrier clocking 1:59:35.
The penultimate distance of the day was the Novice distance (400m swim, 10.6km bike, 2.5km run) which was won by Zoe Rocholl in a winning time of 48:12. She took first by just one second in a photo finish ahead of the fast finishing Caroline Beckett (48:13) who was quicker than Zoe in the swim, bike and run sections but took two minutes longer in T1 which cost her the win. Not far behind the top two was Sally Bakkes who took third in a time of 48:54.
One of the beginners who took part in the Novice wave was Rebecca Golding who was delighted to complete her first triathlon and who sounded like she may have caught the triathlon bug: “This was my first ever triathlon. I wanted to do it as a challenge but also to raise money for Breast Cancer Care. I would definitely do another! The atmosphere was really supportive and that made a huge difference. Everyone: staff, competitors and spectators were there cheering everyone on. I found the run the hardest as it was the last bit before the finish, but felt so proud of myself once I finished!”
We finished off the day with a new wave for 2016, the First Timers wave, which comprised of just a 200m swim, 5.3km bike and 2.5km run which did what it said on the tin and offered beginners the chance to give triathlon a go. This proved a popular distance and the sense of achievement from this group of participants as they crossed the finish line was palpable. Although everyone is obviously a winner in their own right, the first person home was young Nellie Hodgson of Optima Racing Team who finished in a time of 29:33. Second place went to Louise Brown who clocked 30:14 followed by Pauline Hollands in 32:12.
It wasn’t all about the finish times and racing however. The day saw a bustling event village featuring title sponsor Shock Absorber who were on hand to offer helpful tips, advice and bra fittings to participants to help them get the support they need. Zone3 were also on hand for any last minute swim and triathlon supplies while British Bike Hire were present for any mechanical bike issues faced.
Human Race’s sports nutrition partner Science in Sport helped fuel participants through the event thanks to their range of GO Isotonic Energy gels which were available at registration as well as their GO Electrolyte drink which was on offer on the run course drinks station. Once participants reached the finish line they were then treated to a refreshing ERDINGER Alkoholfrei isotonic recovery drink so they could toast their achievement appropriately.
After a few weeks off we are back at Dorney Lake on the 14th August for a huge day of triathlon racing with Diamond Triathlon & Swims as well as Nuffield Health Tri Relays taking place. Entries for all these races close at 9am on Tuesday 9th August so don’t miss out and enter now!
You can view around 150 pictures from the event on our Facebook page