Report from Howard Jeffrey:
Today I competed in the English national age group aquathlon championships. What the heck’s that I hear you ask. Last year I did not know myself but discovered when I entered the Leeds sprint triathlon scheduled for Sunday 12th that it was on for today. 750 metre open water swim in Roundhay park lake which I have done a couple of times in other events and then 5K run, along effectively the Roundhay parkrun course but in reverse. Mass start at 12.30 for the men with the women 5 minutes after. The water was a balmy 18 degrees and was wearing my original Zoot suit (not the gangster type, google it but the wetsuit) because I have not had breathless experiences in it to date. None the less I let the others pull away for a few seconds before I got into a rhythm which was quick by my standards but relatively slow by national aquathlon standards. No bad experiences and I came out of the water near the back of the men’s wave but just in front of the first lady. There was quite a long drag up to the transition which allowed me to remove most of the suit and get warmed up for the run. Any-one that knows Roundhay will appreciate that it is a hilly and challenging course but I know it well and knew where it would suit me. That was around the little lake and down the carriage drive where I can get a head of steam downhill. I was breathing heavily coming into transition but by the time I got my running shoes on I was good to go. On the first lap of two I passed two of the age group rivals and on lap two another three and had a pretty good run in to the finish. The 5K took 22 minutes or so which at Roundhay park is OK. The results are up live and I had managed third so picked up a bronze medal which was the best I could have hoped for as the two in front were three minutes faster in the water.
As for the sprint tomorrow, I withdrew because, without going into detail, I was not happy with the logistics of the finish. I feared hanging around exhausted in the cold and damp which would not have been good for my troublesome chest and I have the European aquathlon championships in France in a fortnight. I am still a runner though, because next week is the Wakefield half marathon.