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Sunday 12th June – World Triathlon Series Leeds


Report from Stephen Boddy:

Anyone who has done a triathlon will understand the issues surrounding having two separate transition areas and with over 5000 people StephenBoddy_LeedsTricompeting on the Sunday I figured this would have to be a slick operation to keep people moving smoothly. We had to register at the university on the Saturday and then drop our running kit off at T2 by the old swimming pool. I bumped into Gwen Jorgensen whilst doing this and felt inferior for it.

On the Sunday morning I drove to Roundhay Park in plenty of time for my 7.56am swim, racked my bike and packed my stuff in my Green ‘dry clothes’ bag. The swim is always my weakness but it’s a bit disconcerting when the lifeguards keep asking if you’re ok. Straight out the water with a headrush and a wobble and off to grab my bike and ditch my wetsuit in my blue ‘wet clothes’ bag, and I was off to the bike exit, the bikes were racked a good 300/400m from the water which added time to my total.

The bike ride was a very quick route on closed roads through Meanwood and Headingley down to the centre of town and then a long drag back up for another lap. On the route back down I got overtaken by some pretty powerful athletes with bigger bikes and bigger calves but I arrived in to T2 feeling pretty good. However, my legs soon deserted me and I had to live on borrowed reserves for 3 of the 5 city centre loops. These 2km laps were really well supported but the number of runners and tight corners meant it was hard to keep a steady pace. All in all I was relatively pleased to get round the whole thing in a fraction over 3 hours.

It was 11am now and I went to get my green and blue bags from bag collection which was a small marquee near the finish. Despite it being over three hours since I dropped my bags off at Roundhay Park, they still hadn’t arrived and it wasn’t until nearly 2pm when I had both my bags in my possession. It was quite a sorry sight as for many people, these bags contained their wallets, phones, warm clothes so we had nothing to do but shiver and stiffen up for a few hours. It is merciful that the rain held off as long as it did.

I got away lightly too as I was only number 2822. All numbers above 3500 had to take the shuttle bus to Roundhay to collect their stuff and then come back into town for their bikes. I heard stories of people not being able to collect their bags until the evening, meaning missed trains, late journeys home and a lot of hanging about in cold, wet tri suits. It also meant a lot of people missed the local phenomena known as the Brownlee brothers who put on an exceptional show for the locals.

As I cycled back to Roundhay to pick up my car (as they wouldn’t allow bikes on the shuttle bus) I reflected on the day, the actual race was excellent but sadly when you spend more time queuing than competing a sour taste will be left in the mouth.  Luckily I had paid for the event last summer so I wasn’t too disgruntled that my considerable fee hadn’t been put to better organisational use. To be honest, I still have a sour taste in my mouth today but I think that’s all the lake water I drank during the swim.

and a report on the team relay race from Phil Robinson:

My cycling pals the Thorp Arch MoB (Men on Bikes) entered two teams for the mass-participation segment of this international event and when one of them developed a hamstring problem I was recruited to become the “Mobsters 1” runner. After well over a thousand races I’d long forgotten about pre-race nerves but for once felt pretty jittery on Sunday morning. With talk of 100,000 crowds being expected to watch the main races and 3000-plus competitors in the mass race I was worried about traffic and finding a parking spot near my start area – Transition 2 on the derelict site of the old International Pool. No problem, though, and by 10.30 I was in the transition zone waiting with a few other runners for our cyclists to arrive. The first wave of starters jumped into Roundhay Park lake at 7am; our team started about 8.45 and swimmer Blaise sent me a text to say he’d handed over to cyclist JR about 9.25. At 10.44 JR arrived in T2 and set me off on the 10k. After the section from Queen Street to the town hall, the course consisted of five laps of the main shopping areas via the Headrow, Park Parade and Millenium Square with its temporary grandstands. The whole of this part of the route was packed with spectators, and it was great to see a few familiar faces in the crowds, particularly regular triathloneer Howard Jeffrey with his 1950s-style football rattle. At the finish in front of the grandstand the BBC folk kept up a lively commentary and the cheering crowds gave us a big-event atmosphere.

Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds 2016 Results:
Sunday / Open Race Standard Distance Relay
PLACE NUMBER NAME SWIM TRANS 1 BIKE TRANS 2 RUN FINISH
29 4131 Mobsters1 34:37 06:48 01:17:03 01:29 52:14 02:52:09

There is talk of Leeds hosting the UK stage of the International Triathlon Series again next year – maybe Otley AC could put together a team or two?

  1. #1 by Howard on June 13, 2016 - 7:57 pm

    Good run Phil on a crowded circuit. Now I get why I could not find you in the results.
    I got the rattle for the Tour de Yorkshire; it saves the vocal chords!!

  2. #2 by Tamara on June 14, 2016 - 10:29 am

    Excellent, Phil! I didn’t realise ordinary folk would be in it, but that just shows my ignorance, oops.

  3. #3 by John D on June 15, 2016 - 2:26 pm

    I did the sprint version (though in LBT colours, as it’s not just running!) and was one of the unlucky ones waiting to find out what had happened to my bags, until fellow participants told me they would still be at Roundhay (communication around the event was woeful throughout). I was really lucky that my partner found me in the crush around the bag (so-called) collect. If she hadn’t, I had no money to get the shuttle bus and would have had to cycle back to Roundhay, a route I don’t know, after having waited three hours from finish. In addition, it seems some runners were misadvised on the day where the laps started and ended up running a lap short. I spoke to some very disgruntled runners indeed while I was waiting in the scrum.

    Having said all that, the organisers appear to be taking the criticism seriously and trying to improve, and I hope for a *much* better event next year, and I’ll try for standard distance.

  4. #4 by Antonio Cardinale on June 15, 2016 - 8:00 pm

    I agree with the good comments by Tamara and Howard about the good performances in this World Triathlon in Leeds , Phil R. running strongly on a crowded city center is a super competitor , also Stephen B. did a hard competitive triathlon in just 3 hours not bad at all ,and well done also to John D. competing in the sprint version . In a huge fields of competitors and with many different races during the day , things can go wrong very easily like the bags disaster . Maybe will be better next year .

  5. #5 by Andy Webster on June 23, 2016 - 7:27 pm

    Stephen

    Well done, just like you don’t do well swimming. Cam out the wave 3rd from last.

    A good cycle, and a difficult run, meant I also finished just over 3 hours. Plenty of time to knock off if I improved my swim time.

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