Report from Howard Jeffrey:
Last year I made the podium with a bronze medal in my age group at the English aquathlon championships (750m swim 5K run)and this year felt in about the same shape. Aquathlon is where good swimmers (maybe not so good runners) take on the good runners (maybe not such good swimmers). I looked at the competition and decided that the chance for Gold was on this year as the strongest swimmer in the age group was actually Scottish so if I could run down the others who were also stronger swimmers but weaker runners, top spot was possible. The water was fine and I swam a second faster than last year so have at least maintained form. Had it not been for one person I overtook as we approached the exit I would actually have been last out of the water! (Have looked into some swim coaching). It is a long drag to transition in the wetsuit and but I felt OK and got into my running shoes in good order. For those who know the Roundhay park run it is hilly and tough and the route for the aquathlon although not identical, is similar but two laps in reverse. Out of transition straight up a hill and then level round the top lake and a great downhill stretch back to start the second lap. I had spotted the likely rivals on the second uphill drag but I was feeling strong and up on my toes and had the fastest age group run and overtook the rivals before I hit the descent where I was able to put some distance between. Gold it was, job done.
During the aquathlon swim I doubted the wisdom of doing the British standard triathlon championships the following day: Nah, that was already yesterday and I lined up with 25 other starters in the age group (not sure how many turned up or actually finished but found 18 names whilst watching the elites on the telly in the afternoon). Bumped into Andy Webster in the transition prior to the start and I saw him again at the finish we agreed it was a tough course and it was windy to boot. For the swim start I let the pack surge away to get quiet water and was able to get into a nice rhythm although the water was choppy in parts. Well in front of the back markers too as triathlon has more weaker swimmers. Another long haul in the wetsuit up to transition and on to the bike. A long jog with the bike to a merciless uphill standing bike start. Felt quite solid and was pacing this race to enjoy the hometown race (the Brownlees are not the only ones from Leeds!) Got up the hill comfortably and completed two hilly windy laps in solid form. I was actually 5th fastest on the bike today which was a real pleasant surprise, so have recovered well from the previous weeks hard races. The run legs were almost there again today and was also 5th fastest for the run. Eventually finished in 7th position which was quite satisfactory after yesterday’s exertions. I rest my case.