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Bognor Triathlon (August 6th) – By Shaun Dowling



CWTC had athletes in the top 10 in both the sprint and standard races.

Results are here: http://racetimingsolutions.racetecresults.com/results.aspx?CId=16269&RId=759


I entered this as a late season event and I am glad I did. I had reservations about an 800m snake swim but knew the bike and run routes were flat. I also wanted to support and try out a local, low-key event.

Registration was smooth on the Saturday. Racking opened in plenty of time on Sunday morning (6am) and allowed those of us there early to rack ahead of time. Unfortunately the racking was on tennis courts which were covered in tiny stones. The run from the pool to the courts also had quite a bit of gravel (which I think the organisers were trying to get swept clear) so I asked if I could dump my trainers at the swim exit. This was allowed and a couple of other competitors did the same. So whilst I understand the sense in locating transition on those courts to save the expense of erecting fencing on the field, a professional clearing of the courts' surface would be even better next year.

The briefing was fine, although a reminder about the left turn off of the main road would have been helpful as there was not a marshall at that point. The briefing also mentioned a drinks station at the standard distance turn point on the run. Unfortunately there wasn't one, so if anyone had planned for that they would have had to wait until they returned past the sprint course turn point. Not a major point in a low-key, local race and something easy to rectify for next year.

My reservations about the snake swim were misplaced. It did seem odd to put the sprint athletes out ahead of the standard ones, but nonetheless the snake system worked extremely well with an Aussie entry before the second set of 16 lengths.

The bike route is flat and fast, albeit with quite a few right turns and well over a dozen roundabouts. The roads were still relatively quiet so it was big ring and tri bars for virtually the whole route. The new roads built in recent years to serve new housing estates are in excellent condition and do have a slight verge which could be cycled on (debris permitting).

Onto the run and another mostly flat and fast course. Navigating through the housing estate on the way out and back form the main road was fine, albeit the young female athlete ahead of me missed one of the turns. You definitley had to be alert - I did think the pre-race information said that the run course was fully marshalled, but I only saw volunteers at the short course water station. Either way, it is the athletes' responsinbility to follow the signs and the paths and roads through the estate were quiet and easy to run on.

On finishing we were given a medal and a T-shirt. Often it is either or, so to get both in a local event was a real positive. Decent T-shirts too! Oranges and bananas were freely available with water or juice and there was a laptop to get results. Most of the sprint racers had long left, so there were only about 20 people around the finish, including those who had beaten me to the finish line.

I'm really grateful to Tribal Sports for organising the event and for doing so in such a relaxed and friendly manner. A huge positive for me was the number of first-time triathletes doing the sprint. They had clearly been successful in attracting local people wanting to give triathlon a go and it was great to see so many novices participating. At the same time, there were some excellent performances in the standard race too so I am sure that the event will attract a bigger field in future too. Yes, there are a few logistical things which could be even better, but I had a stress-free, enjoyable race and will definitely consider doing it again.