Last Sunday I had the honour of starting the Newbiggin Sprint Triathlon. It was a serious event with the final chance to record a qualifying time for next year's European Championships at stake.
The first wave of 3 got underway just after lunch. The conditions were very difficult with the swimmers being battered by the waves. The RNLI were on hand to help a few people out who got into difficulty. I was very impressed with the safety aspect of the swimming. Each and every participant deserved a medal in my opinion for braving those unforgiving waves. I talked to a lot of the athletes after the race and most of them said that they had difficulty in seeing the first marker buoy in the sea such were the height of the waves.
Shortly after I sounded the horn for the second wave to get underway I made my way to the main street in Newbiggin to see the cyclists. I thought the swim was dangerous but it had nothing on this section of the race.
Some of the folk in Newbiggin decided to start crossing the road without giving much thought to the speeding cyclists passing by. I witnessed 3 near misses and possibly the most skilful piece of cycling I've ever seen. The competitor in question swerved to avoid, what seemed at the time like being, a fatal collision between cyclist and pedestrian.
It all made for a gripping spectacle! Thankfully things calmed down on the running section and I watched each and every competitor finish, including the very last lady who I saved special applause for. I was thrilled to talk briefly to the spectators and hand out trophies in a number of categories. Pictured below are Joyce Mark (2nd overall woman) and Jane Mooney (1st overall woman).
Pictured below are James Wilson (2nd overall man) and Ben Newman (1st overall man).
All in all, it had been a cracking day's racing from a determined set of athletes. I've never before seen triathlon this close up and it really opened my eyes to how difficult, and often dangerous, a sport it can be. It was brilliant to watch and I have every respect for those taking part.
I was asked many times during the day if I'd ever fancy giving a triathlon a go. My answer was that I'd leave this kind of madness to the experts. I'll stick with my running thank you.