4.45 on a very cold quiet and overcast morning, deep in the Welsh hills, the 3 Sittingbourne Striders; Joseph Lovelock (Captain) David Valenti and Jacob Beaney gathered with trepidation and cautious excitement at the challenge that faced them. They were about to take on the mighty Dragon of Ironman Cymru. An arduous course of a 2.4 mile swim in the Irish Sea, a 112 mile Cycle over the Pembrokeshire hills and a Marathon run to finish the day. The Tenby Trio eagerly set off to the start line with 2000 other competitors. As a ray of sun broke through the clouds the rolling start of the swim began and they were off. Little did they know that was the last time they would see the sunshine. 2 laps of a 1.2 mile swim in the sea saw a good start for the 3 Striders with their first lap all being completed in just over 35 minutes. The winds picked up and the sea got rough but could only slow the three down marginally, all three of them leaving the water within a minute of each other at the 1 hour 15 mark. What followed was a 1 km run into the transition areas to get ready for the next leg of the journey.
112 miles through 8000ft of ascent on the hills was always going to be tough but the weather made it punishing. The athletes were battered with 45 mph winds gusting higher with horizontal rain coming in from all angles. The ascents were steep and lengthy and the descents were littered with slow signs due to the rain. Valenti made good progress storming up the hills and maintaining a high average speed, pulling away from the other two. The weather was relentless even wreaking havoc with the Ironman Trackers, reportedly the worst conditions that Ironman Tenby had seen. Lovelock was with Beaney from the word go until another competitor caused a crash that took out his gears. With 35 miles to go and only 1 gear to choose from the rest of the ride just got harder for Joseph Lovelock. The Captain had to dig deep in his fight against the Ironman, but his will would not be broken.
The medieval town walls and picturesque beachfront provided an impressive back drop for the final push of the day, the Marathon. With nearly 3000ft of ascent the run was a spectacle by its own right. 4 laps of the town, running through the cobbled streets to the applause of people cheering the competitors on from every road side, street corner and pub doorway. The fans were wild with excitement creating an incredible atmosphere that spurred on the entire Ironman community. Even when darkness fell the noise and the cheer and the Ironman party continued, willing the participants to the finish. The marathon proved to be Valentis best event, completing a 4 hour 12 run; with Beaney and Lovelock coming in at 4.50 and 4.52 respectively. Ironman Cymru is considered one of the toughest Ironman race sin the series made harder by the fierce weather. The challenge that the 3 Striders faced was demanding emotionally, mentally and physically and will be one to remember for years to come. Walls were run through and barriers brushed aside, the three let nothing stand in their way on the road to glory. They even had the energy to smile for the finisher’s photo.
Ironman 70.3 World Championships : 9th & 10th September 2017
The World Championship is the culmination of over 100 qualifying events involving 185,000 Athletes. Sittingbourne Striders Lynne and Neil Hacon qualified for entry into the event at Weymouth in 2016 and had been training for it for several months.
More than 4500 people from over 90 countries participated in the event that included a 1.2 mile swim in the Tennessee River, a 56 bike ride (including climbing local landmark Lookout Mountain) and a 13.1 mile run through the streets of Chattanooga.
Lynne finished in a time of 6 hours and 24 minutes placing her 98th out of 144 in her age group.
Neil finished in a time of 5 hours 23 minutes, placing him 219th out of 340 in his age group.
James Brincat, Nick Bayntun, David Forman, Geoff Tyler, Neil Hacon, Lynne Hacon and Luis Diaz from Sittingbourne Striders Triathlon travelled to Holland to compete in Ironman Maastricht. The single day endurance event consists of a 3.8km swim, 180km bike race and then finishes with running a marathon. At 07:15 the cannons sounded and the 1600 competitors dived into the River Meuse to begin the race. Neil Hacon was the first Strider out of the water in a time of 1hr 7mins, followed by James Brincat 2 minutes later. All 7 Striders completed the swim comfortably within the 2hr 20min cut off.
Safely out of the water the triathletes swapped their goggles for bike helmets and started the 180km bike leg. The challenging bike course took the athletes out of Maastricht to the scenic surrounding Limburg landscape and through the iconic hills and mountains of Bemelerberg, Geulhemmerberg, and Hallembaye.
Despite James Brincat crashing on the bike course, by 4pm all 7 Striders had successfully made it to the third and final discipline, the marathon! The athletes were cheered through the historic city streets by friends, family and the superb support of the locals. Neil Hacon was first Strider home in 10hrs 35mins, followed by James Brincat 11hrs 14mins, David Forman 12hrs 31mins, Geoff Tyler 12hrs 46mins, Lynne Hacon 12hrs 53mins (4th in age group), Nick Bayntun 13hrs 05mins and Luis Diaz 13hrs 21mins. Full Results
Bewl Water Sprint & Standard Tri : Sunday 6th August 2017
5 Striders lined up at the start for the very picturesque Bewl Water Triathlon. A swim in the reservoir is followed by a challenging bike course which loops round the reservoir and is finished with a run along the causeway with great views of Bewl Water.
Glenn Davies (1:18:40) was first Strider home in the Sprint winning his age category and finishing 26th overall, Andy Baptie (1:19:59 – 31st overall), Paul Holt (1:35:04 -102 overall), Rachel Ward (1:35:46.35) was 21st lady and 4th in her age category,
James Reeves (2:47:12) was the only Strider to tackle the Standard distance and finished 76th
Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 2017: 30th July 2017
4 Striders took part in the RideLondon-Surrey 100 bike ride this weekend, which is entirely on roads closed to normal traffic. The ride, which is a legacy of the London 2012 Olympics, is part of a weekend full of cycling events in the capital. 24000 riders were expected to take part in the ride which started from the Olympic Park, took in the challenges of Leith Hill and Box Hill in Surrey and culminated in a spectacular finish on The Mall. Professional cyclists race exactly the same course later on the same day in order to compete for the London Classic. Chris Williams was the first Strider home in 4 hrs 55 mins 34 secs
Chris Williams – 4:55:34
Noel Lander – 5:16:28
Ian Gower – 6:11:52
Lee Simpson – 7:24:36
Lorraine Neale – 7:34:34
AJ Bell London Triathlon – Live to Tri :Saturday 22nd July & Sunday 23rd July Olympic Distance – 1.5km Swim / 40k Bike / 10km Run
3 Striders competed at the London Triathlon flagged as the ‘Worlds Largest Triathlon’ which has races continuously over the course of the weekend. A timely storm hit whilst they were tackling the swim but this did not deter their efforts giving the following results:
Luis Diaz (Leamouth route) crossed the line in 2:32:15 placing him 134th out of 1371 entrants
Martin Feaver (Leamouth route) finished in 2:55:39 placing him 1662 out of 2361 entrants
Paul Holt (Westminster route) finished in 3:00:16 placing him 765 overall out of 1371 entrants
Leeds Castle Standard Triathlon 2017 : 25th June 2017
As well as enjoying magnificent castle views and beautiful grounds, Striders taking part in the triathlons this year also benefitted from rousing support from their fellow club members who had been given the opportunity to marshall at the event this year. And what a weekend it was with the Tri club from having a first go at triathlons to Ironman in training the club was represented well across both days with some great results. Sunday Standard results out of 278 entrants this was an optional non wetsuit swim as the water temperature had dropped.
David Valenti time: 2:26:54 place 18
Neil Hacon time: 2:27:18 place 20
James Brincat time: 2:29:51 place 26 James’s saddle came off as he went to start the bike leg!
Bradley Clayton time: 2:42:17 place 63
Dave Foreman time: 2:42:59 place 67
Lynne Hacon time: 2:49:23 place 95
Luiz Diaz time: 2:50:52 place 107
Martin Clark time: 2:51:06 place 109
Rhys Goddard time: 2:53:53 place 127
Jacob Beany time: 2:56:17 place 151 Joseph stuck with his brother Jacob, they are doing Ironman Wales together in September
Joseph Lovelock time: 2:56:18 place 152
As well as enjoying magnificent castle views and beautiful grounds, Striders taking part in the triathlons this year also benefitted from rousing support from their fellow club members who had been given the opportunity to marshall at the event this year. And what a weekend it was with the Tri club from having a first go at triathlons to Ironman in training the club was represented well across both days with some great results:
Saturday Sprint results out of 553 entrants this was a non wetsuit swim as the water was 26 degrees:
Glenn Davies time: 1:27:37 place 24
Andy Baptie time: 1:34:40 place 67
Klaire Lander time: 1:45:09 place 191
Rachel Ward time 1:45:15 place 196
Paul Holt time: 1:47:01 place 221
Jennifer Coleman time: 1:50:10 place 269
Lorraine Neale time: 1:55:06 place 346 1st Triathlon
Katie Lovelock time 2:17:15 place 518 1st Triathlon and had a mechanical on bike section
4 Striders took part in the 3rd year of the Oysterman sprint distance triathlon known for being picturesque and friendly. Hot and sunny were welcome conditions for the 500m open water sea swim, followed by the 20k bike and 5k run on the technical yet flat course. Matt Nunn was 1st Strider home crossing the line in a time of 1:09:54 which placed him 9th overall out of 189 entrants and first in his age category! 2nd Strider home was Andy Baptie in a time of 1:20:41 placing him 40th overall. Martin Feaver took the 3rd spot in 1.32.50 placing him 100th overall. Danielle Smith represented the female Striders crossing the line in 1:43:23 placing her 152nd overall.
Wiggle French Revolution Sportive : 11th June 2017
14 Striders got up before dawn to take the ferry over to France to take part in the Wiggle French Revolution Sportive. Off the ferry they rode along the coast to Sangatte before turning inland to tackle the longer epic route, a hilly 75 miles. The beautiful French hills kept coming on a hot, windy June day but they stuck together, no one gets left behind being our club motto, completing the course in time to get the 6.30 ferry home.