The Proclaimers may have been willing to walk 100 miles, but they would have been equally impressed with members of the Sittingbourne Striders Running and Triathlon club, several of whom undertook the 300 mile drive to Keswick in the Lake District in order to Swim, Bike, Run their way around the beautiful but rolling national park that played host to the Lakesman Triathlon on Sunday 17th June.
The Lakesman triathlon, now in its third year, is developing a reputation as a friendly but tough event, offering the “full” 140.6 mile distance or, new for 2018, a “half” 70.3 mile option.
Of the nine intrepid Striders, 5 opted for the full distance, and it was Ross Pilcher that emerged from Derwent Water as first Strider following the 2.4 mile swim. Pilcher setting a time of 1:15:25, was closely followed by Joseph Lovelock (1:16:14), Bradley Clayton (1:18:25), Paul Bowditch (1:24:46) and Gary Deacon (1:36:48).
Lovelock quickly took the lead as he set off on the bike course, which took in 112 miles of some of the most beautiful scenery that the lake district has to offer, but there was little time for sight seeing as a tough headwind and undulating terrain meant that riders fought hard for every mile. Pilcher and Bowditch slipped down the rankings as they struggled on the bike, whilst Clayton and Deacon, set off after Lovelock clawing back precious minutes before finally arriving back in Keswick to run the 26.2 mile marathon course.
Claytons feet hit the tarmac first having pulled 17 minutes back on Lovelock during the ride giving him a lead that would ultimately prove too much for Lovelock to close, but Deacon, now on his strongest discipline, took up the challenge of catching his club mates with renewed gusto. Setting a sub 4 hour marathon time on his way to passing both Lovelock and Clayton before crossing the finish line as first Strider home in a total time of 11:51:28. Clayton and Lovelock finished close behind with total times of 12:13:48 and 12:28:37 respectively.
Further down the field Bowditch and Pilcher were both glad to be off of their bikes, and were now on the run. The 5 lap run course allowed runners to share encouragement as they passed one another, and Bowditch a full lap ahead of Pilcher was full of support as the two of them longed for the finish line which they each crossed in times of 12:46:11 and 14:03:46.
As the “full” competitors crossed the line, they were cheered on by those that had already finished having already undertaken the 70.3 “half” event which ran concurrently with the full and utilised parts of the same course.
Glenn Davies, Lorraine Neale, Dannielle Smith and Lisa Hammond had all chosen this option, with the three ladies each having their first foray into long distance triathlon events.
Glenn Davies a seasoned triathlete left the water comfortably in the top 25% of the field, but suffered at the hands of the relentless 56 mile cycle course, before climbing his was back to a solid mid field position during the 13.1 mile run. Davies crossed the line in a respectable 5:56:11 which was good enough for 7th in his age group. Of the ladies it was Neale who’s early season training paid off, as she took the crown as first female Strider to cross the line in a fantastic 7:09:46, followed by Smith (7:26:34) and Hammond (7:43:47). Hammond, competing in her first ever triathlon went on to say “I’m hooked, which is a good thing as I’ve already signed up for another event next week”!