May is traditionally the start of the race season, especially for those who prefer the smell of neoprene over that of chlorine! This year the early season races took on a more significant role as it contained a number of Qualifiers and National Championships races.
The first of these took place at Southport. For those of us who have been around a while Southport, has a special place in our hearts as it was one of the first triathlon to be televised way back in 1989, where legendary Mark Allen took the win. Thanks to Youtube we can look back at this race and appreciate how the sport has changed. It’s worth a watch especially the first 2 minutes where Bob Wilson struggles to explain the format of the race. See how many times he mentions the word marathon out of context in those early minutes!
Roll forward nearly 30 years and the 2018 event was both the English Standard Distance Championships and also a qualifying race for the ITU world final being held at the Gold Coast later in the year. Peak XV was represented by two athletes who both had successful days out in the sun.
Mike Birtwhistle had a sensational race, despite the main focus for this year being Ironman UK, Mike achieved his secondary aim of both qualifying for the Gold Coast and finishing on the second step of the podium.
Also having a great race was Martin Garnett. Martin is also focusing on Ironman UK in July so was using this race as a quality brick session. Despite not tapering and not focusing on the shorter distance he managed to smash over 5 minutes of his previous PB coming home 11th in his age group.
Also looking to book a place at the Gold Coast in October was Tori Peter. Tori travelled across the country to compete in the St Neots Triathlon. Confidence was high after a first place AG finish a couple of weeks earlier at the Skipton triathlon. Tori has only been training with Peak XV since just before Christmas and has made remarkable progress especially in her swimming. A series of 1-1 sessions with our Head Coach had turned Tori from a complete non swimmer into being able to finish the tough 1500m swim in 30 minutes. Despite having sustained some serious bruising following a bike crash earlier in the month Tori managed to complete the race finishing in a fantastic 2.32 and claim her spot on the British Age group team.
Other notable performances during the month of May Included Debbie Heap. Debbie’s main focus this season is on putting together a strong performance at Ironman UK later this year. However that didn’t stop Debbie from winning her age group at the Port Quarry 70.3 in Australia. A fantastic achievement and earning a qualifying spot for the World 70.3 Championships
Setting a Personal Best is always hugely satisfying for both coach and athlete so imagine how Mark Dickinson felt after knocking 15 minutes of his PB at Slateman triathlon. A race which also saw strong performances from Rich Hyder.
June is now upon us and the races are coming thick and fast. Peak XV athletes are competing across the country looking to set Personal Bests and podium finishes. Good luck to them all.