I first took part in this race in its launch year in 2013. Superbly organised by Perth Tri Club, the basis of the event is to introduce people into Triathlon in a fun way and also, I believe, was the trial of the team format which was to be used in 2014 for the first time at the Commonwealth Games. The event is held at Kilgraston School, just outside Perth.
The distances are 200m swim, 5.8km cycle and 1.2km run and its teams of 4 with each person doing all 3 disciplines before handing over to the next person. The distances are short enough to be achievable by the beginner and also challenging for the more experienced athlete as it can be difficult to pace such short distances. There’s also a great mix of people taking part, from experienced triathletes to groups of friends out for a bit of fun. Our team was all about having some fun. It was Ella and John from my Run Faster Club, Allison and me, holding up the rear/taking the glory leg (delete as appropriate).
Ella went first as she was the best swimmer or the one who had probably done the most swimming – same thing in my eyes. She would hand over to John, a great duathlete, then Allison then me. Ella and Allison are pretty good swimmers, John and I aren’t but at least John came make a decent attempt at the crawl. It was difficult to cheer on Ella during the swim as everyone looks the same in black try suit and the orange cap we were all given and so the first proper chance to cheer on anyone is when they come out into transition.
There’s always such a buzz with people coming in and going out from transition and so there’s always something going on. You know when someone’s away out on the run as the next person in their team nervously heads towards the tagging area – after a quick dash to the toilet first! It barely seemed that long before Ella came back in and John went out. You don’t really see your teammates during each discipline so you don’t know if they’re bang on form or having a nightmare so all you can do is keep cheering and hope that it makes a difference. It wasn’t long before John came back then Allison started so I had to get organised. I was quite enjoying cheering on everyone else!
I lined up in the tagging area, found some clear space so Allison could find me and changeover the timing strap easily. I felt bad because everyone else had looked very graceful in the pool and here was me resembling a pensioner out for a leisurely swim. It occurred to me that the last time I had done any ‘proper’ swimming was at the beginning of 2015 in the New Year’s Day Tri. Nothing like preparing well! It can be easy to get all excited and go off like a bat out of hell but when you’re swimming is as bad as mine, that’s not a very good strategy and you tire very quickly! I’d made that mistake before so I knew to pace myself then make up for it in the cycle and run. By the time I was in the pool, there was sufficient space between me and the guy in front and the guy behind me so I wasn’t going to overtake or be overtaken. Allison said in her post on this event that I do a fine doggy paddle but I think she was exaggerating! I got out of the pool and straight into transition.
Having done this a few times, I’ve started to become better on transition and so I felt like I got out quicker than I’ve done before. We didn’t get the split times for this at the end of the race so I don’t know if that’s accurate. The cycle was very good, felt comfortable and caught up with a couple of people ahead of me. I suspected that the guys ahead were new to the event and didn’t know the route that well so I was able to use that to my advantage. The guy who was behind me in the pool was now ahead of me in the cycle but I was able to pass him and push on so that felt great. Unfortunately, he passed me as we were coming back into the school grounds. Transition felt very quick again.
I was straight out on the run and felt pretty good. In the past, I’ve usually struggled in the run from going too hard in the other events and feeling it halfway through but this time was fine. The guy who passed me on the bike was just ahead of me and I thought that he was just that bit too far ahead for me to catch. We were effectively doing a lap of the hockey pitch and as we came round the other side of the pitch, I found myself closing the gap and it wasn’t long before I was right beside him. As we came back round through the trees, I speeded up but he wasn’t for letting me past and so I waited until we got to the top of the hilly bit before the finish then speeded up again. Sadly for me, the guy speeded up also and just did enough to beat me to the line before collapsing on the ground from the effort. I knew he was fine, we shook hands and congratulated each other on a great effort and I was secretly pleased that it had taken an almighty effort to beat me.
I joined the others and enjoyed the bottle of water and the chewy bar in the goody bag before the spread opened and proceeded to tuck into the array of fine home baking that was on offer. It was pointed out that I had a small gash on my leg. I’ve no idea where that came from but Ella said that she had one too and in her post on the event, she reckoned it was a bite from The Kilgraston Shark. What else could it have been?