Talented Athletes Liz Dunlop and Jan Fletcher travelled to Boxend, Milton Keynes last weekend to take part in not 1 but 2 triathlon races back-to-back in preparation for the upcoming European championships in Valencia at the end of September.

It was a fantastic start to the weekend. On Saturday 4th September the Wight Tri teammates competed in the English National Championships sprint triathlon, both taking podium positions in their respective age groups.

The 750m swim was 1 lap of the chilly lake. It was a mass start and was rough throughout, with arms and legs flailing everywhere making breathing difficult at times in the melee. Jan exited the water in 14.47, just slightly ahead of Liz in 15.28. Both then headed out onto the 1 and a bit lap undulating 20km bike course which was on a mix of main and country roads, all open to the traffic.

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Jan completed the bike course in 37.10 and Liz in 41.28. They both then headed out onto the tough 1 map 5km run course around the back of the lake. The run was all off-road, lumpy and it was hard going underfoot, undulating, and difficult to traverse due to the surface. Jan completed the run in 22.54 and Liz in 28.47.

Both triathletes had amazing races with Jan taking first place in her age group (45-49) and taking the gold medal and accolade of English National Sprint Triathlon Champion and Liz came in second place in her age group (65-69) taking the silver medal podium position.

Not able to basque in their glory, Liz and Jan then had to concentrate on recovering and preparing for the next days race less than 24hrs away which was also the European Championships Standard distance qualifier for 2022, and also held at Boxend.

Sunday 5th September stated earlier at 07:30 with a mass swim start in the lake, only this time the 1500m swim was 2 laps of the same course. Again the mass start created chaos in the water and Jan had to stop shortly into the race to negotiate re-zipping her wetsuit whilst treading water and being swum over by others behind her as her wetsuit had been pulled open by a fellow competitor in the thrash.

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Not an ideal start. Jan exited the water in a time of 28.59 and Liz was not far behind in 30.42, well ahead of the next competitor in the respective age group.

They moved into transition and out onto the bike course which is where there were mixed outcomes for the triathletes.

Jan successfully completed the over-distance, undulating 45km bike course, again on a mix of busy main and sweeping back roads in 1.24.22, and went into T1 for the final leg.

Unfortunately, Liz had an accident at the start of the bike leg, causing her to come off her bike and resulting in fractures to her pelvis and a thumb to end her race and sadly any chance of
qualification and putting an end to her upcoming European and World championships events.

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Not knowing anything about her teammate and good friend, Jan moved onto the 10km run course which was 2 laps of the sprint course so she knew what she had ahead of her having raced the same course the previous day but dug deep, not deterred by the tough terrain or tiredness of the previous day’s race. The sun was also now out in force too, making the leg sapping course that much more challenging.

Jan completed the run in 48.02, and 2.44.14 overall to take 3rd place in her age group (45-49), just 5 seconds off 2nd place, and in doing so gained automatic qualification for the GB age group for 2022.

Fellow Islander Lauren Weston also completed the standard distance event, representing Wight tri as her second claim club and completing the race in 6th place in her age group (30-34) in a time of 2.49.05 (swim 28.50, bike 1.25.48, run 51.45). Lauren will need to wait to see if she has qualified for 2022 through the roll-down process as only the top 4 get an automatic qualification.

At the time of writing this report Liz remains in hospital waiting on an operation to her thumb and is likely to be out of triathlons for some time. She is wished a speedy recovery by her fellow clubmates at Wight Tri.

Jan has 2 more races left until the end of the season and heads to Valencia to represent Team GB age group to compete in the European championships in both sprint and standard distance triathlons, unfortunately now without Liz. Again, both races are being held back to back over the last weekend in September so Jan hopes that this weekend’s racing has helped her to prepare for a repeat performance.

Elsewhere, Wight Tri member Steve Dines competed in his 2nd triathlon this year at the Cotswolds Sprint triathlon after having been out of action for 6 weeks with an ankle injury. As he was unsure if the ankle would hold out, he was prepared to walk the run if needed!

Steve’s swim wave included all the 55-79 Vets, with the 750m swim taking place in Lake 32. He exited the lake mid-pack and ran the short distance into transition, only stopping to kiss a marshal (his wife ).

Out onto the 20km cycle route which was mostly flat but with a headwind, Steve started to regain some of the places he had lost during the swim and overtaking a lot of fellow triathletes back into T2. He started out onto the 5km Off-road Run to cross the finish line in 1.24.33 taking first place in the 65-69 Age Category.

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