The Tour de Force that is Freedom Tri once again wore their running singlets with pride for yet another cross country lung busting mud fest. This time Trent Park in Cockfosters, north London played host. This 320 hectare site dates back to the 14th Century, and once was a favoured hunting ground of Henry IV and has many Grade II listed statues & buildings to admire. After race 2 Freedom Tri are positioned 12th in the combined rankings, with the women's team still holding on to their 7th placed spot just below FVS - with the women's Masters team an incredible 5th! The men's team are placed 14th in the standings. Special mention once again goes to Rachel Carling's impressive time of 36:46 with James Parsons leading the men home in 31:29.
Freedom Cross Country team at Trent Park.
There was a fantastic turnout at the first of this season's 5 mile cross country races held at Cheshunt, with over 20 Freedom athletes blowing the cobwebs off their all-terrain knobblies. This winter league is organised by Run Herts with cumulative points scored over the coming months and is always hotly contested amongst local running and tri clubs. Results after race 1: Freedom mens/ladies combined are currently 12th out of 20 teams scoring 1452 points - the lower the better! Broken down the women's team again showing their strength led by Rachel Carling (in 37:29), currently 7th out of 20. The men's team 12th out of 20 led by James Parsons (32:12). Over at Shuttleworth College it was all about Cyclo-Cross with race 7 in the Central League organised by British Cycling with Icknield RC. Competing in the novice race managing 3 laps of a tough, grassy technical course including two jumps; Declan McCabe came 15th in 35:26 with Adrian Robinson 20th in 40:10.
Freedom XC team at Cheshunt
In it's 38th year, the Dublin Marathon is now the largest in Ireland and the fifth largest in Europe. Emma Croxon joined 20,000 other runners to complete the race in an excellent time of 5:59:37. Meanwhile over in Oxfordshire at the Abingdon Marathon, James Parsons came an impressive 74th in 2:58:33 with Suzy Hawkins concluding an epic season with 275th place in 3:22:33. Sunday also saw the 34th running of the Stevenage Half Marathon organised by FVS, with all proceeds going to charity. The course was windy and undulating following the town's tarmacked cyclepaths. First home for Freedom was Steffan lestyn Ford 11th in 1:24:16 closely followed by Ryan Nicoll 17th in 1:25:32 with James Thomas 66th in 1:35:55 and Gareth Sharp 351st in 2:12:19. Venturing down to the coast, Liz Aitken took on the 10 mile Great South Run. This fast and flat course is steeped in history and takes you on a tour of Old Portsmouth taking in HMS Victory and the Mary Rose museum. Liz was delighted to complete the race in 1:46:28.
Suzy Hawkins at the Abingdon Marathon.
Sunday saw the autumn installment of Nice Tri's Autodome Duathlon. This unique race includes the excitement of a mass start, and the thrill of racing around the smooth, fast tarmac of Bedford Autodrome motor racing track, with plenty of vantage points where friends and family can view your performance and cheer you on! Designed from scratch by former F1 driver Jonathan Palmer. Freedom newbie Katie Harbon (from NHRR) showed everyone how it was done in the standard event (10km run/39km bike/5km run) with an outstanding first place time of 2:11:09! Other Freedomites took on the speedier sprint event (5km run/20km bike/2.5km). First for the club Mickey Day came 58th in 1:02:00 followed by Lee Gilchrist 117th in 1:06:37 with GB athlete Richard Pitcairn completing the event 189th in 1:25:02.
Weekend warriors Ann Tryssesoone and Emma Croxon took on the Gt. Eastern Half in Peterborough. This fast and flat course is guaranteed a PB and formed part of Emma's training for the Dublin Marathon coming up at the end of the month. Emma was delighted with a time of 2:56:39 whilst Ann who was acting as pacer for another athlete sped ahead in 1:58:56.
Meanwhile over at the Royal Parks Foundation Half at Hyde Park the race was celebrating its 10th anniversary. There to blow up the balloons was Monica Corcoran who battled through the crowds to post an impressive time of 1:57:25.
Ann Tryssesoone & Emma Croxon at Gt. Eastern Run
Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, is famed for its art, architecture and also it’s Ironman 140.6km race. Five Freedom matadors took on what is undoubtedly the longest day in sport. A day punctuated by sweat, tears and flat Coke. We salute Simon Jackson in his first time going long in placing an incredible 143rd in 9 hours 36 minutes and 3 seconds, also Chris Clark 899th 11:02:19, club chairman Kevin Smart 1008th in 11:13:33, Rob Sedgwick who tops off a truly amazing season 1239th in 11:35:21 and Dean Heuer 1711th in 12:26:25. We raise a chilled cerveza in respect guys on a job well done.
Over in a rather soggy Letchworth the mercury wasn’t peaking quite so high at the 30th running of NHRR's Standalone 10K. Spirits were lifted though, mainly due the giddy aroma of Deep Heat and bacon rolls. In a failed attempt to confuse the race organisers there was much swapping of race numbers on the day, but thanks to Rob Evan’s telephoto lense the culprits were named and shamed. In no particular order, the weary 6.2 miler’s results were as follows: Rob Clarke 52:47, Andrew Fenton 54:07, Mark Lacy 48:59, James Parsons 37:44, Paul Fairchild 43:34, Declan McCabe 44:14, Jenny Cotter 46:57, Bettina West 49:00, Lee Gilchrist 43:38, Matt Wainwright 52:46, Richard Springall 40:26, Gareth Sharp 57:32, Sam Sharp 1:17:25, Sarah Taylor 57:19, Emma Croxon 1:17:26, Liz Aitken 1:02:39, James Thomas 43:31, Gareth Charles 40:39, Gareth Bates 43:04, Lee Hayes 41:36, Mark Bullivant 1:01:44, Adrian Robinson 47:52, Jane Britten 59:22, Ann Tryssesoone 50:37, Mikey Day 57:03, Helen Cairns 45:34, Greg Cairns 45:03, Tracey Palmieri 42:41 and Rachel Carling 44:32. There to dish out the prizes at the end was Freedom's very own Jane Britten who holds the accolade of being Standalone's first ever female winner!
To top off the incredible weekend of Freedom sport, four athletes decided to prove their hardiness at the Inspire leisure centre Luton competing in the unique Chilly Tri run by ATW. Starting off with a fast 400m pool swim to warm up, the clock was then stopped as the triathletes entered transition allowing them to don however many layers of lycra seemed appropriate, scoff a second breakfast and pose for a quick selfie before timing re-started and the 20k countryside bike course began. The wet, chilly conditions called for skillful bike handling before the 5k run kicked off to conclude the race. As usual some great results were posted, GB athlete Chris Belcher managed 4th overall in 1:09:02 (2nd in AG), Anna Weller was 22nd 1:23:59 (3rd in AG), Hannah Sypula was 49th 1:40:15 (11th in AG) and Jon Sypula 41st 1:32:19 (13th in AG). Hopefully by now they have warmed up and already filled in next year’s race entry (?)
Last weekend Ann Tryssesoone took on the L’Etape London organised by Human Race in conjunction with Le Tour de France. The 117 mile (188km) countryside looped course took riders out from Stratford to Saffron Walden via Chelmsford. Despite having to refuel with copious amounts of cake enroute, Ann was delighted to place 855th in a time of 8:06:53.
Richard Pitcairn headed over to Rotterdam for the ITU World Olympic Triathlon Championships series final. Hampered by ongoing foot problems, having to negotiate two transition areas and tackling an awkward bike course; Richard still managed to place an excellent 21st in his (70-74) Cat. in a very respectable time of 3:04:21.
Richard Springall completed the Rutland Water Vitruvian Triathlon, 1.9km Swim 85Km Bike and 21km Run in a time of 4hrs 53 mins.
Other middle distancers were at the Weymouth 70.3 Half Ironman race enduring a choppy sea swim and very cold bike segment. Mickey Day was first home for Freedom in 5:36, followed by Suzy Hawkins 5:44, Rob Sedgwick 6:06 and Rachel Kelly on her first attempt at the distance in 6:32. Rachel was racing in memory of a special friend and managed to raise over £2,500 for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity.
Over at Eton Dorney nr. Windsor, Adrian Robinson raced the Duchenne UK Olympic Triathlon in aid of Muscular Dystrophy. He was very pleased in achieving his target time of 2:57:04.
Thomas Sauka raced one of the toughest triathlons in the UK - The Helvellyn. The race incorporated a 1mile lake swim, 38 mile bike followed by a gruelling 9 mile fell run up to the top of Kirkstone Pass. Thomas completed in 4:28:09.
Freedom Tri's Christine Caine slayed the monster at the Ely Monster Middle distance triathlon. Taking on the 1.9km open water swim, 92.8km bike and 21km run, Christine did fantastically well, finishing in 7:21:31.
Racing at the Hertfordshire Triathlon Summer at Stanborough Lake in Welwyn were Ann Tryssesoone, Jonny Pennell, Suzy Hawkins, Michelle Reeves, Richard Sprignall, Hannah Sypula, Rob Evans and Jon Sypula. This "standard" distance was raced over a 1,500m swim, 40km undulating bike and 10km cross country run on grass. Tryssesoone finished 2nd in age group in 3:00:14, Pennell 3rd in age group in 2:29:50, Hawkins 3rd in age group in 2:37:07, Reeves 4th in 2:47:10, Sprignall 7th in 2:36:36, Hannah Sypula 7th in 3:50:31, Evans 12th in 2:45:05 and Jon Sypula 22nd in 3:21:44.
Taking on the Breca Gower Swimrun were Chris Clark and James Parsons. This team event, at Wales' iconic Gower peninsula includes 40km of trail running on Gower's spectacular and incredibly challenging coastal path, and 6km of ocean swims will make Breca Gower a true swimrun test and an unforgettable experience. The pair completed this epic journey in a fantastic 7:50:36.
Further afield in Penticton,Canada, Rob Sedgwick and Micky Day raced at the World Duathlon Sprint championships. Comprising a 5km run, 20km bike, 2.5km, this race featured world class athletes from far and wide. Day finished 18th in category in 01:09:56, and Sedgwick was 41st in age group in 01:20:49.
Udderly fantastic racing at the Cowman
Milton Keynes was the setting for the ‘Cowman’ middle distance triathlon organised by Big Cow Events. The race consisted of a 1.9km swim / 92km bike and 20km run. Simon Jackson was very pleased with sixth place overall in 4:29:59 followed by Matthew Sayers in 5:00:17; Kevin Smart in 5:29:07; Mark Allen in 5:37:10 and Ian Robinson in 5:56:15. Over in the women’s race Emma Kinsey placed an excellent ninth in 5:45:47. Also competing at the same venue in the ‘Calfman’ triathlon comprising a 950m swim / 46km bike and 10km run was Lucy Patterson who came 75th in 3:12:28.
New to triathlon this year, Jon and Hannah Sypula completed their first triathlon at Active Training World Dorney Triathlon. Racing over the sprint distance of a 750m open water swim, 20k bike and 5k run, Jon finished in 1:26:05, 16th in category, and Hannah in 1:35:56, good for 5th in category.
Louisa Suff and Terry Sawyer raced at the 113 Cotswold Middle Distance Triathlon. Swimming 1.2 miles (1.9 km), cycling 56 miles (90 km) then running 13.1 miles (21 km) Louisa Suff finished 67th in category in 5:37:45, Terry Sawyer 165th in category, 5:33:00.
Liz Aitken and Sara O'Callaghan went long in the water, and took part in the SwimRutland 4km swim at Rutland Water. Both performed superbly in their wetsuits, Liz Aitken finishing in 1:46:28, and Sara O'Callaghan 1:57:23.
Further afield in sunny Australia's Bondi Beach, Matt and Jenny Cotter raced the 14km Sydney City to Surf race. Matt finished in 1:17, while Jenny completed the race in a fantastic 1:08:51.