What a Weekend!


Microgaming Triathlon Festival Weekend

What a great weekend of racing in what can best be described as tricky conditions.  Having rained all day Friday and overnight into Saturday, it was a relief to see a break in the clouds on Saturday morning just as racing started. 


It was 'Individuals' day on Saturday with a huge field in both the Mens & Ladies races, 67 & 28 respectively and a further 12 competitors taking parting in the Short Swim category.  It was great to see a whole set of new faces with many competitors taking part in Triathlon for the 1st time.


The Ladies were off in the first Wave and Hannah Howitt led out of the Pool, closely followed by Becky Storrie, both taking less than 11 mins for their Swim and Transition 1.  Lynsey Elliott and Jo Hawkins were next and all were quickly out onto the Bike course.  Becky, who would normally rely on her strength on the run, showed that she's a force to be reckoned with on the bike leg too.  She managed to overtake Hannah and by the time she returned to T2 had established a 1min 30s lead setting out onto the run.  There was no taking her foot off the gas though, stretching her lead to almost 2 mins to cross the line in 1st in an amazing 1:06:00.  Hannah held onto 2nd by a further minute over Lynsey, but such was the quality of their racing that all 3 ladies smashed the previous  course record of 1:13:00.  It was great to see Jo Hawkins back to fitness and she had a good race with Wendy Sandford, finishing 4th & 5th respectively.  Jan Catchpole and Lynn Ilnot raced it out with only 3 secs separating them on the line, coming 6th & 7th respectively and 1st time triathlete's Caroline Moran and Bev Broderick finished very strongly in 8th & 9th.

  Podium Girls










The Mens event started over 3 Waves because of the large numbers, which makes it  great for spectators with the Pool section being action packed.  It was no surprise however to see Joe Ricciardi first out of the Pool & out onto the bike, in a super fast  time of 10:17, giving himself a gap of 29 secs to the reigning title holder Andrew Nash, next out.  Graham Stigant and Paul Swindale followed, then it got really busy - Grant Elbourne, Will Ward, Jonathan King, Russ Collister, and Antony Bell-Scott, were out in quick succession.  Unfortunately things unravelled from here - a competitor from the earlier Wave had come off his bike 5k into the course, and the traffic was stopped at that point whilst he was attended to.  So it was the Formula 1 safety car scenario, the gaps that the 4th Wave competitors had established in the swim had now been negated and the group was altogether again, but that's racing and fortunately it is was great to confirm later that the casualty, who was the priority, was OK having suffered only minor injuries.  As it a non-drafting race the competitors were re-started at 10s intervals in the order that they had arrived, and a time bonus was awarded at the end for the time that they had been held up. 


So now it was all down to the run.  Andy & Joseph finished within 8 secs of each other across the line and with such a close finish because of the 'hold' it was determined that the equitable result was to award them Joint 1st.  Antony Bell-Scott was a very close 3rd and Juan Kinley a further 56 secs behind in 4th.  The top 4 are all on the Island Games team so will be pleased with their races as a good season opener.  Russ Collister had made up a number of places on the bike but more-so with a strong run and had a good race with Paul Swindale finishing 5th & 6th respectively.  There were also some really good performances from 1st time triathletes Kieran Thomas,  Rob Brockbanks & others from Chris Reynolds more often found out running round the Fells & Matt Meechan usually propping up Ramsey Rugby Club's forwards.


The Short Swim (400m) category gave another group of 1st time competitors the chance to experience triathlon, all of whom enjoyed completing the course.  Here Roger Davies was the winner of the Mens and Kelly Shimmin the winner in the Ladies event.




Sunday was Team Day.  Whilst Saturday had been a little damp to start, the wind was light to moderate and not too difficult to contend with.  Sunday was a different kettle of fish!  The strong Southerly increased throughout the morning and although the rain held off, it presented the Teams with a big headwind to contend with on both the return section of the bike and the run legs. 


Again, it was fantastic to see 62 Teams take on the Challenge. and the 186 competitors that this involves, creates a great atmosphere (despite the weather).  They cover the same course as the Individuals in 3 Categories, Mens, Ladies & Mixed Teams.  The Club was also delighted to have a team from the Manx Special Olympics take part - Emily Keighwin, Chris Hattersley and Lawrence Dwyer - they did themselves proud finishing 9th overall in the Mixed Category from 23 teams in a great time of 1:17:28.


The Men's race was very competitive and closely contested at the top of the field.   The performances were top class in each of the disciplines and only a few seconds separated them all at the finish.  In the end it was the Ramsey Grammar School Young Guns that out-gunned the rest, Conall Jaques, Joe Haddock & John Corner  finishing 1st in an overall time of 1:00:09.  2nd Place went to Two & 1/2 Men, Graham Annett, Paul Kneen and Ian Brookfield in 1:00:28, and 3rd to MGS, Grant Elborne, Roger Raatgever and Tim Knott in 1:00:45. 


There were also some great performances in the Ladies & the Mixed Teams, many of whom had never taken part in a Triathlon before.  The Ladies category was won by 30 Somethings Tri Hard (all good individual triathletes), Cat Watt, Jen Kelly & Janine Cubbon in 1:14:47.  2nd Place was Team Swim Tech Selkies, Imogen Skillicorn, Jill Bunyan & Sally Carpenter & 3rd were The C U Laters, Kirsty Cooper, Kim Carney & Zoe Crowe. 


A big tussle for the podium in the Mixed Category saw another set of Young Guns, Hannah Howitt, Joseph Ricciardi and Sam Black take 1st Place (Hannah & Joe both having raced on Saturday as well) in an amazing 58:48.  2nd went to G Force - Becky Storrie, Gianni Epifani & Karen Shimmin finishing in 1:01:37 and in 3rd Place was another RGS team, RGS Sixth Form - Katie Callow, Matthew Clague and Ellen Quane.

Full results can be found on the Manx Timing Solutions website - linked here


A number of Teams and Individuals had decided to use their efforts in the Triathlon, with support from local company Equiom, to raise money for 2 local charities - Hospice IoM and Manx Breast Cancer Support.  At the last count they had raised a staggering £14,000. 


Whilst a lot of the work for a triathlon can take place beforehand, it takes a massive effort to get it set up & ready to go on the day and so a very big thanks must go to all those who turn out to make it happen.  We are also fortunate to have great commentary and music at the events from Steve Shimmin, Time Keeping from Graham & Sue Hughes and help & support from the Swimming Pool team, Ramsey Town Commissioners and the Police - all very much appreciated.

Lost Property - There were a couple of jackets left at Ramsey Swimming Pool and I have one blue & red woolly hat.