Brae Novice - 28/05/17

On the back of a busy few weeks for the team, the Shetland Triathlon Club hosted their annual Brae Novice Triathlon on Sunday. The event is held every year to offer any keen individuals a chance to have a go at their first short distance event. Along with a few seasoned club members , and a couple of the Island Games team using the event to gain a bit more race-prep, it was great to see several entrants who were completely new to the sport.

After a quick race briefing to hopefully put any pre-race nerves to rest the 16 competitors were set of in 2 heats based on their estimated swim times. The 400m distance was the first test of their endurance and everyone cruised their way through it without any bother. Keen swimmer Megan Perry set the fastest swim split on the day, the youngster jumping out the water in just over 5 minutes. Jane Evans was also swimming well and Anne Williamson was showing that she can get through the water as well as the rest of her triathlete siblings. Experienced club members Elizabeth Gifford and Stephanie Bain, along with Leanne Johnson, Hannah Burgess, Susan Morrison and Ruth Christie completed the women's field and had all exited the pool in under 10 minutes.

In the men's field an experienced Laurence Little set a strong pace, but hot on his heels with impressive swim times were newbies Ivor Johnson and Chris Towers who were pulling off their goggles in under 7 minutes. Maurice Inkster back from the Barcelona Ironman 70.3 event last weekend was enjoying the shorter event along with club members Richard Williamson and Tim Ash. A super-keen Raymond Saxelby completed the men's line-up and once out the pool was looking forward to the next leg. 

After running outside to transition, and discovering first hand how hard it can be to pull on clothes whilst soaking wet, everyone was out on 2 wheels. 

The 10km out and back bike route was a game of 2 halves. The first 5km to the turn was an enjoyable experience with a whipping 19mph tailwind, however once they reached the turn it was a tough pick pack to the Leisure Centre. The pack was being shuffled as the competitors found their rhythm and everyone pressed on against the elements. First-time athletes Morrison and Towers were making the experienced athletes sweat by putting in strong performances, however as with every Novice race there were one or 2 mechanical issues to deal with. A slipped chain from Anne Williamson caused a slight delay and 2 very messy hands, however she was still the first female to arrive back at transition after a strong ride. Gear problems forced Burgess to abandon the bike leg, however after a lift back to transition she set off on the run, keen to complete the event regardless. A special mention has to go to Gifford, who after completing a 10mile time trial earlier in the morning still managed to record the fastest bike split among the women, showing her winter/spring training with the club has certainly been paying off.

The final leg consisted of a short 2.5km run out past the Moorfield Hotel and back to the finish line at the Leisure Centre. It doesn't sound very long on paper, but after completing a swim and cycle the legs have often turned to jelly, making it feel a lot longer. 

A rapid Perry made up ground on the run and passed Williamson before the finish line to take the win with a total time of 52:20, Bain rounded off the top 3, and an impressive final leg from Leanne Johnson saw her jump from 7th to 4th.  Christie and Morrison crossed the finish line in under an hour, and Burgess, Gifford and Evans finished off a good day out for the ladies. 

Experience shone though in the mens results with Williamson, Inkster and Little all home within a minute and a half of each other, however Ivor Johnson who posted the fastest run split on the day was chasing them down with every step and finished in 4th with a 43:25. Towers, Ash and Saxelby completed the standings.

Club Chairman Andy Aitken commented 'It has been another great year for the Novice Tri with another good showing. Everyone has done incredibly well today, especially the new faces. They have all shown bags of potential and we hope they have been inspired to take part in the other events we will be hosting throughout the summer.'

Sprint Tri County - 30/06/17

Under Sundays balmy conditions 16 competitors took part in Shetland Triathlon Club’s annual Sprint Triathlon. Consisting of a 750m swim in the Clickimin Pool the course then took the athletes on a very hilly 20k bike leg up Ladies Drive and out to the turn at the start of the Tingwall Straights before returning to town for a 5k run which included 2 loops of the Clickimin Loch.

With the race split into 2 heats the women were first to take on the challenge. As expected Lynsey Henderson opened up a commanding early lead in the water, instantly putting the rest of the field under pressure. Exiting in 10.42 she was almost 2 minutes ahead of Alison Leitch from Orkney, and a further minute up on Shelley Humphray and Shetland newcomer Emma Stevenson, who paced each other though the swim posting 13.57 and 14.05 respectively. Stephanie Bain put in a great effort in the pool and Lizzie Gifford was out the water in under 20 minutes, over 2 minutes faster than last year.

For Henderson it was a case of getting her head down and keeping the pressure on at the head of the race. Humphray was slowly eating into the advantage of the leading two and distancing Stevenson into 4th, the hilly course playing to her strengths. Bain pressed on over the hills and held off any challenge from Gifford who was covering the course at a very similar pace.

Henderson held her lead onto the run and was determined to retain the title for another year, and a strong and steady 5k saw her take top spot in a total time of 1:17.40. Humphray chased down and passed Leitch on the 2nd lap of the run to bag silver on the day but the gap to the first position was too much to close down. She finished in 1:20.30, with Leitch crossing the line in 1:22.07. Stevenson put in a great run to take 4th in her first, of hopefully many, triathlons on the Island. Bain completed the event in under 2 hours and Gifford put on a sprint finish to stop the clock at 2:11.56.

Also off in the women’s heat was Lois Ross who was doing the swim leg as part of a team with family members. The super-speedy youngster zipped through the water in 10.11 before tagging her dad Derek Ross who was waiting with the bike, eager to hit the lumpy terrain. After a hot run out to the turn and back, it was down to his brother-in-law to see off the final run leg. A well-paced 22.09 5k earned them a time of 1.27.25

In the mens event the field of 9 contained a range of experienced and new athletes. Andrew Aitken went into the race hoping to defend his title and set off with intent on the opening swim leg, jumping out the pool in 10.36. A young Andy Shaw, visiting Shetland on placement, was keen to take on the event and was proving his worth in the water with an 11.46. The next 4 out the water in quick succession were Laurence Little, Neil Croy of Orkney, Ivor Johnson, and experienced Orcadian Torquil Clyde, who all set off to battle it out on the bike. Jon Tittley, Maurice Inkster and newbie Raymond Saxeby completed the men.

On the bike Aitken extended his lead at the pointy end of the race, whilst behind him Clyde was working his way up the ranks by passing Shaw, Little and Croy as they made their way over the hills. A strong ride from Inkster saw him climb a couple of spots to 5th, while Johnson slipped back 2 places before heading off on the run. Tittley biked well but couldn’t make any inroads into the rest of the field, and Saxelby put in a great ride in his first Sprint event to complete the brutal course in under the hour.

With the sun beating down Aitken pressed on at the front, completing the 5k in under 20 minutes, took the win in 1:07.49, and will hold the trophy for another year. With a blistering 17.36 run Shaw was proving himself as a very promising talent and made quick work of chasing down Clyde, moving himself into 2nd and shunting the Orcadian into 3rd. The 2 of them rounding off the podium in 1:10.25 and 1:12.52 respectively. Croy ran very well and held position for 4th place, a great result considering

he is new to the sport, and Inkster pressed on to maintain his 5th spot. Behind Johnson had closed the 2 minute gap to Little and a fierce battle was now taking place between them for 6th. When the sprint finish came it was Johnson who had the upper hand, finishing in 1:25.00 and showing great potential in his first Sprint. Tittley was a further 4 minutes down the road, and Saxelby crossing the line rounded off another great event for the club.

STC would like to thank all the marshals, timers and lane counters who made the event run so smoothly, to Andy Redman from Tri Scotland who made the trip north to support the event, and finally to Kevin Jones for the time and effort he has put in over the past few years. The clubs next events will be the Junior Tri at Sandwick on the 2nd September, and the Shetland Standard Triathlon on the 3rd.

Standard Tri - 03/09/17

On Sunday it was the Seniors turn to have a go in the Shetland Standard Triathlon. Being the longest triathlon event the club hosts it was sure to test the endurance of those taking part. With a few regular club members unable to attend there was a smaller field than in previous years, with only 7 individuals and 1 team making up the start list.

Club stalwarts Andy Aitken, Laurence Little, Maurice Inkster, Tim Ash, Lynsey Henderson and Shelley Humphray were joined by triathlon newcomer Raymond Saxelby who was rounding off his first triathlon season with his first standard distance event. This comes after him completing the club's Novice and Sprint distance races earlier in the year also. The “Tri-Hards” team were made up of Ruth Christie, Elizabeth Gifford and Stephanie Bain who were combining efforts to take on the swim-cycle-run.

All competitors were set off in the same heat in the Clickimin pool to take on the 60-length (1500m) opening leg and as expected Aitken and Henderson soon opened up early leads over their rivals. Little, Humphray and Inkster were next to exit the water, followed a few minutes later by Christie, Ash and Saxelby.

The southerly wind had strengthened overnight making for a tough bike leg. The 25+mph tailwind made for an enjoyable and fast spin out to the Halfway House, however once the turn had been made the return to Lerwick was always going to be a tough one. Getting as aerodynamic as they could the competitors aimed to cheat the wind as much as possible as they picked over the hills back to transition. Out front Aitken continued to pull away from the other men, with Inkster passing Little to move into second. In the women’s event Humphray was able to claw back a few seconds on Henderson’s 4 and a half minute lead, but it wasn’t enough to threaten the top spot going into the run. 

Gifford was biking well for the team and provided the proverbial 'carrot on a stick' for Ash who managed to close the minute gap and make the pass in the closing miles. Saxelby paced the bike well in order to save some energy reserves for the run which would take in several loops of the Clickimin loch. 

Rounding off his day Aitken crossed the finish line in 1st position in the men's race. Third place Little couldn't gain any time on Inkster who despite the tough conditions had improved his time from the previous year and bagged 2nd. Ash and Saxelby completed the men's finishing slots.

Henderson cruised to another win in the ladies event despite the best efforts of Humphray who was slowly eating away at the winners lead with each passing lap. 

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