29/07/2021 - Brae Novice triathlon
After being forced to put local events on hold throughout 2020 the Shetland Tri Club were thrilled to be able to host their first event in nearly 2 years at the weekend. The Shetland Novice Triathlon has been a regular feature of the club's race calendar for years, with a focus on introducing the sport to anyone who wants to come and conquer their first triathlon. Along with a few familiar faces there were 12 first-timers who were eager to shake off their pre-race nerves and tackle the 400m swim, 10km bike and 2.5km run.
Among them were a few swimmers who instantly put their strong strokes to good use. Katie Bain, Jessika Swanson and Kaila Ratter posted blisteringly fast swim splits in the Brae Pool to get their day off to a strong start. They were followed soon after by Ella Hunt and Emma Michael, while Laura Nicholson, Nala Williamson and Anna Gudaniec rounded off the list of the female new-comers. The rolling 10km bike course took the athletes past Voxter House, turning at the Scatsta Airstrip before making their way back to the Leisure Centre. In the calm and warm conditions Bain and Michael showed great form on their road bikes and pulled out a nice advantage over the rest of the field. A dropped chain from Nicolson, coolly dealt with at the roadside was thankfully the only mechanical issue of the day.
A 2.5km run may not seem very long on paper, however after a swim and a cycle it can feel like an eternity. The run route this year was a deceptively tough one too, taking the competitors along the path past the Delting Boating Club and up the long steady drag to the Busta junction. Several of the field were suffering by this point, with a few choice words escaping between gasps, but there wasn't a hint of anyone giving up. The finish line was met with great relief, and once times were added up it showed an impressive set of results all round. Michael and Bain were only split by a couple of seconds at the top end of the timesheet, showing great promise for future events. Swanson, Ratter and Hunt pushed hard and stopped the clock in under an hour, while Gudaneic, Nicolson and Williamson all sprinted their way across the finish line a few minutes afterwards.
Among the men's field were 4 first-time triathletes. Lewis Anderson executed a very well paced race, showing strong swim and bike times and sprinting home with the fastest run split of the day. Grant Johnson was very closely matched with Anderson's bike and run times, and with a bit more swim experience he showed he has the potential to be at the pointy end of future races too. Young guns Eric and Sorley Todd proved they are a good match for each other, with Eric only putting some time into his younger brother on the run to the finish line.
Among the rest of the entrants were a few notable performances. Sanna Aitken's time of 46.22 proved she has held onto some of her triathlon form after her brief foray into the sport a few years ago. Among the others Jaqueline Tulloch, Anne Bennett and Siobhan Michael all took big chunks of time out of their previous bests in the event. And a mention has to go to Stewart Hutchison who is continuing to recover from a badly broken leg he suffered a few months ago. His swim times are as good as they have ever been and he grabbed the fastest bike split of the day too.
Club Chairman Andy Aitken said he was thrilled to see so many new faces take on the challenge. "It really makes the club happy to see people who are keen to step out of their comfort zone give the event a go, it's the main reason we host events like this. We try and make our events as inclusive as we can and it's great to see a complete range of ages and abilities making it to the finish line."