By Ben Cornwell
It was an early start at Ashburnham Place for those competing in the Sussex Original Triathlon on Sunday 5th September – first race at 7:30 am. But, with glorious sunshine beaming down on the picturesque backdrop of the lake and lawns around, the wetsuit-clad competitors looked positively eager to begin the gruelling challenge.
Credit: Ben Cornwell
This triathlon event was split into two different distances: the Olympic standard (1500m Swim, 40km Cycle and 10km Run) and the Sprint (750m Swim, 20km Cycle and 5km Run). Those taking on the Olympic distance course set off first on their two laps around the lake; the remaining competitors followed 15 minutes later.
The event was first started ten years ago by Paul Holdaway and his wife Jo, who run the Team Lifestyle sports company. It has grown ever since. New this year was the Kids Aquathlon Series event, which gave children from ages 8-16 the opportunity to compete on a course involving both swimming and running. During the day, more than 100 people took part in the two triathlons as well as over 70 children for the aquathlon.
“We’ve had our best turnout this year, including some entries for last year that were rolled over. When we knew we could reopen, people were desperate to race again,” said event organiser Paul.
“That buzz of race day makes you feel good, and it doesn’t matter what ability you are. I think it’s great because everyone is having their own battle and journey here and have their own reasons for doing it, whether that be for charity, competitively, or because they are coming back from illness.”
Credit: Ben Cornwell
“I have wanted to do a triathlon for a while. I broke my collarbone last year and, because of the pandemic as well, I was unable to enter, so this is the first one I could do,” said Mark Thorne, Sprint Triathlon competitor. “I knew this one would be a smaller turnout, and so I thought it would be good for my first one. I can speak to the guys and get a bit of an understanding of what is involved. There is also the fantastic scenery – it was worth coming just to be able to look around, particularly when you are running.”
Bethany Butler, Thibault Delinte and Michael Del completed the Sprint triathlon as part of a relay team, allowing each of them to focus on
their individual discipline. Swimmer Bethany said, “I would definitely recommend triathlons to other people.
They are really fun, and keep you focused as you have to make sure that you stick to your training.”
• For other events run by Team Lifestyle, check out their website: www.tlsports.co.uk
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