23rd August saw 8 of the University of Nottingham Tri Club’s finest descend upon Holme Pierrepont, the site of the 2016 National Relay Championships. We had 2 teams racing, one in the Mixed Open category (Rosa Lavelle Hill, Alex Johnson, Zoey Garlick and Sam Broomhead) and one in the Male Club category (Stephen Jones, Peter Rought, Sam Evans, Niall Rennie). Both were competing in the ‘Relay x4’ where the first athlete completes the swim, tags the second athlete who completes their swim and tags the next person and so on, until everyone has done swim and then bike and then run. We’d decided in advance of the race it was only fair to let other teams win the national honours so instead we were competing for the title of ‘University of Nottingham Triathlon Club Relay World Champions’.
First into the water were Stephen and Rosa - though Rosa decided to make things slightly more interesting by accidentally giving Stephen a minute head start while she struggled to put her hat on, knee deep in the water, as the starting gun went off. Both had really good swims but Stephen was out of the water over 30 seconds quicker – work to do for the mixed team! The second swim leg saw Pete build on the lead of the men’s team but by the transition to the bike leg, the combination of Zoey and I managed to claw back a chunk of time, opening up a gap of around 2 minutes.
This gap was built upon, particularly by Alex who lay down the fastest bike split of our athletes, smashing the legs off the rest of us. Great rides were had throughout but as the 4th members of the teams rolled into transition, it was looking almost cosy for the mixed team, who had a 3 minute cushion to play with. I must also give a shout out to Zoey who left some skin behind after testing just how wet and slippy the road was on one of the corners. Kudos to her though as she still finished with a smile on her face.
The run course was a 1 lap route around the outside of the regatta lake. The weather had started to brighten for the final part of the race, making it quite warm. The men’s team began to eat into the time gap from the word go, but it was still very even as the second runners exchanged the baton. Sam Evans had a great run to pull back 2 minutes on Zoey and as I set off on the last leg, I could see Niall right behind me. For the first 2k I felt like I was running for my life, but it wasn’t enough to hold him off. After a cheery hello and a dying grunt in response, Niall pushed on and, try as I might, I couldn’t stay with him. He disappeared into the distance to claim the title of University of Nottingham Triathlon Club Relay World Champions for the men’s team with the mixed team finishing a minute behind.
All in all the day was a big success, all of the team had a lot of fun and I would definitely recommend taking part next year if you’re in Nottingham and looking for something to do.