GULBERWICK resident Sandy Legget recently travelled down to the south of England to compete in the New Forest middle distance triathlon.
The event is held over the half iron-man distance so consists of a 1.2 mile swim, a 57 mile cycle and a 13.1 mile run, all completed consecutively.
The weather on the 21st was fine and after a short delay while the medical support team found the lake, the swim kicked off at around 7.15am.
The swim leg was an open water swim in Ellingham Water ski lake and as there were around 400 starters, the swimmers started in four waves spaced a few minutes apart to ease congestion.
The swim leg split times aren’t available due to an administrative error with the event timekeeping but Legget estimates he completed the swim leg in about 38 minutes.
Transition one involves running from the lake and changing from swim kit into bike gear as quickly as possible before starting the bike leg.
Legget had a decent transition and was soon out on the bike hunting down the competitors in front but, six miles into the bike leg, disaster struck – the competitor ahead of him startled a small herd of New Forest wild horses which caused one of them to bolt into the road.
Unable to stop or swerve Legget struck the horse on the rear quarter, damaging his bike and sustaining injuries down his left side. Luckily the competitors immediately behind stopped to offer assistance and helped him to the side of the road and the occupants of a passing car also witnessed the incident and stopped to assist.
After a several minutes to assess the damage to both bike and body, Legget made the decision to continue with the race.
He said: “I had trained most of the year with this event as one of my two main targets so I couldn’t just give up.
“I repaired my helmet and bike as best I could with Gaffa tape but there was some damage to the gear change mechanism and this, coupled with the injuries to my left side, definitely affected my performance.”
Legget completed the swim and bike legs in a combined time of three hours 55 minutes and limped round the tough, off road, half marathon leg in exactly two hours to complete the entire event in five hours 55 minutes which left him in 112th place from around 350 finishers.
He said: “After the incident with the horse I was pleased just to get round really as I was in so much pain immediately after the collision I didn’t think I would be able to continue. I could feel myself stiffening up on the bike which made the transition to the running leg really tough but I was determined not to give up.”
Animal lovers will be pleased to hear that the horse was unharmed and ran off immediately after the collision.