At the weekend Shetland triathletes Lynsey Henderson and Robin Atkinson travelled south to compete at separate events, each taking on the standard distance of a 1500m swim, 40km bike ride and 10km run to test themselves against strong opposition.
On Saturday morning Henderson took part in the Little Beaver triathlon at Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire. This was her second standard event and as a British ranking event saw over 600 competitors taking part with around 250 of them women. The weather was not very kind with cold rain throughout.
The 1500m swim was in an open water lake where Henderson continues to excel; she exited in third place in her age group. There then followed a long run across a field (about the length of a football pitch) to reach the bikes. She started off steady and despite weather conditions worsening, she achieved a PB bike split of one hour, 18 minutes.
However, 40km of cycling took its toll as Henderson severely struggled on the 10km run to find any rhythm or running style, losing many places in her age group.
After a 53-minute run split, she said: “It was the worst 10k run of my life but a good race for experience and learning in standard distance triathlons.”
Her age group (25-29 years) was highly competitive, with the top three women coming from this age group alone, but she finished 11th in this group and 35th overall with an overall time of 2:38:43.
On the Sunday Atkinson began his triathlon season in Orkney with the Kirkwall Standard. The event only had 15 competitors taking part, but they were described by the organisers as “an elite field of triathletes”.
The 1500m swim saw most put in very fast times of below 20 minutes. As this is Atkinson’s weakest discipline, he pushed very hard so as not to lose too much distance on the leaders and swam a PB of 25:19. Exiting the pool in 10th place, he clearly still had a lot of work to do.
The 40km bike ride was a straight out and back route over a hilly course and plenty of cross winds to contend with. Atkinson managed to progress up to fourth place with the second fastest bike time, but this was not fast enough to reduce the gap on the leaders who were battling fiercely between themselves.
On to the 10k run he was only two minutes behind the leaders. Despite feeling great and running a solid 40:43 10k, this was clearly not enough as the leaders proved too strong with Adrian Pottinger of Inverness blitzing through to win the race with a highly impressive 35-minute 10k run. Atkinson finished strongly in fourth place, a bit disappointed with his final position but pleased with his overall time of 2:12:10.
Meanwhile, Shetland Triathlon Club will be hosting a “try a mini triathlon” of 300m swim, four-mile bike ride and finishing with a one-mile run at the Sandwick Pool on Sunday at 11am.
Everyone is welcome and entries are £12 with all proceeds being donated to the Bell’s Brae ASN Department. Please go to the club website for further information.