2:35:39 – 6th Mixed Pair, 11th Overall
~ 3.2k swim, 12.5k run
This year the order of the races had switched so the ‘sprint’ (a bigger misnomer than in Triathlon) was on the Saturday which meant a small change in the course since last year it went round the coast and right passed the end of the airport runway. This was OK on a Sunday when the airport is closed but this year we had to come inland for a slightly less scenic route and it looks like it may have added 1km of running.
These races are getting ever more popular and this is particularly the case in the sprint. Three pairs in 2016, 35 last year and then 90 this year. It made for a quite a different start pen with many couples wanting to be near the front. Again the weather was fantastic but we still decided to start with wetsuits on since yesterdays practise swim and let us know the water was a lot colder and we wanted to want to get in the sea. We were also ready for the big hill at the start so when the gun went we were a little more conservative with our pace. We however were absolutely boiling by the time we’d rounded the garrison headland and were heading in to the first swim. At this point we realised Rachel had dropped her goggles. There was nothing we could do other than get on with it – at least I was towing so she didn’t ‘really’ need to see where she was going.
Unfortunately with the bigger field and our slower pace we had a lot of slow, directionally challenged pairs to get through and it was impossible to go round them all the time. So there were a few passing between people which must have been horrible for Rachel who was just swimming blind. We passed loads and got some clear water for about the last 50m.
As we exited there was the local pharmacist (who’d we’d chatted to a lot the previous year) who had found the goggles and run to the swim exit to return them to us. We were very lucky and very relieved. From here on the race became such fun as the race had thinned out enough so you could enjoy the scenery, run at your own pace and only occasionally see other racers. The next swim entry was quite tricky scrambling down rocks but then had a lovely sheltered swim exiting in the old town. From here was the changed route which meant roads and fields, not quite the beautiful coastal path from last year. There was another tricky entry for the next swim and then back on to the coast path.
We could see that it was quite choppy and that was confirmed at the next swim which was really hard going across to an island in the bay. The marshal at the swim entry said to aim left of the flag as the exit was easier. We could see others doing this so followed suit. It however meant we got a little “lost” on the island (which is all of ~ 500m long by 100m wide ) and took a little extra time to find the next swim entry.
This course is run loaded at the front – 1k swim and 8.4k run to start followed by 2.2k swim and 4k run. This means that we moved through the field in the second half which is very encouraging.
Once round the north of the island we came to what I remembered as a lovely swim from last year. It didn’t disappoint this year as it was sheltered again, fairly seaweed free and you entered on a beach and exited up a boat ramp. It was great fun. Just 1.8k run before the long swim – 1km and this finally felt as cold as the swim we’d done the day before. I really enjoyed as we reeled in a further three teams and had a big enough gap as we exited that we could enjoy the 500m run to the finish.
These races have never failed to deliver. Such good fun throughout and then a great atmosphere after. It’s so great that we can race and have this adventure together. We raced harder this year. The time doesn’t reflect this because I reckon the course was slightly longer the swimming was harder. I’m pretty sure we’ll be back for more next year.
[photos to be added]