The weekend saw a good turnout for Ponteland Tri at Bamburgh Castles Triathlon with at least twelve adults and three junior participants across all three events. The sun came out for fantastic conditions and a great atmosphere right under the castle for what must be one of the best event venues and courses anywhere in GB.
First up on Saturday was the children’s race and facing perhaps the biggest waves were Emily Allison, William Butterworth and Lauren Stroud. As family members of the club, all three excelled in their first year of entering triathlons and a first race for William and Lauren. Like the adult version they had a sprint start into some pretty tough sea conditions followed by bike and run round the field below the castle. This was really well organised for the children and it would be great to see if we can get more along next year – all three have insisted they will be doing it again next year!
The afternoon saw four waves (extended entry due to numbers) and approx. 400 people starting the sprint triathlon. It was a run start from the beach and the hardest part seemed to be getting to the buoys but by all accounts it didn’t get any easier and a full 750m later it was a long 300m slog up the beach to transition and onto a fairly hilly bike ride. Transition was back under the spectacular backdrop of the castle and to emphasise the fact the run was straight off the cricket pitch and up to the castle forecourt before a steep descent and a run along a mixture of road and off road with the coastal path. The weather held pretty much all day meaning plenty of support for all the competitors which was great and created a really nice atmosphere. Really good performances from all – just six seconds separating Pont’s first and second but all voicing the same thoughts – great event but hard swim!
Sunday saw the middle distance with a fairly relaxed start time of 10am – given the sea conditions the start was moved to a sea start rather than the proposed run start and two lap Australian Exit route. Water temperatures were actually quite pleasant and I suspect conditions were a lot better than Saturday without the run entry. We still had to endure the run up the beach to transition before setting off into a nice southerly for the ride down to Craster. Perfect weather again as with Saturday for the bike with two 28m laps down to Craster – a fairly flat ride and well worth a trip up North for anyone looking for an alternative training ride. The run followed a similar route to the sprint with the cursed jog/walk up into the castle (only three times) and out along the coastal path where the turn around point of 100m on soft sand was as energy sapping as anything I’ve run on. Good support on the run route and once again a great atmosphere back at the castle – great first “half ironman” race from Steve Allison coming in at 5.06 and the interview afterwards shows you the buzz that these events can give you – check out facebook for castles triathlon.