I put London Triathlon on my “to-do” list last year. Someone I knew did it and from his updates it sounded fantastic.
So I signed up to the Sprint distance option, 750m open water swim, 20k closed road bike course and a 5k run. This was the longest open water swim in a triathlon I have done to date. Was very tempted to sign up to the Olympic distance, however in my haste to register I thought the only option had a time limit on it and didn’t want to worry about not finishing in time.
Anyway onto the day itself. Arrived at the ExCeL arena and headed over to registration to collect my timing chip. Then wandered over to the huge expo. I needed some new goggles so headed to the Huub stand. They had their goggles on a 241 deal. So myself and Jenni Falconer’s camera man, went halves and got a pair each. Very random start to the day.
Went straight to transition and it was a good move as there wasn’t a queue at this point. There were 3 rows to chose from and you could place your bike anywhere. As I was there early I picked a great spot in row W, very next the bike exit and on an end. Like choosing end spaces as you can make more room for yourself.
After sorting out my gear, I headed back to the expo and really enjoyed all the free handouts and massive sales they had on Triathlon, running, cycling and swimming gear. I brought a cool London Tri T-shirt (had to be done!).
Had a quick bite to eat before heading over to watch fellow Beccles club member Chris, start his Olympic distance race.
Then it was finally time for me to start getting ready. I picked up a great tip earlier that day. A guy I spoke to always uses a safety pin to keep his timing chip secure. It means it can’t come off and get lost in a wetsuit.
Got my wetsuit on and headed over to the swim area. All the other 15:30 sprint females were gathered together and after a quick rally cry we headed to the dock. The only issue I have with the swim is our wave was split into 2 halves. Even though we were all supposed to start together. It meant that the second half (which I was in) started almost 4/5 minutes after everyone else in our wave. I spoke to someone at the help desk after the race to find out how they knew who was in the second half of the wave. Their answer was “they can work it out from peoples times”……
Anyway after doing around 2/3 of the swim in front crawl (for the first time in a race) I exited the swim feeling really strong and I even managed to get out of my wetsuit really easily. Glide was a great buy!
Found my bike and headed off to the closed road bike course. It was lovely not having to worry about cars, I really like that. However I personally found the bike course really difficult. There were so many other competitors on their bikes, that the whole time I was moving out of the way, dodging round bike and trying not to draft other cyclist. As well as all that the layout of the course made it very difficult to get any momentum. There were lots of tight turns, a few steep hills and some of the roads were in very poor conditions. Overall though I did enjoy the course and it was great having the huge crows cheer you on.
Onto the run, boy it was HOT. Think it reached 26c or so. The run course like the bike was two laps. There were two water stations, a gel station and a cold water shower on the course. The water stations and shower were lifesavers! Again I found the run course tough, there was a killer hill that you had to run up twice, a few ramps and a very un-even wobbly plastic walkway that you had to run over. It was also difficult as so many people were walking and I was desperate to as well. However I kept plodding on and managed to finish without walking. Chris and Donna really did help motivate me on the run, thank you both very much. The crowds and BOSE music station also were good.
After completing the two laps of the run I crossed the finish line to massive cheers and grabbed my Erdinger beer, which was actually really nice. Collected my medal and found my family.
Little disappointed that there wasn’t a goodie bag, only an online link to “offers”.
I thoroughly enjoyed the event. There were a few niggly things about it that I didn’t think were that great, however overall it is an incredible experience.
I was amazed at where I finished results wise and wish I would have pushed a bit harder as I could have finished really high up. However am glad I decided to enjoy this race and soak up the atmosphere. It was nice chatting and waving my way round.
I finish 110/634 woman and 27/157 in my age group! Full results here
Location – ExCeL Arena, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, London E16 1XL
Type – Open Water Swim (1 lap), cycle on closed public roads (2 laps) and a run on concrete pathway next to the dock/arena (2 laps)
Entry Fee – £87 (No discount for BTF members)*
Medal – Yes
Goody bag – No. Did get a free swimming cap though that is actually really good quality
Event facilities – LOTS!!!
Chip timed – Yes
Start Type – Staggered wave start. All females then men.
Would I do this event again? – Yes I would do it again as the scale and location of the event is great. However the cost is a little off putting.
Overall Score – 7/10
As must do, once in a lifetime type event. Great for first timers and pro’s.
* British Triathlon Membership