Grand Shaftesbury Run and Tri weekend

Tamsyn finishing Grand Shaftesbury Run 2015

On Friday 15th May, Stuart and I headed down to Wimborne St Giles in Dorset for the TryTri Grand Shaftesbury Run and Tri weekend. We left home a little late and knew that we would need to set up our tent before it got dark. Unfortunately, we had our first disaster whilst setting up our tent as one of the poles snapped. Fortunately, Ben was on hand to lend us some gaffer tape for temporary repairs.

When we had set up the tent, we brought everything inside, including our bikes and then registered for the tri. We also realised that we had forgotten our pillows. Stu was despatched back to his parents’ house (they live in Dorset) to borrow some pillows.

Finally, Stu arrived back and we decided to get an early night. However, the generator was running until quite late and we were really cold. Early season camping is not easy!

Grand Shaftesbury Triathlon

The next day, Stu and I got up early ready to rack up for the tri. I donned my lovely SOAS team kit and also my wetsuit. I had dipped a toe into the water and found it was at best chilly and at worst freezing :-O

Tamsyn and Stuart in a group of swimmers.
That’s me looking worried in the ‘shark’ swimming hat. Just ahead of me in the red and black striped suit is my husband, Stuart looking relaxed as usual ©TryTri

The lake at Shaftesbury. Swimmers are wading in.
The other minor problem was that the lake was really weedy. You can see just how murky it was 🙁 ©TryTri

I chose to wear my booties as it was so cold, even though they’re slightly too big for me and probably don’t aid my swimming.

I really struggled with the swim. It was so cold that I found it hard to breathe and did quite a lot with my head out of the water trying to get into a rhythm. I had hoped for a much better swim time but ended up finishing in 28th place in 44:44.5


My transition is usually quick. Especially when there are other people around who I want to beat out of T1. That did not happen at this event. I don’t think I can blame the 3:54.3 on the length of the run. It’s mainly because I was faffing around. I must learn to speed up!

The bike

The bike course felt quite good. I hadn’t done much training on my bike, but I’ve been doing a lot of spinning classes. I was hoping they would help. My friend Teri was out on the course doing the sprint distance. I also heard someone say hello and was pleased to learn that it was Jenny – a blog follower and Facebook friend. It’s so nice to meet people who I only know ‘virtually’.

I saw my friend Suzanne out on the bike route. Unfortunately, her friend had a puncture, so she stopped to help him repair his bike.

I enjoyed the bike route, although there were a couple of tricky turns. None of the hills were too difficult, although a few parts of the road were a bit gravelly. I also saw some of the handcycle athletes out on the course. I had so much respect for them as they must have had a very tough time.

Out on the course I managed to pass a few athletes. I also did a great flying dismount, so I finished in 1:53:42.7 (20th).

Transition 2

I had a reasonable transition (43.8 seconds) and headed out for the run. Liz was cheerleading (and doing the run for Suzanne who was injured). She took a picture as I shouted at her.

The run

The run course had two laps, which were very picturesque. The trees and flowers were in bloom, which helped to distract me a bit as I was not running as well as I’d hoped to. One of the best bits of the run was at the far end of the estate where there were some drummers who gave me a bit of a lift.

People playing bongos and drums in the sunshine.

I thought that my running had improved and so not only was I aiming for an Olympic distance PB, but I also thought that I might be able to finish my run in under 1 hour.

I was so happy to cross the finish line.

Tamsyn running with her arms aloft. She is wear turquoise white and black Team Soas tri kit.
One day I’ll get a finish photo where I’m looking up! ©TryTri

Sadly, I didn’t manage to finish my run in under 1 hour – it took me 1:04:28.2. However, this was 17th, so it was my best discipline by far.

I was very proud of Stuart for coming 7th overall. He had the 6th fastest swim and 8th fastest run (we won’t mention being 22nd on the bike!) finishing in 2:42:23. I was 3rd in my Age Group – podium finish!!!

Post-event socialising

After the event, there was a bit of time to catch up with Suzanne, Liz and Teri. In the evening, there was supposed to be a hog roast. Unfortunately, they had run out of lots of ingredients and there wasn’t anything left for vegetarians, so Stu and I went to a local pub for dinner.

When we got back, there was a live band and the TryTri team joined in, which was good fun. Afterwards, Lord Shaftesbury started DJing, which is his former career. Unfortunately, as we’d had an early start, Stu and I were very tired and just wanted to go to bed. Dance music and tents do not go well together!

Grand Shaftesbury 10k

On Sunday morning, the teenagers in the tent next to us woke up very early and decided to chat very loudly. Stu and I didn’t want to get up early, but we couldn’t go back to sleep. Stu had entered the half marathon, as a training run, whereas I hadn’t done enough training to run that far, so I entered the 10k.

Steve Way (legendary British ultra runner) had also entered the half marathon, and I had been completely in awe of him walking around. I had been tempted to approach him the evening before, but he was with his family, and I didn’t want to impose on him… also I didn’t think I could talk to him without saying something stupid.

After the half marathoners had set off, there was a short wait before my race. It was a bit strange to be waiting for a race without Stuart and with no other running friends there. I had recognised a few runners, but they had all been doing the longer established half marathon.

The 10k

Finally, my race was underway. The first section was across some fairly long grass and then we had to run through farmland. The terrain was uneven and some of the paths were very narrow, so it was not possible to overtake other runners. I tried to maintain a steady pace.

At one stage, a heavy-breathing runner with coins in his pocket was running next to me. The sounds emanating from him were driving me crazy, so I had to pick the speed up to get away from him – he didn’t rejoin me later!

There was a really tough hill on the course that felt endless – I think it was at about 6-7km. After I had completed the hill, it was back onto smoother roads. A runner just ahead of me was singing along to her iPod. She kept stopping and walking (to change song?) and would then run past me again, which was very frustrating.

When we got towards the finish, runners started to pick up their speed, but I knew that I would not be able to start sprinting until I was closer to the finish, so I tried to maintain a steady pace.

How did I do?

As the half marathon had started an hour earlier than the 10k, Stuart was cheering for me at the finish line. He had completed his ‘training run’ at a steady pace, finishing in 1:35:39 and 9th place!

Stuart running with his arms aloft.

Despite my fatigue from the previous day, I finished in 56:36.8. This is nowhere near my PB, but I was quite happy with it. I was 52/118 overall, 18/59 female and 10/31 Open (<41) female.

Tamsyn finishing Grand Shaftesbury Run 2015. She is sprinting towards the finish and looks determined.

I enjoyed this weekend and am tempted to do it again next year. Hopefully, I’ll be able to convince more friends to come along and camp.

3 Responses

  1. I loved this event…it had a really good “vibe”. Completely with you on the lake temp….it was freezing and I only did the sprint, when I got on to T1 my fingers didn’t work ! I also found the shallow and weedy lake horrible to deal with…… ! It was great to finally say Hi in person too. I had booked in for next year on an early bird but have now decided I want to do the white star event, Dark Ox which is the same date as I really wanted to do that one last year and it clashes in dates with the Tri. Hopefully I can defer to the following year !

    • It was good to meet you too 🙂 I’ve heard great things about the White Star events and night time runs are always fun. I’m still dithering about the 2016 event… the Eton 5km swim is that weekend, and I’d like to have a go at a fast 5km swim.

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