This week I’ve been down in Cornwall visiting my mum for her birthday. There are loads of events on this weekend (including Lordshill 10k and Southampton City Ride), but I had intended to do St Ives Biathlon. This is a race that involves running and swimming, not skiing and shooting. It’s a 2km run then a 1500m sea swim. I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of years, but in the end, I didn’t pack my wetsuit as I thought a mile in the sea off the back of no open water swimming would be silly. I’m now feeling a bit of regret ? I looked up local races and found there was a 7-mile cross country race in Truro on Wednesday, so I planned to enter that… and then Stu struck gold. One of the Jubilee aquathlon races would be on Wednesday night. Hurray!
Stu and I last did a Jubilee aquathlon back in 2013 before the beautiful lido was storm damaged. (It’s been repaired now). You can read my blog post about it here: Swimming, cycling and running in Cornwall
How did I do at Jubilee aquathlon in 2013?
I’ve not been training as much as I’d have liked this year, but I hoped that I could beat my times from 2013:
- Swim: 4:39
- Run: 17:30
- Total: 22:09
We arrived at the pool fairly early as it is on the day entry only and is limited to 200 places. We had printed out forms in advance and completed our details. We’re both BTF members, so entry was only £7. We were allocated the numbers 25 and 26.
After a long wait, Stu and I decided to set up in transition. I chose a spot fairly near to the steps from the pool and Stu went next to me. Last time, I was not set up in a convenient location, so I was hoping this would save me some time. Some teenage girls came and set up their kit next to me and had a long discussion about how ‘no-one wears socks’, which made me dither a bit… however, I decided that I would wear socks as I’ve not worn my shoes without them before and couldn’t cope with blisters at the moment.
The organisers have decided to try a new tactic this year by asking participants to self-seed (according to some times on the wall). I figured that I might take around 25 minutes because of my lack of training, so positioned myself reasonably near to the start. Stu was towards the back of the group.
The weather had been lovely all day, but by the time we were lined up on the side of the pool, it was overcast and getting a bit chilly. Fortunately, the water in the pool was thought to be over 20C.
Swimmers were set off at 30-second intervals, so there was a bit of a wait before it was my turn. Finally, I was off. The temperature in the pool was perfect and the visibility was good. It was hard not to get distracted by the lovely surroundings.
The Lido is triangular in shape and the race follows the sides of the pool, with some buoys to ensure that no-one cuts the corners. I was unable to catch up with the swimmer in front of me. On the plus side, no-one passed me.
I climbed up the steps and had to shout my number to the marshals waiting by transition. I barely had enough breath to call out 26!
Onto the run
I removed my hat, goggles and earplugs, put on my socks and shoes, messed up my Garmin (pause instead of transition – oops!) and was off.
There are a few flights of steps out of the lido and as it’s Golowan Festival (Cornish midsummer) this weekend, there were a few fairground rides to be dodged.
It was then out onto the promenade, which was made famous by the Newlyn School artist Norman Garstin in his 1889 painting ‘The rain it raineth every day’.
Although my swimming isn’t good, I knew that I ought to be able to catch up with some of the other participants on the run. It was a muggy evening and my breathing wasn’t great, but I soon got into my stride. I managed to pass the lady who had started immediately ahead of me but then had to work hard.
I should have re-read my blog post about the last time I did this event. Yet again I was taken by surprise by the steps and shingle on the run!
I passed a few other female runners before I was passed by a fast male runner. I then managed to catch up with and overtake the chap in the photo below.
Finally, the end was in sight and I put on a sprint finish.
How did I do?
I was delighted to find that my time compared favourably with my last attempt at this event
- Swim: (4:39) 4:26 – 13 seconds quicker
- Run: (17:30) 16:28 – 62 seconds quicker
- Total: (22:09) 20:54 – 75 seconds quicker
I finished 75/120. 7/15 in my category (30-39) and 28/60 female.
After finishing, I went and watched Stuart do his swim and start his run. I then met up with my mum (who was walking my baby) and we watched Stu finish the race. He finished in 14th place in 16:16.