It was probably around 7 am on Sunday morning on the 13th September, when the four Team Kennet triathletes looked at each other, and wondered why each had decided to compete in this year’s Weymouth event. After a week of tracking the weather forecast, we looked out to sea with a sense of relief. The sea was calm-ish, with small waves lapping the pebbly shore. The clouds had broken slightly, and the chilly mornings of the week before replaced by a milder, although damper feel to the air.
Apprehensive thoughts were quickly thrust aside as John was first off, as a registered Team GB athlete, in the second wave, following the professional triathletes in the first wave. As John cut through the waves, the hooter went for the third wave, and Sean, Chris and Bart set off on the 3.8kilometre course. The swim course left the shore, completing a triangle of 1.9 k, followed by an Australian exit, across an ouchy pebble beach and back into the sea, to complete a second lap. By this point, the sea was a little rougher, and sighting the buoys became quite a challenge. The enormous jellyfish swimming underneath added some more excitement, although by that point, my interest in sea life diminished slightly, as I fought the swell and undercurrent to stay on course.
Next was the 180 k “fast and flat” cycle along the rolling Jurassic coast, according to the race blurb. Now, I don’t wish to sound like a pedant, but…either the event team were somewhat carefree with their adjectives, or I cycled a different course. Anyway, differences aside, the cycle did provide some very pleasant views of Dorset (so I am told). Bart and John stormed the ride in just under, and just over 6 hours respectively. Sean and Chris focussed on allowing John and Bart to feel superior, by measuring our efforts to a mere 6:30….the things you do for your team.
After the warm up came the marathon, along the promenade and through the beer zone of Weymouth, 4 and a 1/2 times. As the afternoon wore on, the weather turned. The sea was now a wintry scene of high tide waves dashing the rocks, and gale force winds whipping the sand off the shore. It was hard to believe this was the same seaside town we had left hours before. The run was hard: the loops meant we could all see the effort etched into our faces, as we passed each other time and time again. The support was great, not least of all Team Kuijten (all in matching T shirts), the Bird family, Alison Hall, and Leslie Marriott, who had no choice but to be there to celebrate her wedding anniversary with John, albeit sporadically every lap.
At the close of the day, all 4 TK triathletes came home in stunning times, and thoroughly enjoyed the well organised and, yes, Challenging Course. Bart came home in a tremendous 11:01, John was close behind in 11:22, Chris sneaked under 12 hours in 11:58, and Sean competed the set in 13:37.