The Guernsey Triathlon Club held its second event in the Ana Leaf Foundation Summer Series on Sunday (26 June) with more than 50 competitors taking part – a record number of entries.
Veteran Alan Rowe took first place with a time of 56 minutes and 4 seconds. James Gower followed closely in second place; Ian Scholes took a well-deserved third place, followed by junior’s Josh Thornton and Dan Galpin.
In the women’s race, Magda Puzio took first place with a time of 1 hour 4 minutes and 43 seconds, closely followed by Laura McCarthy with a time of 1 hour 5 minutes and six seconds.
In the men’s, first out of the water was Josh Lewis a former Island Games swimmer who competed at top level in the pool, including the Commonwealth Youth Games, and has recently turned his hand to triathlon. Lewis was followed by a group including James Gower, junior Josh Thornton and Alan Rowe.
Lewis kept his lead on the bike leg out along the coast road to L’Ancresse turning at Keyprice and returning by the same route, Gower was able to maintain his second place for some time from the fast moving Rowe with junior Thornton having a fantastic race on the bike.
Rowe commented: “The bike was fun and I closed in on James Gower, and Josh Thornton who was having an amazing race, but each time I passed them I could not shake them off. When I saw Josh Lewis going out of T2 I thought I'd have a good chance of catching him - and expected a tough battle with James.”
Going into the run in first place Lewis must have expected Rowe and Gower to chase him down as both are renowned for their run speed. However, Lewis had unfortunately misheard the race briefing and going into the second lap of the run he missed the ‘out and back dead turn to transition’, shortening the run by several hundred metres and ultimately saw him disqualified from the results.
This handed the race win to Rowe: “On the second lap Josh (Lewis) was out of sight so having gone clear of James I settled for second - or so I thought! The win was an unexpected bonus and shows my form is building ahead of the Vichy (France) half ironman in August,” he said.
Lewis was deflated by his mistake, which comes ahead of next month’s Jersey Triathlon where he hopes to gain qualification for Guernsey in the Gotland Island Games. This would follow other local successful swimmers, turned triathletes, such as Ian Le Pelley, and Samantha Herridge, who both went on to represent Guernsey at the Commonwealth Games level.
Lewis said: “I’m in the island now for a two week training camp ahead of the Jersey race - I will be sure to listen carefully to the briefing for that race! I don’t want to make the same mistake twice.”
Swim conditions on the day were tough with a stiff onshore breeze throwing up some choppy surf for the start of the swim and with the tide rising slower than predicted many of the competitors were pleased that the swim came some way short of the advertised distance. Running out into the start from the beach start saw competitors swim stroke broken up on the outward leg to the first swim buoy turn, before turning right to swim across the breaking waves, and then a further right turn in towards the shore with a tail wind and chasing waves.
In the ladies race Magda Puzio displayed her strength on both the rough swim and windy bike sections where she was chased hard by run specialist Laura McCarthy.
McCarthy said: “I knew Magda being a faster swimmer would be some way ahead but when I saw the lead she had at the bike turn I thought there may have been a chance I would catch up on the run. In the end, whilst I gained back a lot of time, I didn't quite close the gap.”
Puzio said: “I had a great day of racing. I’m quite surprised that I took a win considering how short the swim was. I definitely lost some time on the run but luckily my swim and bike were quick enough to secure my win.”
The club now turns its attention to the Jersey Triathlon in two weeks’ time, which serves as a great club trip away for both novice and experienced athletes. It will also stand as the first qualifier for Guernsey athletes to gain selection for the Gotland Island Games.
Club president Mark Naftel was particularly pleased with the turnout of both experienced athletes and newcomers to the sport. He said: “One of our novice ladies mentioned after the race that she had seen the Vazon Tri last year and told herself it was beyond her. This weekend she proved herself wrong and did it! This lady was not alone in proving that our sport is accessible to all, from amateurs to our top competitors.”
Excellent photos from Andy Dovey