Lewis and Critchlow take the Spoils
Josh Lewis and Amy Critchlow took the honours in Sunday’s Olympic distance triathlon held by the Guernsey Triathlon Club sponsored by the Ana Leaf Foundation. The event consisted of a 1750 metre swim, 38 kilometre bike and 10 kilometre run with a half distance Sprint race aimed at the less experienced and novice athlete.
Lewis was first out of the water and maintained his lead to the finish line clocking 2 hours and 59 seconds, some 4 and a half minutes ahead of second placed Bob Guilbert. Having spent the last 18 months working in the Cayman Islands, Ben Creasey was welcomed back to the island and took third place for his troubles. Critchlow finished in a time of 2 hours 21 minutes and 7 seconds with Louise Smith taking second in 2 hours 25 minutes and 28 seconds. Magda Puzio was third in 2 hours 25 minutes and 50 seconds.
Conditions on Sunday morning were generally miserable with rain threatening to make an appearance at any time. For those at the front of the pack they may have got away with some rain on the bike and lots of it on the run. For most, they got a real soaking as it poured during the second lap of the bike.
Despite the weather, 43 individuals lined up for the full Olympic distance race and 20 for the sprint version. A number of competitors travelled from Jersey to compete in the race with one making the crossing from France.
Unsurprisingly Island Games swimmer Lewis was first out of the water in 22.52 with Jersey competitor Ollie Turner about a minute behind. Ian Jones was next closely followed by Guilbert and then Creasey. First lady out of the water was Louse Smith closely followed by Amy Critchlow who at this stage was 30 seconds behind Smith.
On the bike Lewis increased his lead and clocked the second fastest split of the day behind Guilbert. The bike leg was slightly short of 40km due to Bordeaux coast road being closed unexpectedly.
Onto the run and Lewis again produced a superb leg, taking nearly 3 minutes off of Guilbert’ run time and crossed the line with a smile on his face in a well deserved pole position. Guilbert cruised home second in a time of 2 hours 5 minutes and 29 seconds with Creasey taking third in 2 hours 6 minutes and 24 seconds. James Gower was fourth and Max Thornton fifth.
Lewis was happy with his win in the second and final of the Club’s Island Games qualifying races, “I really enjoyed the whole event and it was well organised. It was a shame about the conditions on the bike leg as the wind and rain made it really tough for everyone. There was a good atmosphere throughout the morning and it was great to see so many people down there participating and supporting. I’m hoping that this has contributed to my selection for the Island games and if so I would love to challenge for some of the higher places in Gotland”.
Second placed Guilbert was happy to put his recent race in Jersey to bed “The race itself was carried out in tough conditions and taking the swim a bit easier than normal allowed me to put in a good bike leg. I was never going to catch Josh by this stage but always felt I had enough on the run to hold off Ben and James who were chasing me hard. I was very pleased to get 2nd place and with it hopefully a spot on the Island Games team. I felt like I left myself some work to do after the Jersey qualifier and was disappointed with that race but this makes up for that performance. The race was really well organised and another big turn out is great for the sport”.
Creasey was equally happy, “Having now returned to the island from Cayman, my only aim for Sunday was to make the island games team. I had a good race, but equally have some areas to focus on over the winter, so I'm already looking forward to next season”.
In the women’s race, in-form Any Critchlow was dominant. Ahead of the world championships in Mexico next month, Amy will be happy to take the win in a strong competitive women’s field, “The race on Sunday was a fantastic event to maintain race sharpness and monitor progress, leading into the last 4 week block of training before the Age-Group World Champs in Cozumel. In tough conditions I was happy with the outcome of the race with the off road run being an extra challenge for me after the slightly long swim and tough bike leg. The women's event had an additional competitive edge to it with three of the Jersey Tri ladies racing for Island Games qualification, which was also a great motivator to perform well. The focus now is to get my head down over the next month and work hard to make any further gains I can in my fitness and prepare myself to race in hot humid conditions in Mexico. I'm very much looking forward to putting a long season of training into hopefully my best performance yet, and experiencing my first race on an international stage with some of the worlds best age-group triathletes. After Cozumel I will be getting into some post-season training and then making a longer term training plan with my coach to prepare for competing in the Island Games 2017, as well as more age group events in the UK and further afield”.
Novice Louise Smith was second lady having overtaken Puzio in the dying stages of the run. Puzio commented, "I felt good on the bike so I pushed quite hard trying to catch Louise. Once I caught her just at end of the first lap I knew I had to make as much time as possible as she has a strong run. I didn't feel great at the start of the run but managed to hang on to Steve Smith when he passed me which gave me the push I need knowing that both Louise and Laura were chasing me with strong runs. Unfortunately Louise caught me at the very end of the run but luckily I managed to hold off Laura”.
Island Games team manager Simon March was impressed with the results. “It is great to have Josh Lewis switching over from swimming to triathlon. His swim speaks for itself but he also made good gains on the bike and run legs demonstrating his commitment to improving the disciplines he is perhaps slightly weaker in. He is a major boost to the squad. Bob doesn’t seem to have much luck in Jersey but today’s race shows that when things go right he can perform at a very high level. Having Ben back in the Island is another huge boost to the squad. James and |Max, who both competed at the last island Games in Jersey showed great form in a strong field taking 4th and 5th places respectively. Amy has been performing consistently well all season. Her qualification for the world championships in Mexico speaks for itself and it is great to see her competing well today in a strong field which included her counterparts from Jersey.
In the sprint distance race, Josh Thornton took the spoils, but he was made to work hard by Aivis Kergalvis and a young relay team consisting of Louis Tostevin (swim) Hugo Thompson (bike) and Lewis Parfitt (run). Tostevin was first out of the water a minute and a half clear of Thornton however Thornton’s bike and run speed showed and he took first place in a time of 1 hour 7 minutes and 31 seconds. Kergalvis chased Thornton hard on the run and was only 8 seconds behind to take second place. Third was Gerard Schilling in one hour 11 minutes and 58 seconds. First women in the sprint race was Fiona Ashworth, competing in her first ever sprint distance triathlon. Ashworth finished in a very credible time of 1 hour 2 minutes and 32 seconds. Second lady was Lauren Finch with Grace Duquemin taking third.