Hundreds of competitors flocked to the first running of the Brett Sponsored Half Iron Distance and Sprint Triathlons in Ashford at the Julie Rose Stadium, Ashford, in early August which attracted competitors from as far afield as France and Germany, with local teams taking centre stage at proceedings.
The longer event, a half iron-distance triathlon known as 'the Owler', consisted of a 1.9K swim, 94K cycle ride and a 21K run while the shorter sprint distance was a 750m swim, a 20K bike and a 5K run and a non wetsuits swim for the sprint event due to the warmer temperature of the lake.
The Iron Distance was invented in the late 70s by sport runners in Hawaii. Among the participants of the first Iron Distance were numerous representatives of both the Mid-Pacific Road Runners and the Waikiki Swim Club, whose members had long been debating which athletes were fitter: runners or swimmers. Today the Iron Distance Triathlon has become the benchmark for tough endurance events across the world.
The swim in the beautiful Conningbrook Lake was made even more atmospheric thanks to an early morning mist which lifted perfectly to enable the first half distance competitors to get underway at 7.30am. After leaving the water, competitors went straight into the Julie Rose Stadium to do their first transition from swim to bike, and cycling on a 94K route that took them towards Wye, Chilham, Charing, Thannington and back to Ashford before returning to the stadium and then running two laps of a 10.5K route out through Hinxhill.
First over the line for the men was Vaughan Moseley from Walton-on-Thames in Surrey, in a blistering time of 4.39.35, with Paul Kelly from Surbiton in second place in 4.56.54, and Dominic Paul from East Clandon, Surrey in 5.03.55.
The ladies’ event was won by a local Deal Tri member Jill Cliff, who managed to beat her nearest rival by more than an hour, completing the course in a stunning 4.58.34. Lucy Tomlinson was in second place in 5.49.19, with Tri Spirit Team’s Christine Costiff placing third in 5.55.01.
There were also aquabike events at both distances that covered the same swim and bike courses, just without the run section, these were keenly contested on the day and some 'personal bests' achieved.
The event attracted some first timers, Annett Herold (1.33.17) who was competing in her first tri, Charlotte Mannings (1.36.23) who was doing her first open water triathlon and Amber King (1.39.53) who was also competing in her first triathlon.
Prizes were given by The Mayor of Ashford, Councillor David Smith and Brett Aggregates’ Commercial Director, Tim Smith.
Tim Commented “Brett are very proud to sponsor this event, the day has been very exciting with an excellent turnout. All of the competitors should be very pleased with their achievements".
Liz King, event director for Tri Spirit Events which ran the triathlons and aquabikes, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the way the event went and thrilled to have had so many triathletes come along from as far afield as France and Germany to take part.
"We cannot put on these events without the support of our team of marshals and volunteers. Special thanks to Tri Spirit Team, Ashford Sea Cadets and the Pirates Canoe Club. Plus thanks to Roy Homewood, Wagon and Horses public house and Peter Houchin, Hinxhill Estate for both supplying a water point.
“We are planning a full iron-distance in Ashford next year along with the half iron-distance, which will have a slightly different course and should hopefully bring even more people to the town to compete. It is a very exciting time and with the Conningbrook Lake Country Park expected to open next year it will hopefully help multisport go from strength-to-strength in Kent".
For more information about this event and the events planned for next year please visit the Tri Spirit Events website - www.trispiritevents.com
There is also a video of the Half-Iron distance available for you to watch below.