The Tewkesbury Aquathlon is a cheap and cheerful no frills event but does include all that’s needed for a good solid multi-discipline meeting that’ll help inspire your training over the winter months and keep transition skills sharp ready for the bigger Summer events. This report relates to the second swim’n run in a series of four, so you still have time to sign up and be hosted by the Tewksbury Triathletes and show off your Tri Redditch Hoodies.
Car share was the name of the game and I picked up ‘Man from Atlantis’ double Stuart Mackay, I wasn’t posh enough to stop in his Warwickshire village and even had to make an appointment to find it on Google Streetview.
Tewkesbury School and Leisure Centre is one large complex and lies 500yds from M5 Junction 9 on the A438, take the second entrance the first is to the school itself. A simple registration process awaited in the Sports Hall resulting in a laminated race number which the club wanted back later, presumably for the remaining events unless they hold a Bingo night as well.
After Stuart spotted his arch nemesis from last month we nipped out to set up transition in the tennis courts, purpose built and chain link fence secure with one way in and one out. There were no numbered spaces so first come first served, and got the best places. The comprehensive race brief was also held here which confirmed rules such as faster swimmers tapping toes to overtake at the end of the length, a float would be shown with two lengths to go and four laps of the playing fields would make the 5k distance, proven by collecting wristbands per lap.
The changing rooms and toilets are in a separate building to the pool so I was glad I’d brought some old flip flops and a wet proof jacket to cover my lycra clad embarrassment during the short outside walk particularly as a ladies running club that meet at the centre Sunday mornings were warming up. So if you do sign up for the next event be aware not to mistakenly join in with them then wonder why there was no swim.
The 20m pool’s fire exit is at the deep end, this is where the lane counters sit and where you’ll finish the 400m swim, so save a little energy to heave yourself out at the end, race numbers hadn’t been drawn on competitor’s arms and legs but a marshal was sorting positions out. Slower swimmers start first and someone had to be number 13, a coloured swim cap is issued to help with identification. During my swim I believe there were three others in the lane so not too crowded and I was glad of the extra wall push offs in the short pool. Shout your number to the marshal at the fire exit door to get your swim split time, I must have done this at 09:19.
It can only be 20 paces across tarmac to get to transition, elastic laced trainers slipped on, race number belt clipped and a couple of jelly babies then follow the tape onto the playing fields. It was only after the event that ‘Mako’ Mackay said if the race number 13 is worn upside down the bad luck falls out!
The grass run course has a slight slope therefore the ground was quite firm at the top but heavier going down below and already boggy footprints were appearing, I nearly felt sorry for the faster swimmers who’d meet this later after 50 odd runners had all done their 4 laps. Tape and cones marked the route adequately wristbands were issued each lap by marshals positioned just before a water station. After finishing through an inflatable arch I was reminded by marshals/security guards to leave race number and wristbands at the finish.
I hurried back to the pool just in time to watch Stuart return the fastest swim of the day at 4:48 complete with bow wave. By the time he’d finished his run they were serving a great selection of cakes, tea and coffee all for a voluntary donation. Prizes were then presented to first placed male and female in three different age categories. Unofficial results could be seen on a laptop and later in the day official ones were emailed.
In summary – no medal, tee-shirt, chip timing, or photos but a great event smoothly marshalled with hot drinks and refreshments to look forward to, the next meeting being 27 March (Easter Sunday) followed by 10th April. £15 entry fee.
Competitor 64 -Stuart Mackay – swim 4:48 run- 23:37 total time 28:25 positioned 12
Competitor 13 -Philip Hall – swim 9:19 run- 27:58 total time 37:17 positioned 46