BRAT Birmingham Triathlon 2016

So, this was my first ever “Olympic” distance triathlon – very apt as Rio 2016 is taking place! I went into the event feeling a little under-trained on the swim leg and the run leg (but generally I’m OK on the running bit). Getting into my wetsuit I encountered the usual feeling of nausea (!), and questioning why the heck I was there – but didn’t have long to wait for the swim to start. Reasonably straightforward “out” leg, but not really helped by being overtaken at the half way point by Lisa “the fish” who started 5 minutes behind me! What a swimmer! Turned back into the sun and didn’t really know where to swim to – but made it out safely (if a bit slow). Cycle leg was great, well marshalled and with plenty of opportunity to get on the drops / tri bars……hard going though to keep the hammer down into a seemingly permanent headwind! Then I thought, I’ll be OK on the run – seems like a flattish course with (what was described as an “incline”) in the middle. OMG, the incline needed a flipping ski-lift on it; the marshals did their best to encourage everyone – but absolutely brutal and having to run that loop 4 times took some serious effort. But then it’s all over as you cross the finish line and you feel totally elated !! Fantastic to be greeted by fellow club members and cheer on those still out on the course! In summary:
(1) It’s an early start
(2) Very well organised
(3) A couple of marshals a bit pedantic and felt a little “jobsworth”
(4) It’s early for a Sunday
(5) Fast cycle course if no traffic
(6) Absolutely brutal run, even though it was a little short?
(7) Did I mention it was an early start? Well worth racing in this; but will think twice about 2017 only because of the run section.
– Martin Perry


My first open water tri – The BRAT standard distance at Cliff Lakes. What a great event to start off with. The preparation was good (for me!) with some good training leading up to it and I even registered the day before to make it easier on race day! I was in fairly good shape but still the last minute worries like how will I get my wetsuit off in T1. This time as I entered the water I knew my timing chip wasn’t going to sink to the bottom, like Droitwich, as I had put a trusted safety pin through it – the advice was taken this time! The swim was certainly an experience – never again will I go in the middle – with IMG_7395everyone going for position, yes I panicked. The waves, the kicking, the people swimming over you and yes the tight chest kicked in so I reverted to a breast stroke and a bit of treading water! Once the water became a bit clearer of swimmers I set off properly and got into a rhythm but a feeling that it was not going to be a quick one. So I followed some red swim capped swimmers thinking they were going the right way and remember thinking ‘seriously I am well off line here this is going bad ‘ LOL. I got back on track and came in at around the 33 minute mark and into T1. Thankfully the wetsuit came off nice after borrowing some lubricant at the last minute and a feeling of ‘ok what have I forgotten’ but all was good and off I went on the bike. The cycle course was fairly quick and flat but unfortunately a windy morning which held me back a little. I learnt one lesson of hold onto your gel tightly while cycling as unfortunately my gel slipped from my hand and my energy was left behind! The cycle was done in 1 hr 11 mins and into T2. I was fairly speedy on T2 and off doing the thing I enjoy best – running. The legs felt good and head down with the thought as always of ‘run as fast as you can ‘. Normal for me in any event I got the course slightly wrong and was called back by marshals but after eventually completing the 4 laps my run ended just short of 37 mins. The run was really good because you had a chance to see so many others from the club and cheer them along as we passed each other. I did like that hill…. 4 times! It certainly tests the best of athletes. So it was a good feeling to finish my first open water Standard distance event and coming in with a time of 2hr 25 mins and 11 secs.
It was great to see so many others from the club doing this event and other friends from work. We have a great club and everyone gets on so well and are really supportive of each other. It was nice to share experiences at the end and to finish off have a nice Sunday morning cup of tea and bacon bap waterside with John Legge while watching the wake boarding. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and certainly one I will be back for next year. – Neil Ogden


Despite it being slightly short I found the run a great route ! It Had a mix of terrain from grass to Tarmac and gravel. Running loops meant you weren’t ever alone and had plenty of encouragement from fellow triathlete as well as the marshals and crowds! I’m personally a road runner but very much enjoyed the relief for my legs to get off the Tarmac and onto the grass part! The route for me competing in the standard was 4 loops which included running over a grass mound 4 times . The view at the top was lovely and meant a fast down hill section was to come ! I wouldn’t say it’s a PB course far from it in fact as the mound was more like a mountain by lap 3/4 but it’s not put me off doing it again ! – Charlotte Hewer


My 2nd Olympic triathlon and was told this was a good event to do. It was an extremely early start …. Up at 5am for a start of 7:30am. Disappointed that I didn’t get my correct t-shirt size! Had to have a size bigger … What is the point in ordering it when you enter!!
The swim was lovely on the way out … I followed the path of Lisa “the fish” but not for long as she absolutely flew which I must say was fantastic to see!! Once you got to the furthest buoy I had no clue where I was heading. In the email it says to do 2 right turns but there was no other buoy! So I followed all the white hats. I was quite far right with not many people around me so I was then worried when I got near the finish that I had missed the 2nd buoy somewhere so I filtered in within the pack just in case they spotted me!
The bike course was great and this is where I knew I had to give it everything! And this i did!! A 2 lap course which was well marshaled and easy to follow … So pleased I didn’t get lost! The run was not nice at all! The 4 lapped run was over gravel, through potholes, across grass and with a “mountain” thrown in …. which made it for me an unpleasant run!
Overall, an early start, well marshaled, good swim, great bike course but horrible run! – Jayne Perry