“You’re just going to have to man up” – The 2nd Triathlon Redditch GoTri Splash and Dash

The splash and dash was my first ‘tri-based’ event after joining the club in the autumn last year. The familiar surroundings and faces certainly made the nerves manageable, although they were still at the forefront of my mind. This was not only my first swim event but also my first ‘race’ since my Achilles injury last year, so my stomach was in knots and the paranoia had kicked in. My only saving grace was that I was confident I wasn’t going to drown – unlike my sister Jo Scott who had that concern to deal with!! I should have realised when I saw registration out in the middle of the track rather than the warmth of the stadium that these triathletes are made of sterner stuff!!

After a quick warm up run around the track it was time to head poolside. Briefing done. First starter had set off so my next thought was to watch my sister start (poor thing has never looked so nervous – I nearly felt sorry for her). ‘Just don’t drown Jo’ – it will be so embarrassing for the family. 3…2…1…. And she’s underway.

*nb my wife came along to watch and I failed to tell her that you switch lanes after each 50 metres. She was watching Jo (with intrepidation – as my wife has a severe fear of water) and didn’t see Jo go under the rope to lane 2 at the turn. She spent the next 15 seconds panicking that Jo HAD drowned because lane 1 was empty – until Jo’s daughter Maisie explained!!

Being one of the later starters I was able to watch the others in and out of the pool and spent the rest of the time clock watching so that I didn’t miss my start time (questioning my memory every couple of minutes) *thankfully the numbers on the arms helped and I just followed number 33 around like a lost dog as she seemed to know what she was doing!! A bit of last minute advice from Martin Potter “don’t thrash around and concentrate on your technique” “yes, ok – thanks. is it too late to go to the toilet?” I replied, “5… 4…. 3…”, I guess it was ….

The swim went ok – I didn’t feel like I was flying but I felt like I was moving – which helps! A mince along the poolside and out the door, “you can run now” came the advice from one of the many volunteers. A quick skip across the road into the transition area, bent down to dry my feet and WOHHHH – dizzy!! I bumbled around in transition putting my socks on, nearly falling through the mesh fence and eventually left transition (thank god it wasn’t timed – big lesson learned).

Hard bit done, all I need to do now is find a nice pace and stick to it – come on lungs, come on legs…

Who just set my lungs on fire? Who stole my legs and replaced them with spaghetti? What happened in that transition area?! Is that what the Bermuda triangle is like?! I wasn’t expecting this. I’d got to the far end of the track and the dots in front of my eyes had just disappeared when I was greeted by a very supportive and sympathetic Steve Taylor – “come on, you can run quicker than that”. Thanks Steve.
Next challenge – don’t drop the lap ‘tag’. What was it going to look like? What shape is it? How am I going to hold it? Then it was handed to me – it was a ‘bobbin’, worry over. I didn’t drop it and quickly wrapped it round my wrist….. now to concentrate on my running. ‘lungs, are you ok now? Legs, did you want to help?’

As I started the second lap I peered across the track to see the ever nearing Richard Gallios bounding along. It was like being chased down by a ginger JAWS. Der-da, der-da, der-da….. I managed to get round the 3 outer laps and onto the track without being overtaken but it was just a matter of time. ‘Gingjaws (as he will now be referred to) finally passed me with about 300m to go, without biting me and eased away as I puffed and panted my way into the finish – to be greeted by the ever smiling John Legge. A well done from John always feels like a reward.

Onto Darren Mansell and his barcode clipboard that resembled a trip to the self service checkout at TESCO’s and I was done. Number 34 had finished (number 34 had also forgotten his number but thanks to Martin Perry’s marker pen, all was good!) It is also due to MP’s pen that I will be referred to as number 34 for most of this week too! The banana and water was most gratefully received and I looked up (for the first time since leaving transition) to see everyone either already finished or on the track. The barriers were surrounded by family, friends and the millions of volunteers, mostly sporting the club tracksuit (which I have ordered now) and a number in impressive bobble hats! (which I haven’t). I’ve never seen an event where there were more volunteers than competitors. Such a supportive group. Thank you every one of you for helping us beginners get some experience. It was a great event and introduction to the harsh reality of the tri world – it’s tough, it’s cold, it hurts and in the words of Martin Potter “you’re just going to have to man up”. – Lee Ross

Roll up, roll up for the Redditch splash and dash.
Go TRI at the Abbey just seven quid for cash.
Too much food at Christmas wish that I was thinner,
need to drop 5 kilos then I could be the winner?

Queue up for the register, see the line meander.
Whose that ticking off the names? Ahh the big base commander.
Tee shirts here and trainers there, time to set transition.
Pork pies and Red bull that’ll fuel my ignition.

At Russ’s poolside briefing everybody learns.
warm up in these two lanes, and don’t do tumble turns.
I’m ducking under lane ropes, tapping swimmers toes,
Then burst out the fire exit with the usual runny nose.

Follow the tape and round the cones, then out to the track.
No time for selfies with Martyn Rogers on my back.
With manic grin he’s closing in, my speed’s now at a loss.
Soon he’s overtaken our boy from Headless Cross.

Here comes Richard in his new tri-suit.
Fresh from the Morey’s catalogue shoot.
not a bulge or crease could it fit any tighter?
he flashes past in sky-blue lycra.

Kevin ‘Pom Pom’ Parsons surely he’s too hot,
wearing the hat that taste forgot.
And all the Marshals overseeing the course
cheering and yelling until their hoarse,
windchilled, frozen but never vexed
As they know it’s their turn next!

Phil Hall

Thanks to the Berbeziers for the photos in the report – you can see them all here

Race Results are available here