You could almost hear the Formula 1 commentators over the Abbey PA system announcing this was the first race in the 2017 Tri Club Championship series, and debating who would be spraying champagne from the podium over folks crowding around the banana and bottled water table.
It was also a GoTri event and novices, beginners, newbies, and first timers were all welcomed with open arms, and who cares where anyone finishes anyway? There’s always someone quicker than you unless your name’s Brownlee. So long as you have butterflies before the swim, then can’t find your bike in Transition, have a constant dew drop hanging off your nose for the ride, knacker up your Garmin lap buttons, wade through imaginary waist deep mud running on the track for the first 400m, then leave your felt pen race numbers on limbs to accidentally reveal them to astonished workmates, then WELL DONE you can call yourself a Triathlete and Triathlon Redditch have done their job.
Familiar friendly faces filled the registration area and smoothed out the simple process although Martin Perry seemed disturbed and intimidated after completing his penmanship on my leg and arm, No-nonsense Louise Morey was on guard at transition and already had Colin Garrett in a half nelson for trying to enter without handlebar plugs in. Later there was a call from the CIA asking her to do security for Trump’s visit to Mexico. It was great to see AV Parkrun’s First Family the Goulds on duty around the pool, Dylan formed a numbered conveyor belt of swimmers and Jayne Perry said ‘Go’ every 30 seconds for half an hour. A quick 200m splash and a dash out the fire exit revealed Kevin (Meccano) Parsons’ new bike racking complete with bikes and 11 months pregnant Charlotte Hewer who was busy marshalling for two.
An 11km two wheeled blast down the car-free bus route was now in store well signed and marshalled a U-turn around a Hi-Viz illuminous Andrew Basterfield signaled an energy sapping gravel laden slog back to a surprisingly crowded spectator cheering Abbey Stadium. Now iron like quads circuited us around the track collecting lap bands and then handing them back proving 2.5km had been ran, finally coned into the finish line for water, bananas and better than any medal -cake! It was always going to be an event run like clockwork, well supported by the club with sky blue hoodies at every turn, – thanks for being there guys, also a fantastic turnout from spectators, and great work from all the competing triathletes, an unrivaled afternoon out for less than a tenner!