The Vitruvian Triathlon

If you haven’t read Norma’s previous blog, find it here.

The date for the Vitruvian half iron man arrived quickly.

I had been doing a structured 4 week training plan in the lead up to the event. This involved going to both ELT swim sessions during the week with a long Stubbers swim on a Saturday. Two turbo sessions during the week and a long ride at the weekend. Two runs during the week and a long run at the weekend. So the weekends were quite busy!

We traveled up to Rutland Waters on the Friday and registered on Friday evening as it was an early start the next day. I was in the first wave (6.25am) so we needed to get things set up in transition ahead of the race briefing at 6am.

The weather was good (quite cold but dry) and the sun started to come up just as we were starting the swim.

The swim went well – it was warmer in the water than waiting on the edge! The bike was something I had been focusing on in my training and I felt a lot better during the event. However, I was careful to save some energy for the run. The bike course was hillier than expected but through some very nice countryside. I felt strong doing the run which was my best discipline of the three. The good thing about the course is that runners are going past each other in different directions so there is plenty of opportunity to see other people from the club.

Overall I finished in under 6 hrs (5hr 55 mins) which I was really pleased with. But I still need to work on my transition times!

I didn’t know what to expect with it being my first middle distance race but overall I really enjoyed it. Especially as there were so many people from the club there either taking part individually or as part of a relay team or helping out at food stations. The support from familiar faces made everything a really good experience! Everyone from the club has been very helpful and supportive in giving advice and encouragement which I have really appreciated so it was good to be able to finish the race with so many members from the club there. Special thanks to Chris Tait for his advice in relation to training and to David Lawrence for lending me some fast wheels!

I’m not sure what my next event will be. My main events this year were the marathon in May and the half ironman in September. I have really enjoyed the training with the club and it is amazing to look back at how much I have improved over the last couple of years since joining. I have achieved things that I did not think would have been possible. 

Grand Prix Round 6 – The Arundel Triathlon

Round 6 of the ELT Grand Prix saw 7 athletes descend upon the very picturesque town of Arundel. With the race starting at 6.40am and Arundel being a few hours drive away most decided to stay locally avoiding waking up at stupid o’clock. Several of the ELT bunch decided to meet up the night before to register and go for a cheeky pre-triathlon pizza (new club tradition??).

It was a cold early start on Sunday morning with an early race brief before the long walk up to the swim start. The swim course was a 200m upstream swim followed by a 1300m downstream swim. As always Liam O’Mahoney made a last minute dash to get to the swim start just before the gun went off. Liam, Chris Tait and Dan Fish were the first to go off in the Under 30 waves with George Tidmarsh, James Swift, Patrick Farrenn and Lawrence Shafier going off in subsequent waves.


It was a fast start start and Chris Tait pulled away in the front pack. Unfortunately for him the race organisers made a massive error and hadn’t put out the buoy which we were meant to swim around before heading back in the opposite direction. As Chris made his way up the river he was met with a loud ‘you’ve gone to far!’ from the safety boats before all the other athletes caught up with him with a look of puzzlement and confusion. We believe the total swim distance for the first waves was about 1900m, a tad extra for an Olympic Distance.

The bike course was a rolling 40km one lap course through the countryside surrounding arundel. However, to get there you had to cycle along a dual carriageway with cars going past at least 70 miles per hour. With it being an early start it should have been fairly easy for traffic to negotiate cyclists however some still chose to pass by with very little space, not a great start to the bike leg. With several long ‘climbs’ it made for a difficult course and having to adapt the typical pacing strategy so as not to blow up on the first hill. Unfortunately for Dan he had a mechanical about 25km into the bike where the derailleur decided it didn’t want to live anymore and completely fell apart bringing about Dan’s first DNF and a long wait for a van to pick him up. Liam put the strongest effort into the bike finishing the bike leg in 64 minutes with Chris Tait just 9 seconds behind.



The run was a two lap affair with a climb going out of transition and a steep downhill section that tested your nerves and your jelly legs. It was here that a lot of ground could be made up. The course looped around the castle and was across concrete, grass and trails. Once again, Liam came away with the quickest run leg of the day finishing the 10k run in 37 minutes exactly with George Tidmarsh finishing strong in 37:35.

As this was a qualifier for the European Championships in 2019 most ELT’ers put their hat in the ring to earn a coveted spot and I’m pleased to say that already Chris Tait and Lawrence Shafier have already qualified and will be representing team GB in Weert 2019! Good racing ELT!

4 weeks to go!

If you haven’t read Norma’s previous blog, find it here.

After the Edinburgh marathon at the end of May, I needed to start training for triathlons again with the Vitruvian half iron man coming up on 8 September.

I had a week or so off after the marathon just to let my body recover and then I started back with the ELT weekly training – but with a special emphasis on swimming and cycling as I had been ignoring these a bit in the lead up to the marathon.

Unfortunately, I needed to have an operation on my nose which meant I could not swim for a couple of weeks so that set my training back a bit. However, I was able to cycle and so it gave me a chance to start doing a couple of long cycle rides a week. Having fully recovered from the operation, I got back into the swimming in the pool during the week and at Stubbers at the weekend.

My only triathlon race this summer was the London Triathlon on 5 August where I did the “Olympic Plus” event which is basically an Olympic distance but with an extra long bike ride (1500m swim; 80km bike; 12km run). It was a good event but a very hot day so I struggled a bit on the run. I finished in 4 hr 39 mins (3rd in my age group) but it made me realize that I needed to up my training for Vitruvian.

I now have a 4 week training plan in place in the lead up to Vitruvian so hopefully if I manage to get through that training over the next few weeks I will be well prepared for trying to complete Vitruvian on 8 September (without being the last to finish!)

Herts and Essex Tri Super Series: Hoddesdon Aquathlon

A summers evening on the 19th June saw round 2 of the new Hertfordshire and Essex Triathlon Super Series underway. As a complete contrast to the last grand prix race a few days prior at Southend, the lake at the Lee Valley Whitewater Centre was clear, warm and welcoming. A good portion of athletes opted to complete the 500m swim without a wetsuit and save time in transition before running a flat and fast 5.5km course around the park.

ELT once again flooded the top half of the table and were the highest scoring team with impressive performances from Tomi Owoborode, Graeme Bell, Simon Needle, Lawrence Shafier, Neill Whittaker and Andy Gray with Liam O’Mahoney claiming second and Chris Tait third on the podium in times under 30 minutes. ELT now sit third in the super series with five more events to go through the year. Next up is the transitionless triathlon on Sat 30th June and Sun 1st July.

A big thank you to Hoddesdon Triathlon Club for making this event happen with encouraging volunteers and for providing an appetising selection of savouries and cakes to devour after the race!

Super Series Race Information:

Grand Prix Round 4 – The Southend Triathlon

Round 4 of the ELT Grand Prix saw 27 ELT’ers take on the Southend Sprint Triathlon and it was a bit of a gloomy day, with a light drizzle in the morning and the winds picking up in strength during the day. Upon arriving at registration there was a good atmosphere with lots of excited first time athletes and music playing in the background. The crowds were starting to come together on the beach front to watch the swimmers go off and battle the sea.

Unusually for a triathlon the first wave of athletes started at 2pm, a stark difference to the usual 7am starts. This meant having to re-think pre race nutrition but it did result in a cheeky lay in!

The swim course was a 750m out and back sea swim and with the winds picking up, it would have been a great day for surfing. We set off in waves of approximately 50 competitors and each wave had a wide range of experienced athletes which meant very quickly the competitors were well spread out. The high waves meant sighting was tricky and if you mis-timed it you got a face full of water and were pushed off course regularly.

The bike course was 6 laps of a straight out and back closed road. It was pretty much flat, but going away from transition there was a nasty and consistent headwind. At points it felt as though you were cycling through treacle. A slight crosswind kept you on your toes as it blew you and everyone else from one side of the road to another. However, on the way back to transition it proved to be a nice tail wind and helped bump the average speed up!

The run course was 3 laps around a fairly flat and unexciting local park and once again there was a headwind on the back straight. Coming back into the final stretch all athletes were welcomed by a well supported finish line which was a great way to end the race.


ELT dominated this race with 5 athletes in the top 20. A number of ELT’ers came 1st in their age group showing the strength and depth of triathlon talent in our club. We also had several people complete their first ever triathlon, which is made even more impressive with the tough conditions. Furthermore thanks to those who came and supported the event from the sidelines, this was a huge motivator!

The full results can be found here:

The next ELT Grandprix is at the Maldon Triathlon (The Olympic Distance) on the 22nd July, sign up here:

Getting Ready for Open Water Swimming – Part 3

You’ve put in the hard work and preparation to get you ready for open water swimming, but what should do once the starting gun goes? ELT’s Head coach writes up her top tips here.

If you haven’t read the first set of tips, ‘Getting Ready for Open Water Swimming’ you can find it here.

Remember the route

Having planned in advance, you should be clear on the most direct route to take around the swim. It is worth sighting every 6-8 strokes to avoid veering off-course. Few people swim in a perfectly straight line and less frequent sighting can lead to an unnecessarily long swim.


It is legal to draft in the swim section of races. This is achieved by swimming alongside another swimmer with your hand entry at the knee position of your chosen ride. This can reduce the amount of effort you put in by up to 15%. It is important not to touch the other swimmer, as once they realise what you are doing they are unlikely to be very happy about it!

You should rely on your own sighting, as an easier swim may not be a faster swim if the swimmer you choose to draft off has no sense of direction.

Focus on your stroke

In the heat of a race it is easy to give no thought whatsoever to your stroke However, focusing on this can take your mind off the cold and will also make your swimming more efficient. It is a shame to make all that effort in the pool working on your stroke and making your swim faster, only to let it all go during the race. Longer and more powerful strokes will allow you to reduce the number of strokes you take over the race, which in turn, should make you less tired on exiting.


Edinburgh Marathon

If you haven’t read part 3 of Norma’s blog, find it here.

The weekend of the marathon finally arrived. My longest training run was 35km. I tapered for the 2 weeks before with longest runs of 18km and 12km. The last few days before were all about resting and eating. We traveled up to Edinburgh on Friday by train. We booked into 2 nice Italian restaurants on Saturday for lunch and dinner with an afternoon nap in between – this is the kind of preparation I could get used to.

We were worried about the weather as it was looking unusually warm for Scotland. However, we shouldn’t have worried as when we woke up on the Sunday there was lots of clouds and the temperature was around 10 degrees. It was perfect!

I had prepared my marathon play list and applied my Vaseline and had all my gels / nutrition plan for the race. My biggest worry was the blisters I had on each big toe from the training over the last few weeks.

The start of the race was downhill and it was a good way to start. There was a good atmosphere with quite a few spectators, bagpipe players, and people running in fancy dress.


I got a shock at around 20km when the first blister on one of my toes exploded. Then a few minutes later the second one went – like a stab wound on the toes. Very, very painful! However, I managed to keep on running through the pain which faded after a while. During the run it was nice to see all the different causes that people were running for. I also thought about all the training I had done and how a few years ago I couldn’t run at all due to my knees and couldn’t even have dreamt of doing a marathon.

Towards the end there were quite a few people walking, vomiting, and having problems with cramp. So I just concentrated on keeping running as I knew that if I stopped I probably wouldn’t start again.

The last 5km was definitely the hardest. But I managed to get round in a time of 3hr 51 minutes which I was really happy with as it was under my 4 hr target. So all the weeks of long training runs paid off and it was a great feeling to cross the finish line.

I really enjoyed the experience and it was a great achievement for me to have done this. Maybe next time I can do it quicker! I will have a break from running now for a week or so to let my blisters recover and concentrate on the cycling and swimming which I have neglected over the last few weeks!

Just Keep Running

Here is the latest update on my training for the Edinburgh marathon and the Vitruvian half ironman in September. Part 2 can be found here.

In fact, this is more of an update on my marathon training as I have been doing loads of running! The last few weeks have been all about building the long runs. Going from 26km, to 30km, to 35km runs at the weekend with 3 shorter runs during the week. I had never run more than about 23km before this training. One of the challenging things has been planning running routes that get through the distance but are not all the same. So on a few weekends I have been getting the tube into central London and then running back home via the canal system and adding on various different routes. This has made the runs much more enjoyable and interesting and there have been some really beautiful scenery with springtime flowers and bluebells.

Physically I have felt good. I have had a few blisters on my toes, which have not been pretty, but I have managed to finish all my runs. I am still visiting the physiotherapist once a week and he keeps an eye on my injuries and gives me massages, plus I am doing my foam rolling and stretching. Also have been having ice cold baths after the long runs to help me recover quicker.

The 35km run was the longest run before the marathon itself (42km). So I am now tapering down (18km this weekend) and eating lots.

The marathon is on Sunday 27 May and we are travelling up to Edinburgh on the 25th. The course is supposed to be quite flat so it should be quite a good introduction to my first full marathon. As things stand I will be very pleased if I can do sub-4 hours. With the weather warming up it will soon be time to get back into the open water swimming and I will need to focus heavily on my cycling for the half ironman but all of that will probably have to wait until after the marathon!

Grand Prix Round 3 – Nuffield Health Sprint Triathlon

On Sunday the 20th May, Eton Dorney Lake played host to over a 1000 competitors racing at the Nuffield Health Sprint Triathlon. This was round 3 of the ELT Grand Prix and was the first sprint triathlon of the series. We had 9 athletes in total, with 5 racing in the ITU Qualifier and 4 in the regular age group.

It was to be a warm day with the lake temperature reaching a toasty 18 degrees making for an optional wet-suit swim.

For those who don’t know, ITU qualifier is an opportunity for you to earn a place on the GB Age Group team and represent GB at the World Championships. Furthermore, the qualifier was a draft-legal event meaning you can draft on the bike, working together with other competitors.

The man made rowing lake is the perfect venue for your first open water swim, it is clear, no debris and the course is a rectangle shape making it easy for sighting and seeing where you are going. Tomi Owoborode, one of ELT’s newest members, showed his swimming prowess by completing the  750m course in 10:38 coming out of the water 2nd in his wave and having the 12th quickest swim of the day. Alison Trauttmansdorff-Weinsberg led the swim for the ELT’s women competition completing it in 15:42.

The bike course was a flat and fast 4 lap course with a couple of long corners. Going out away from transition there was a nice tail wind but coming on the way back there was a head wind which seemed to sap all strength from your legs, not easy to do 4 times! For those who were doing the draft legal event it was important to get into a good group and start working together to get around quickest and it was Daniel Fish who managed this finishing in 32:33. Once again, Alison put in a solid effort to complete the 21km bike course in 37:58.

The run was a straight out and back which added a mental challenge to the run as you could see all the competitors in front of you and how far you still had to run. The rising heat also played a part making it even more difficult for the competitors particularly in the later waves. Alison took a clean sweep for the women storming home to finish the 5km run in 22:50 whilst it was Daniel Fish who took it for the men in 19:27.


Women’s Results

Alison Trauttmansdorff-Weinsberg – 1:19.09
Eva Carrington – 1:33.20
Jessica Frost – 1:34.03





Men’s Results

Liam O’mahoney – 1:06.49
Daniel Fish – 1:07.36
Tomi Owoborode – 1:08.15





Finally, a massive well done to Tomi Owoborode, Andrew Gray, and Eva Carrington who put in some fantastic efforts and completed their first open water triathlon. It’s great to see new people coming into the sport and doing so well.

Full results can be found here and the round 4 of the Grand Prix is on the 17th June at Southend Triathlon.


Dragonslayer 2018

East London Triathetes hosted the Dragonslayer duathlon (3 mile run, 15 mile bike, 2 mile run) at the Lee Valley Velopark on Sunday 13th May.

This is a challenging annual event for both seasoned athletes honing their race fitness at the start of the triathlon season and those new to the sport competing in their first race alike.

A group of volunteers from our club swapped racing for marshalling, chip timing, registering, photgraphing and managing transition zones under the instruction of our excellent Race Director, Pete Dyer, to deliver a smooth and fun race for the competitors.

Out of 79 competitors in various age categories including para-athletes the overall winners were Milan Misak, Debbie Clark and Gary Donald with the fastest finisher completing the undulating and exposed course in 01:08:28.

Congratulations to our determined ELT competitors Isabelle Faure and Gayle Hall who finished 2nd and 3rd in their age categories, and to Billy Reed and Andrew Gray and for their efforts finishing the race.

Full results may be found at:—15m—2m-duathlon_8768

Event photos may be found at: