This weekend saw 1500 competitors take part in the largest ever Cholmondeley Castle Triathlon, set over two days at the beautiful castle estate within the Cheshire hills.
The triathlon weekend was typical of what we have come to expect of a Castle Triathlon Series event, with a challenging swim, bike and run with unparalleled athlete support and an energetic festival atmosphere. Spectator support was particularly motivating for The Gauntlet (half-iron) and Olympic distance athletes competing on Sunday (25th June), where spectator areas, supported by Macmillan Cancer Support’s cheer point, cheered on the athletes.
Sunday morning saw George Goodwin fly around the half Iron Gauntlet course, beating Lough Cutra Castle Triathlon winner Aichlinn O’Reilly by 4 minutes and shaving 5 minutes of Elliot Smales’ 2016 time to set a new course record for Cholmondeley. Goodwin, who has taken first place on the podium at his first ever half-iron distance race, commented, “It was a hard course, a tough course, but really good. I’ve been training really hard, it’s fantastic to set a new course record.” Aichlinn O’Reilly, who won a pair of Wheelscience race wheels for finishing with the fastest cycle split in Lough Cutra, led the race throughout the cycle course until the last half lap where Goodwin took the lead. In the women’s race Mel Sykes beat Lara Smith by 5 minutes and 30 seconds to finish in first place on the podium.
The podium for the Cholmondeley Castle Triathlon Gauntlet race ended:
(1.9km / 96km / 21km)
|1.||George Goodwin (04:04:07)||Mel Sykes (05:13:32)|
|2.||Aichlinn O’Reilly (04:08:43)||Lara Smith (05:19:02)|
|3.||Tony Cullen (04:21:30)||Lindy-Lee Folscher (05:25:31)|
The Olympic Distance Race
This weekend saw elite triathlete and Castle Triathlon Series regular Hannah Drewett retain her Cholmondeley Castle Triathlon Olympic distance win, completing the race in 02:15:40. Drewett exited the water just seconds behind the lead male, Jonathan Dudley, and one minute ahead of Vicky Johnston who finished second. Drewet increased her lead to two minutes on the second run lap, ensuring an electric atmosphere and cheers from the spectators as she crossed the finish line. On the finishing in first place, Drewett said, “I’m so happy, I felt much better than I did last week when I raced a 70.3 in Staffordshire, and I’m thrilled to come back to Cholmondeley and win again.”
The Olympic podium ended:
(1.5km / 44km / 10km)
|1.||Jonathan Dudley (02:04:21)||Hannah Drewett (02:16:34)|
|2.||Tim Lynch (02:08:51)||Vicky Johnston (02:19:43)|
|3.||Steven Sims (02:09:30)||Amy Ogden (02:31:15)|
Saturday afternoon saw the adult mixed team relay races take part, giving spectators at Cholmondeley a taste of what is to come at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The mixed relay race, which sees four team members (two males, two females) each complete a 250m swim, 5km cycle and 1.5km run, saw 120 triathletes take part in 30 teams. BBC Breakfast presenter and GB Age-Group Triathlete Louise Minchin took part in a mixed team relay, and was ecstatic on the finish line as her team came fourth. Minchin commented, “My team mates were absolutely amazing I’m so chuffed, I left them a bit of work to do after my swim, but it was fantastic, I really enjoyed it. I’d love to come back and bring my team to another Castle Triathlon Series mixed relay, we need to start rolling mixed relay racing out.”
The mixed relay podium was dominated by the North West Regional Triathlon Academy teams, which support the development of young and talented athletes within the North West of England, preparing them for the British Triathlon Talent Squad. The mixed relay races also saw fierce competition between local triathlon and running clubs, including Warrington Runners Club, Bolton Tri Club, Knutsford Triathlon Club and Ribble Valley Triathlon Club.
Junior Triathlon stars shine bright at Cholmondeley
Over 450 children took part in a range of junior individual and mixed relay races, including BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award winner Bailey Matthews. Matthews returned to Cholmondeley Castle to compete in his first ever un-aided triathlon in the 11-12 wave, completing the 300m swim, 8km cycle and 4km run in an impressive 01:13:48. Bailey intends to compete all his triathlons this year un-aided, further showing how his determination, positive attitude and cheeky smile drive him to success. Matthew next triathlon is at Castle Howard, where he first began his triathlon journey in 2015.
Triathlons that make a difference
Right at the heart of the triathlon weekend was a sense of athletes coming together in support of charities, including the national charity partner, Macmillan Cancer Support who hosted an energetic cheer point and were on hand to award triathletes their medals as they crossed the finish line. The local charity, the Neuromuscular Centre was instrumental in providing volunteers and the event supports the important work they do to help the cause.
*Until Midnight, Wednesday 28th June 2017