Saturday saw 208 triathletes rise to the challenge of the inaugural Croyde Ocean Triathlon…

Croyde Ocean Triathlon

Held on Saturday 11 July, this exciting olympic distance triathlon put even the most seasoned triathletes through their paces but also saw many first-time triathletes take part either as individuals or as part of a team.

The Croyde Ocean Triathlon is well on its way to raising in excess of £10,000 for its four charities – ocean-based charities Surfers Against Sewage; Surfers Not Street Children; and Croyde Surf Life Saving Club, as well as local North Devon charity Children’s Hospice South West.

Race day

The 1.5km open-water swim in beautiful Putsborough bay was a first ocean swim for many of the competitors, who had swum in rivers, lakes and ponds but never the Atlantic Ocean! Once out of the ocean (and a beach run and steep climb to the transition area), competitors took to the road for a gruelling 40km bike route across the steep hills of north devon.

Croyde Ocean Triathlon

The course, designed by professional cyclist Chris Green (who marked out the cycle routes for the London 2012 Olympics), was certainly not for the faint-hearted. Breathtaking views were coupled with massive calf-crunching climbs along the Croyde and Saunton coast roads and a killer climb out of the Victorian seaside town of Ilfracombe before returning to Putsborough.

The last leg asked competitors to dig deep for the demanding 12km off-road trail run as they embarked on this hilly (and occasionally sheep-filled) route. The route devised by local athletes was an additional 2km longer than the usual Olympic tri distance, allowing competitors to take in the panoramic views of Putsborough, Saunton and Croyde bays.

The results

  • First individual male Sam Petty from Barnstaple – 2h35m40s
  • First individual women Jessica Parry-Williams from Cardiff – 2h50m49s
  • Local girl Claire Moodie came second in the women’s individual category with a great time of 3h03m39s
  • First men’s relay team Croyde team James Hardiman, Jon Hall (who was also first our of the ocean leg), and Mike Everett – 2h57m32s
  • First women’s relay team Sisters Lucy and Ruth Tighe from London (with Ruth taking on two sections of the course: bike and run) – 3h14m51s
  • First mixed relay team Chivenor and Braunton-based Kevin and Sarah Sheppard and Andrew Cork – 2h35m39s

Event directors Mike Morris and Lyn Strahan are delighted with how the event went. Mike said: “The course makes for a tough triathlon but we wanted to encourage everyone to take part, regardless of experience. We really saw that today – we had a great mix of serious triathletes taking part alongside those simply wanting to give it a go. The atmosphere has been brilliant and everyone has embraced the beach and coastal vibe making for a fantastic event. We can’t wait for next year!”

The Croyde Ocean Triathlon hopes to become known as destination triathlon, encouraging competitors to make a weekend of it. Croyde (along with Saunton, Putsborough and Woolacombe) has always been a favourite holiday hot spot for surfers, families, and the sports-mad.

Fancy taking on this triathlon next year? Find more information at croydeocean.co.uk