Historic Hever Castle in Kent provided the backdrop to a festival of triathlon and multisport this weekend (26/27 September 2015), as thousands competed in a variety of different swim, bike, run distances – all captured by the cameras from Channel 4, Sky Sports and ITV Meridian.
This was the seventh edition of the annual event, as competitors took on distances ranging from the new starter-sprint triathlon aimed at beginners, (200m swim, 10km bike and 2km run) up to the challenging Gauntlet Half-iron triathlon (1.9 kilometre swim, 90 kilometre bike and 21 kilometre run). Over a quarter of the field were first timers, a third took part last year, 800 braved the cold and camped next to the Castle and thousands of spectators lined the course.
The event was rounded off by the world’s biggest children’s triathlon, with 1,600 children aged 7 – 15 taking part – many for the first time – in the supportive surroundings of the Hever Castle Estate.
Champs crowned at Hever
The Hever Castle Triathlon attracted elite athletes, drawn by the prestigious champion’s title, prize money and atmosphere – including Commonwealth Games participant Liam Lloyd, Brit pro Catherine Jameson and World Aquathlon Champion Hannah Kitchen.
The first title winners were crowned in the Olympic distance race. Despite having the early lead on the swim and bike, Sam Wade couldn’t hold on and it was the fast running and talented Calum Johnson who would take the title, and Johnson crossed the line in 2:02:30 ahead of Wade who completed in 2:03:15. Liam Lloyd completed the podium with a time of 2:07:19.
In the women’s race it was the class act in the field who took the title true to predictions. Catherine Jameson had a huge lead after the bike and rounded off the race in first and a time of 2:18:31. Following her over the line was Sarah Lewis in 2:21:38 whilst Hannah Kitchen finished third in 2:25:25.
Endurance specialists take on The Gauntlet
The next race winners would come from the middle-distance Gauntlet race. Over 800 took on The Gauntlet in 2015, growing from 200 in its first year in 2013.
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On top of the pile was Ashley Hurdman who was making his debut at the distance and finished ahead of top elites who suffered in the warm conditions (Cedric Lassonde and Matt Dewis would DNF).
Hurdman led from the bike and gave it everything, collapsing over the line with exhaustion in a time of 4:47:14. In second was pro biker turned triathlete and another debutante, Brennan Townshend in 4:48:04. Third was Pete Dyson in 4:51:28.
Kim Morrison, the European Age Group champion, was making her elite debut and set the tone for what could be a very successful pro career with a win. She led from the start to finish and a huge gap with 5:22:36. Second placed Ruth Purbrook crossed in 5:41:26 with Kate Mactear third in 5:52:21.
Images: Colin Baldwin