The Duston Sprint Triathlon is a season opening pool-based event set over a 400m/20km/5km race distance. The event is run by Just Racing Sports Event Management.
Hosted at Duston Upper School on outskirts of Northampton the event is easily accessible from M1 and other major roads serving the south and midlands. With a decent sized car park area directly opposite the school swimming pool, the location boasts an excellent transition zone direct to both the cycle and run route with plenty of parking and spectator viewing on-site. In fact, the swim exit could not be any closer to your bike.
An email with a confirmation of my start time and a link to the full race info landed in my inbox about four days before the event. 11.42am seemed a reasonable start time for Easter Sunday to allow ample opportunity to get home for the tail end of the family get together.
Just a short walk from the car-park, I found the registration tent where my race number and an obligatory t-shirt awaited me. Having received notification of my race number in the previous email collection was swift as was the entry to transition, following the placement of the race stickers on my bike and helmet. With no wetsuit to worry about, set up of my transition zone was pretty straight forward.
Staying warm was going to be the only real challenge in the 40 minute wait until kick-off. Yes… it was cold and overcast. All but the Triathletes appeared to be kitted out in hats and gloves!
By the this time the Triathlon was in full flow with the earliest starters already well in to their run.
Only a stock photograph I’m afraid. Without time to allow the camera to acclimatise the combination of heated pool and the outside temperature made it impossible for me to get a shot of the swim in full flow (basically the lens was fogging up).
The pool was divided into 5 five lanes with competitors setting off in each lane every 3 minutes. This setup (depending on the speed of each triathlete) generally led to each lane containing 3 or 4 competitors at any one time. As the start times were based upon each competitor’s estimated swim time it turned out that we shared with swimmers of roughly similar capabilities over the 16 length distance. In my case, I only had to overtake once and with a time of 00:7:03 in the water I finished 2nd out of the 5 others in my wave. By the time I crossed the the timing strip my official time was 00:7:28.
For the first time in over 20,000 metres with the Garmin Swim (see the review here) I encountered a glitch. I m not sure if it was my push-off or a problem with the watch, but, disappointingly, I received zero data other than the time. Just like wearing a simple stop watch really. Luckily I could count to 16!
With the pool so close to Transition, I was out on the open road in 00:1:58. The T1 time could have been quicker but (like most other competitors) making time to don a cycle jersey was a necessity with the cold mid-april temperature creating a wind chill. It had also started to rain!
The Garmin Edge 810 (review coming soon) worked flawlessly giving me all the data I needed to pace my speed and cadence throughout the cycle. As it was only my opening race of the season and still during a period of injury recovery, I was happy with my time of 00:37:17. On a dryer day perhaps I could also have pushed a little harder.
The course was rolling with a only few moderate inclines. Slightly more hills in the mid section but the final 5k was super quick down on aero bars. The wind played its part in the final section particularly en route in to T2.
Unfortunately this is where my event ended. It was a planned DNF due the knee still not being run-ready.
I like to think is could have finished the run close to 00:21:00 with an overall finish of approximately 1hr 9mins. I’ll have wait until next year to find out.
The run course looked good. A mostly flat run loop taking in the local streets, well signposted and marshalled back to the finish.
Despite not completing to full distance I still experienced that real post-race high. It was great to start the season at such a well organised and well attended event. Seeing so many like-minded athletes (and their kit) gives you a massive boost and motivation to knuckle down and train harder for the next race. Hopefully by next time the injury will be over and I’ll complete a full report.
Just Racing is a fantastic race organiser with a very loyal following. The events they stage are serious triathlons but retain that all important ‘club’ feel; pretty impressive given the numbers in attendance. It’s a real credit to them that so many triathletes of all abilities braved the weather to take part.
Duston has definitely become the my regular season opener.
Please feel free to add a comment or some of your own experiences below.