A fast, flat and friendly triathlon taking more than a thousand athletes around a lapped park course. With plenty of distances on offer and a short, closed bike circuit it’s great for first timers and their supporters too.
Distances available: Super Sprint, sprint, Olympic and Relay
Size: 1200 triathletes
Average finish time: 2hr45mins (Olympic)
Official race website here.
- Practise your turns on the swim if you can and get quick at exiting the corners
- Train for a bumpy, off-road run
- Rack your bike the night before if you can to avoid stress on the day
- Rack your bike in a low gear as the bike leg stats on a hill and it’ll help you accelerate
- Save some energy for the hill at the start of the run leg
- Bring some friends and family along to spectate to keep the multi-lap course interesting
- Avoid the cows!
What’s the set up and organisation like?
UK Tri organise this event brilliantly pre-race and on the day. They send out an email approximately 10 days before with your race number, registration details, start times and a list of race rules.
The registration is open the day before, which was handy as it’s one less thing to worry about on the day of the event, especially having a 7am start. The registration is very simple – tell them your name and race number and you get a goodie bag and a ‘sharpie marker tattoo’ of your number on your arm.
If you register the day before you’ll see that everything is set up the day before ready for the race; the transition/bike racking area is assembled, the run track laid out and the buoys in position in the water.
On race day, the course is laid out well and a good briefing at the swim start clears up any questions racers may have.
What’s the course like?
The swim takes place in one of Sutton Park’s fairly warm lakes. It’s 2 X 750m laps for Olympic distance triathletes and can get quite ‘washing machine’ like on the corners but, as is normal, the field soon spreads out after the first couple of turns.
The bike course is a short lapped, closed road circuit that starts straight out of transition with a hill so it’s a good idea to rack your bike in a low gear.
The route goes around the park with varying road conditions. There are speed bumps but organisers cut holes into them to allow cyclists to carry on through and not lose speed. Olympic distance racers do 8 5km laps which can be a little monotonous having to go round the same lap 8 times, but if you’ve got spectators it can enhance the fun as you get to wiz past them plenty of times.
The run course was a tough little 2.5km track which also starts with a hill after transition 2. Olympic distancers do 4 laps of this cross country trail which is quite tough.
Overall it’s a straight forward park course with not a lot to see but good for a PB.
How difficult is the City of Birmingham Triathlon?
It’s not a particularly challenging course. One of the hardest parts is the lapped-nature of the race. It’s unusual for a triathlon to have laps on the swim, bike and run. One or two but rarely all three! So it comes down to a bit of a mental test as you tick off the laps as you go seeing the same scenery every time. If you’ve got family or friends watching though, this actually makes it easier as you can get more support for your money!
The lapped swim makes it slightly harder to get as good a time as other tris as you inevitably slow down for corners twice as much as most Olympic tris which are completed over one lap.
There is one hill at the start of the run which of course you’ll be made to do multiple times and not look forward to it each time!
How’s the atmosphere?
It’s a packed little course so it makes for a good atmosphere. There are quite a few first-timers so there’s a great excited energy whilst everyone is racking bikes and getting ready for the race. It’s a very friendly field of competitors.
What is there to do Apres Race?
As different age groups and different distance were all going off at different times, it makes it easy for people to stay and cheer on other competitors which is great fun to do after your race.
It’s only 8 miles or so to the centre of Birmingham so there’s plenty to do to make a weekend of it!
My Race Diary
By PhilWoodhouse (@tridaddyuk)
Race No. 1
My initial aim was to complete the triathlon in under 3hours, but as I got in to my training more, I knew this would be a massive push for me as I’d never done anything like this before and my ultimate aim was just to complete it without having to stop and learn from the experience.
I was over the moon when I finished in 2:54.25. It the few days aftermath of the event I can’t help thinking that I could of shaved off a bit more time and completed it in less than 2hrs 50mins, but I guess that what next time is for.
Split Times: Swim: 31:45 | T1: 3:39 | Bike: 1:20:51 | T2: 1:49 | Run: 56.17 | Total: 2:54:23
To find out more about Phil and the races he’s doing you can read his TriDaddy blog here. http://www.tridaddy.co.uk
- My first (sort of) triathlon! (carolcookshealthy.com)
- The London Triathlon 2013 (runandtri.wordpress.com)
- Cholmondeley Castle Triathlon (trireview.co.uk)
- Women compete in Sylvania triathlon (toledoblade.com)
- Triathlon races to all-time high in U.S. (bangordailynews.com)
- TRI and You shall…BIKE? The Recap. (astiggirl.wordpress.com)
- Twenty Endless Pool Employees Compete in Philly Triathlon (prweb.com)