A flat, fast and friendly triathlon with a lapped course that’s good for beginners and spectators alike. A unique race that does a great job of welcoming newbies to the sport.
Where: Whitchurch, Shropshire
Distances: Super sprint, sprint, olympic
Size: Around 400 triathletes
Official race site here
- Practise turning on the swim as you’ll have to do it a lot on the lapped lake course
- Try to ignore the lake smell
- Use aero bars on your bike if you have them to make use of the smooth and straight roads
- Remember where you racked your bike as there are no numbers or zones allocated in transition
- Practise going around roundabouts on your bike at speed
- Stick bits of tape to your handle bars depending on how many laps you have to do and discard as you finish each one
A short race report from Joe Tidy and other competitors
What’s the organisation and set up like?
UK Tri are experienced organisers of triathlons and they aim this one at beginners. It’s called The People’s Triathlon and it achieves it’s goal to be inclusive and friendly for all abilities. For examples the MC on the race village PA system does a good job giving instructions and decoding jargon at the start.
The transition area could do with being a little bit less laid back though as there is no system to differentiate bike racks between the different distances. This led to some Olympic distance athletes getting tangled in amongst sprinters.
The course is really simple and well laid out. The swim is a lapped course of Dearnford’s small lake and the buoys are massive so it’s easy to sight.
The bike course starts with an unusual little ride along grass out of the field from T1 to the road. It’s a good idea to take it easy along here as it can be uneven and bumpy.
Once out on the main road it’s a case of head down and go for it as the cycle route goes out about 5km on the straight and fairly smooth main road then back again. There are 3 roundabouts to navigate in total and the roads are quiet but open to traffic. Some competitors complained of feeling unsafe but if you’ve trained on roads it shouldn’t feel any different to a normal ride and stewards are there to help direct and warn traffic.
On the run there’s a nutrition station at the start which means you get water and energy drink on each lap. There’s lots of support at the start and halfway through each lap from stewards and spectators.
What’s the course like?
The swim takes place in Dearnford’s lake which is a bit smelly and has poor visibility compared to other lake tris.
The bike course is a brilliant little out and back 10km stretch. It’s mostly downhill on the way out apart from a hill at the end then you turn around a roundabout and head back and it’s a gradual incline. The road surface is good.
The run course is off road out around the lake and back and it is brilliant. The short laps of 2.5km make it quick and it’s almost peaceful along the banks of the lake!
How difficult is The People’s Triathlon?
Not very. It’s flat all the way on the bike and run and there’s plenty of support from spectators.
It’s ripe for a PB but perhaps not on the swim as the lapped nature means more turning and therefore a slower time than other non-lapped swims.
How’s the atmosphere?
Good! The organisers do a great job with music and a friendly MC in the race village. Triathletes are from a nice mix of abilities and not full of competitors who take themselves too seriously. It’s a great, non-intimidating race to get people into the sport.
What is there to do Après Race?
Not a great deal really. It’s a drive to Whitchurch and apart from the usual Tri tents (massage, food, drink) there isn’t a lot put on after the race. Best thing to do is sit on the lake and watch people finishing with a nice sausage bap!
My Race Diary
Joe Tidy- triathlete and runner, 4/ 5 races a year
Race No. 9
Time: 1hr 22 mins
I wasn’t sure how I would get on but I had a great race. I’d been struggling with all sorts of injuries in my legs so did the bare minimum training and was nervous going into the race. It went really well though and I felt great.
I hadn’t done a sprint since moving up to olympic distance so it felt really short!
In the end I came 19th out of all the blokes so I was really pleased.
- Birmingham Triathlon (trireview.co.uk)
- Triathletes Conquer Lake and Roads (wnep.com)
- My Tri Beginning (Olivia from NJ): How My First Triathlon in High School Gave Me Strength (youngtri.com)
- “ONLY” A Sprint Distance Triathlon – Soapbox Time (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com)
- Marlow Half Iron Triathlon (trireview.co.uk)
- Triathlon Training: When is my next workout! (chasingmydreamlife.com)
- Slowtwitch Saddle Tour comes to Triathlon LAB! (triathlonlab.com)