Updated: Jan 3, 2019
Earlier in 2018 we published a blog called ‘the story so far’ which included a round up of the races our athletes had done in the first half of the 2018. Its is only fitting therefore that we finish the year with what has happened since then.
Needless to say, it’s been busy, and our athletes have been doing us proud and achieving great things.
We left off in June just before the Sunday races at Cholmondeley Castle where Kate W-N had won the Super Sprint in her age group. On the Sunday we had Nanette and Lou competing in the Olympic and Cliff racing the 70.3 Gauntlet. Cliff’s wife Marianne had done the Sprint the day before and was so impressed by Cliff’s performance in the Gauntlet that she has since joined Smiling Tri Coach herself. Not to be outdone by our athletes, Kate and Mel along with their friend Jude Eccles took part in the Olympic Relay and got top spot on the podium.
In July, Karen and Nadia took on the mighty Maratona Dles Dolomites. This was a personal challenge Nadia had set herself and she absolutely smashed it. Her planning was perfect and she played a perfect mental game. Karen had a great day out too, and was a brilliant team support!
Coach Mel went to Denmark to race in the World Long Course Triathlon Championships and came 5th in her AG (we wrote a blog about that here).
Kate W-N performed really well at Deva Divas despite the scorching heat which affected many athletes.
At IMUK Becky absolutely smashed it, coming out of the swim looking fresh, smiling up the hills on the bike and tapping out a strong marathon to finish. Becky trained so consistently and very much deserved her excellent result.
Lisa and Sarah had a great outing at the Long Course weekend in Tenby, Lisa getting PBs in both of her swim and the run events and Sarah using the event to build confidence.
Kate and Lou both raced at the Triathlon England Event of the Year Boundary Breeze which is a fantastic open water sprint triathlon in the heart of Cheshire. Both had a great day.
Later in the month, Marianne did her first Olympic distance at Salford in what were very wet conditions, and Wanausha and Nanette raced the Sprint distance. Nanette was 7th female over all. Siobhan did her very first 70.3 at the Lakesman and enjoyed it so much has signed up to do it again in 2019.
In August Cliff and Brett completed their first Ironman events. Cliff raced IM Sweden finishing comfortably with lots learnt. Cliff has been lucky enough to secure a place at Challenge Roth in 2019 so an exciting year ahead for him. Brett raced IM Copenhagen, smashing his 12 hour target by over 40 minutes.
Also, in August. Natasha did both the Shrewsbury Sprint followed by the Shropshire Standard and is attempting her first Ironman in Austria in 2019.
One of the highlights of the year for some of our athletes and coaches was doing the Relay Championships at Holme Pierrepont. A day of many laughs and organised chaos. We would encourage any of our athletes to give this a go for a fun day out but also some great VO2 max racing.
At the start of September, Mark had a great race in his first middle distance at the Sundowner, finishing in 5 hours despite a few setbacks during the race. Siobhan also raced the swim and run legs, with her husband completing the bike as a relay which was a great team effort. The same weekend, Caz and Karen swam Coniston end to end. This was a huge achievement for Karen, and she completed it far faster than she expected!
And so, we get to the day that Coach Mel will never forget. With only five weeks to go before the event she put her name down for Ironman Wales with the hope of qualifying for Kona. She didn’t let us down and stormed to victory with a 45-minute lead to take the AG win and securing her place for the World Championships in Hawaii 2019. You can read about this in Mel's blog.
We were also pleased to coach Jackie for IM Wales. Well known as one of the toughest courses, Jackie did everyone proud with a great performance. She had to dig very deep on the run, but she is made of extremely tough stuff!!
September also saw do his first triathlon at the Nantwich Sprint and later that month the Rochdale half marathon. Claire took part in the Woodford 10km and she is also stepping up to the Ironman distance next year. Rob completed Wirral Half Marathon in preparation for Dublin Marathon in October, and showed that his training was spot on, coming in with a time of 1 hour 28 minutes.
Claire took part in her tri clubs duathlon, getting the miles in, in preparation for next year. Marianne raced the Cheshire Sprint Triathlon, Chris ran the Tatton half marathon and Cliff, Lisa and Kate ran Manchester Half, with some great times. Lindsay Purdie also secured a new 10km PB at the Cheshire 10Km which she was pleased to finally beat as her old 10km time had stood for some time.
The last weekend of October was a particularly busy one, starting in New Zealand. Stephen, a very talented bike racer, narrowly missed a win at the K2 Road Cycle Classic Men’s Open Race in New Zealand. He was touched out for 3rd by only 1 second! Meanwhile, in Wales, Marita completed the gruelling Snowdonia Marathon. Caz, Claire and Coach Kate were racing at the Swim England National Masters Championships, with Caz and Claire securing a bronze medal in the 4 x 100 mixed freestyle relay, with all swimmers involved setting recent PB times.
Back in New Zealand, David raced Auckland Half Marathon and completed it in a new PB time – 16 minutes faster than in 2017. In Dublin, Rob ran Dublin Marathon in 3:08 which was brilliant and well deserved. The same weekend, Coach Mel had one last triathlon race of the season at the European Middle-Distance Championships in Ibiza. I think she was hoping for a nice hot day but instead was welcomed by flash floods and freezing conditions. At one point it looked like the race might not even happen as the roads were flooded. Finally, after much waiting and a delayed start time and a shortened bike course the race went ahead. Mel would happily admit not her best race but anyone who knows her well knows that she hates the cold. However, in true Lucy Gossage style she got on with it not keen to add a DNF to her racing career and still finishing a respectable 8th in AG.
With the triathlon season in the UK finally over as we moved through November and December, our athletes were out in force taking part in cross country and road races. In November Claire took part in the Conway half marathon, the Wilmslow 10km and the Langley 10. Chris did the Wilmslow 10km and got a new PB, Marianne also secured a new 10km PB at the Tatton 10km. In December Becky ran Malaga Half, and Claire entered into the Spirit of the Tatton Yule Yomp with a very fetching Santa outfit.
David has been training very hard in New Zealand preparing for IM New Zealand in March 2019. As part of his preparation he has completed a number of Ocean swims in PB times and also had a great ride at the 160k Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge , finishing in 5 hours 45 on a tough course. It all bodes well for his big race.
We are pleased to welcome new athletes to our team for 2019, so big hello to Jon, Claire, Suzanne, Nikki, Alan, Rose, Kate, Hayley, Mike and Louise. All have a range of interesting and challenging goals and we are looking forward to their journeys!
Wishing all our athletes and supporters a brilliant 2019!