Stephen Honey – Centurion Race Report June ’19

I expect there are going to be a few of these, so I thought I’d get in early!

This morning saw the second running of the Centurion triathlon. It takes place at Stanborough, so is a great opportunity to do a longer distance triathlon on your doorstep. There are two distance options on offer – either the metric (which had a total distance of 100 km) or the imperial (which has a total distance of 100 miles). I opted for the first of these, which comprises a 2 km swim, 82 km bike and 16 km run, with my main aim being to beat last year’s time of 5 hours 51 mins. I’d done a bit more cycling and running than last year, including the Velo Birmingham & Midlands and the St Albans Half Marathon, so was feeling hopeful.

On arriving at Stanborough we were greeted with the news that the lake temperature was – just – wetsuit legal at 22.9 degrees and getting into the lake it certainly felt warm to the touch! This year we were seen off by a drummer who had set up his kit on one of the pontoons, which was a great touch.

The swim was fairly uneventful after the initial 200 metres of thrashing and I was pleased to get round in 38 minutes and get on the bike. After the mandatory foot down point it was off onto the open road and it was great to see lots of club mates out there, including Darrin, Ian, Gary and David. The course is a great mixture of long straight sections (Lilley Bottom Lane) and hills (Horn Hill, Ballslough Hill) so provides a good test. It was definitely a help to have been able to train on these roads during the year and do a recce of the course beforehand. The one feed station at Preston was admirably well organised and I managed to get a bottle handed to me on both laps.

Somewhere after the second lap Gary passed me again and soon enough I was were heading back into Stanborough, eventually arriving after 2 hours 55 mins on the bike.

I was a bit concerned about the run as this was where it had all gone wrong last year, with the high temperatures we experienced in the middle of the heatwave reducing me to walking large sections. However, I was feeling stronger this year and, whilst it was warm, it wasn’t unusually hot for summer, and I started the tick of the kilometres. The run course is quite varied, taking in the Herts Tri course at Stanborough, but also sections on the road heading out and back through the outskirts of Welwyn. The marshalls along the run did a great job of encouraging the participants and keeping spirits up. Whilst you know it’s a bit of a stretch when someone shouts “looking great” at you on the latter part of the run, it’s still nice to hear.

I started to get stomach cramps on the last 3 km but decided to ignore these and was delighted to reach the finish line and receive one of the fantastic finishers’ medals. Then it was straight over to the Tri Force gazebo (I never knew we had such a thing) and a couple of very welcome cold beers, kindly laid on by Ian.

On getting a print out of my time, I was a bit shocked to find I’d been given a time of 5 hours and 13 minutes – it’s not every day that you can see an improvement of 38 minutes. Personally I think the timing is a bit generous as my Garmin recorded a total time of 5 hours 15, but until it’s corrected I’m happy to take that!

Overall, it was another brilliantly organized event from Active Training World and great to be able to see a large number of Tri Force members there and share a drink afterwards. The only disappointment was that Geoff didn't carry through on this threat to wear a knotted hankie on the run! I’ll definitely be back next year.

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