Triathlon Pink is antipodean in origin, having had roaring success over the pond in Australia since 2006 and this summer it made its way to the UK for the first time.
The events were held at five locations in the UK; Crystal Palace, Bath, Sunderland, Leeds and Basildon. There were 3 distances in total and the longest was a ‘quasi’ super-sprint, 300m swim, 9km bike ride and a 3km run, this was the one I signed up too.
Whatever your thoughts on women’s-only events - I thought this one was spot-on. Pitched at beginners, its entry-level distances were promoted as being inclusive, friendly and not too tough, exactly how I found the event on the day.
I am a sporadic runner, a keen but slow cyclist and an average swimmer. Last year I trained for and took part in another women’s-only tri and this year I wanted another challenge, living so close to Basildon, this seemed like the perfect event for me.
Training was, much like my running, sporadic but I was keen to finish in a good time and as I cycled to the event with my friend and colleague Doris, nerves started to kick in. But as we entered the event village and registered ourselves late afternoon, my fears were allayed – the staff were super-friendly and it genuinely felt like a non-competitive environment and a ‘fun day out’.
I was looking forward to the swim, being in an indoor pool I wrongly thought it would be a cinch. Having trained in a 20m pool, switching to a 50m pool was a big change for me and literally put me off my stroke. Half way through I lost control of my breathing and had to switch to breast stroke until I caught my breath and could revert back to the crawl. Verdict: Must train harder.
9k bike ride
After past learnings from my previous tri, I had invested in a tri suit so transition was pretty swift and I was soon off on my road bike. The long course was 6 laps around a pretty Basildon park, circling a lake that I had no idea was there. The only issues I had was that the park was open to the public so there were a few hairy moments with pedestrians walking on to the route and also there were a few sharp turns to manoeuvre, particularly one involving a narrow bridge over the lake. Verdict: watch out for oblivious pedestrians.
I wasn’t eagerly anticipating 3 laps of a field as I’m not much of a grass runner but it went pretty quickly and there was a welcome water stop after each lap. Verdict: Not an exciting course but it did the job.
I completed it under an hour and thoroughly enjoyed it, despite my lacklustre training and it felt challenging enough to push me out of my comfort zone.
To summarise, as an entry-level event I thought this was a fantastic introduction to triathlons and I’d recommend to anyone looking to participate in their first triathlon. It pulled in women of all ages and abilities and it really did feel personal and open to all. There were some great touches, a free Triathlon Pink vest, headband and wristband in the goody bag and fruit at the finish was a welcome refreshment, the medal is one of the best in my collection and all staff were friendly and welcoming. If I were to suggest changes for next year I’d propose the introduction of a timing chip to see how participants fare in each discipline and a bag drop for those without supporters. Also an earlier start would be a welcome change and starting so late in the day was unusual.
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