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Event review: GE Blenheim Triathlon
The GE Blenheim Triathlon is the UK’s second largest triathlon and took place at the world heritage site of Blenheim Palace and its surrounding grounds. It is considered an ‘opener’ for the triathlon season and with 5,000 competitors and approximately 15,000 spectators you can understand why.
I opted for the super sprint distance, which is half of my normal distance, but I wanted to try this distance for speed and see how quick I could get round the course.
Despite leaving home early and reaching more than an hour and half before my start time, I only managed to get to the swim 5 minutes before my start time! It took me this long to park, register, manoeuvre through the queues, set up in transition and make my way to the start line. The Palace grounds are spacious and the route from the car park to transition took some time. Unfortunately there were also long queues along the way, most of them were spectators.
When I finally got to the swim start there was a 200 strong crowd on the banks cheering on the previous wave which had just left. I don’t normally enjoy the swim however the atmosphere really put me in the right frame of mind and it was nice to see so many at the start of the race.
To access the lake you had to walk along a platform and either jump or slide yourself into the water. The water was freezing and I didn’t enjoy the cold shock at all! We had to tread water for a good five minutes before the start which did get me warmed up slightly. This might have been daunting for a beginner or someone not so confident in open water. However there were plenty of marshals in boats and canoes at the start and along the whole swim which was reassuring.
The route from the end of the swim to transition took me by surprise; it was a steep uphill climb of about 400 metres. I struggled a little to find where I had racked my bike; the transition area was quite large however a lot of rows were empty which meant everything was scattered. There were also a large number of competitors waiting for their next wave in the transition zone which slowed my transition down.
The bike leg was hilly and for my distance I had to complete 2 laps. There were plenty of marshals around the course to give encouragement which was nice to see as this might have been the hardest of the 3 disciplines.
The run was quite tough and challenging but I enjoyed it as we covered a new section of the Palace grounds. It was peaceful enough to focus but I could still hear the crowds to keep the motivation levels going. There was plenty of support at the finish line, both from crowds and the Blenheim triathlon staff, really enthusiastic and positive way to finish the race.
Encouraging support from staff, marshals and the crowd – nice atmosphere
Good family day out and lots of entertainment for the spectators
Spectacular setting and the race makes good use of all areas of Palace grounds
Took me 90 minutes to park, register, rack up in transition and get to the start line! Leave plenty of time for this
Felt very crowded at times which made it hard to focus and was somewhat distracting
Spectators made up most of the queues so it would be nice to have separate lines and areas to split for competitors and spectators
Sheena Sidhu, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine