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CPT Race reports

NB: These pages have now been archived. They are kept for information only and may contain broken links to pages that have since moved or no longer exist.

If you've competed in a race and want to write a report, even if it's only describing the course for people who might consider doing the event in future, please do. You can e-mail your report to the webmaster (webmaster@crystalpalace-tri.co.uk) for publication.

If you have any photographs to accompany your report you can e-mail electronic images. If you only have prints, give them to Karen at a training session, I'll get them scanned and returned to you ASAP.


Liverpool Triathlon
5th September 2004
Report by Tony Cunningtham

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Tony finishingI know I have just written a report but there were loads of famous people at Liverpool like Tim Don, Stuart Hayes (yawn) Michelle Dillon and Anneliese Heard (hello!) so I thought I'd give the wonderful Great Liverpool Triathlon held there a mention.

Liverpool is of course the ideal location for a triathlon… as I can get my mum to cook all my meals for me! Also using the Albert Dock and Liver Buildings as its backdrop it's as fine an urban view as you'll get.

The swim was excellent in the Dock and warm compared to Tooting Lido. Also thanks to the Dock walls it was also easy to see where you are going. The Open race was however a very short 1500metres.

The ride was fast although far too many potholes and 500 people on a 5 lap course makes it rather crowded!

The run was nice and flat and I was able to use the Liver Building clock as my stopwatch on the four laps.

This was my first Olympic Tri and I was well chuffed with my result of 2.17. I just wish that the swim had been accurately measured. I mean how difficult is it in a dock?

But my race was nothing. I really started to get nervous as the Elite men were due to begin. You see this may have nothing to do with CP Tri but I'm going to write about it anyway as I'm so proud.

If you look at the Elite Men's race, below those pro's that I had pointed out to me you'll notice a triathlete called Mike Cunningham, aka my big bro. Now he was cacking his load before the start as this being a drafting race and with him also being a weak (compared to Tim Don I mean) swimmer he dreaded leaving the water alone and having to cycle alone while all the rest sit in nice little packs working together. Well he did come out of the swim a long way off the rest of them (I mean 21 minutes, he really was obviously admiring the scenery a bit too much!) but managed to claw his way into a group of 3 and then 4 by the end of the ride. He then proceeded to drop them all on the run and finish 20th out of 30 starters. Oh and Tim Don won by the way.

So if anyone watches the event on Grandstand next Saturday (1.35-2.45) look out for number 20 in the Men's Elite, oh and me shouting myself hoarse on the roadside with a Scottish flag.

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Aberfeldy Half Ironman
22nd August 2004
Report by Tony Cunningtham

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Aberfeldy is a long way away but having said that, from my limited experience as a triathlete, it is a beautiful place to have a triathlon on a nice day, which was luckily what we had.

My entry into this race as part of Team Cunno (the three brothers Cunningham together in the same team for the first time since High School) came about due to elder brother Mike's girlfriend wanting company while she took part in her first Half Ironman. Sadly for her, her participation only lasted 20 minutes until she did what is now becoming commonly termed as 'doing a Paula' and had to pull out of the swim with cramp.

Apart from that disappointment the swim seemed straight forward enough (from the lakeside anyway, but never having done an Open water yet it's all a bit of a mystery to me). The swimmers (all 120 of them) did two laps round a fairly still course on Loch Tay (13 degrees water temp) with the only major obstacle being the early morning sun blinding everyone as they swam back to shore and causing most people to add on an extra hundred metres or so.

Since I only did the bike section I can only really comment on that part. I do know I started in 3rd place but within five minutes had dropped to a more realistic 10th or so before I stopped counting. Being up in the Highlands the course was far from flat but as hilly courses go it managed to keep the hills nicely to one section near the start and end of the loop. Half of the ride takes place around Loch Rannock, which was blissful as the roads are so quiet up there it felt like the roads had been closed off for us. The main tricky part with the hilly sections (apart from going up and down at silly angles) was the sharpness of some of the bends causing some distress when you mix dodgy brakes with dodgy steering due to the fact that I'd never used tri-bars till 8pm the previous evening when I arrived in Edinburgh. These sections only last a couple of kms each way though and did mean that the last 10km are all downhill. I managed a PB of 2.51 but since I've never done a 90km timetrial before any time would have been a PB!

Being up in the middle of nowhere the numbers in this race weren't massive and this made for very spacious transition areas which was a good thing since the only problem with the organisation was lack of well marked transition areas. The general rule for the cyclists on knowing when to mount and dismount was to look around and ask people or get the general idea when people in the crowd started shouting at us to dismount!

The run was a simple out and back on slightly busier roads. It was a pretty straight, flat course but then I only did it in the car so what do I know. Team Cunno's runner Paul said that there was a slight incline in the last few km but he still managed a PB so I think that's just my little bro having a whinge!

Overall a lovely course with plenty of space and luckily no rain. Would I go back again? Definitely as it sounds a damn sight quieter than Sherborne. The only negative was that there were no t-shirts. I was looking forward to being able to wear a Half Ironman t-shirt, so what if I'd only done a third of it!

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Swanage Classic Triathlon
8th August 2004
Report by Karen Ayers

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Swanage was the hardest triathlon I have ever done.

The sea was choppy, after everyone had assured me it would be calm, like a swimming pool. Liars! There were enormous waves and I was seasick!! I didn't mind the swim too much and definitely preferred the sea, even with waves, to swimming in the River Thames at Windsor but the bike was very very hilly.

I kept pushing uphill waiting for the turnaround point so that I could make the most of the downhills on the way back. I even showed a bit of extra effort when I heard Jon coming past me, as most people did, but all with words of encouragement. Unfortunately the wind wasn't kind to us and we evan had to pedal on the downhills!! There were a couple of really steep downhills but they had hairpin bends so you couldn't really build up much speed. The cycle route had changed since last year and another very long uphill had been added. My legs were absolutely worn out by the end of the cycle and I really didn't know how I was going to get round the run, which was, surprise, surprise, very hilly!

A 400ft climb up a rocky cliff footpath finished me off!! From then on I had to walk most of the uphill sections of the 10k (which on the BTA website was described as flat!!). I've never wanted to give up so much in a triathlon before. I did finish, eventually, in my slowest time ever, but at least I lived to tell the tale!

The weekend, camping, eating and socialising was great fun. I'd recommend the event to anyone but be warned it's a real challenge!

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Ironman finishersIronman Austria
4th July 2004
Report by John Petrides

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After my normal last minute panic of "have I got everything" I eventually got to sleep at 1.00am. 30 minutes later alarm is off to drive to some where near Bluewater to pick up the other 2 guys from White Oaks to drive to Austria. Got to Dover in time, even managed to get on the right ferry. Couldn't resist the fry up though (I assume that's what we mean by carbo loading) well I am a Clydesdale. Got to France in a couple of hours. Managed to drive through France on schedule. Having to stop off at all the Toll booths actually kept us awake most of the time. One thing that I definitely noticed was the amount of insects that splatter on the windscreen, I didn't know they came (and went) in so many colours. Got through Germany and got to the Austria border in the evening still on schedule, some thing had to go wrong surely……We were diverted on the border through a service station car park with lots of police laughing and pointing at us and other cars……. We found out later why. Got to Klagenfurt by about midnight.

Following day registered for the race in the scorching heat, imagine Swanage last year then add at least another 10 degrees. Following day picked up CPT'ers from airport, it was raining. Went to registration with the CPT'ers, still raining but heavier. In the evening went to the Pasta Party raining even heavier, had to queue up outside whist they pumped the water out of the marquee. All got soggy feet as there was still at least 2 inches of water in the marquee when we sat down. Pasta Party was nothing special so we all went back to the hotel for an early night. WRONG, Brian T was there and we ended up in the bar. Me I had my usual 1 pint, but Glynn, Phil and Nigel --- about 6 pints each for Brian that was at least 6 (absoluteleeeee). Following day was hot again so we racked our bikes, dropped off our kit bags in transition and started looking at the course. At this point I realised why you shouldn't listen to Claire if she says lets walk through here it's shorter over the grass. Ankle deep in mud from the previous days rain…..

Race day…… Started well until the commentator tried to get us singing and clapping, I don't think so. If you've seen the photos of the mass start you'll see a small yellow sign with Karnten on it. The whole flaming lake and yours truly went into it head first on the way back to the first turn around point. Got to transition, started changing for the bike, there are other people around me, now I'm confused, not normally used to seeing more than a couple of others in transition. Bike leg starts ok I catch up with Claire and overtake her now I'm worried I'm going too fast. Didn't last long though I think she slowed down to have a cuppa. After climbing Rupitberg (the dreaded hill) I had memories of last year. Pushing the bike up on the 3rd lap. Finished 2 laps on the bike and still had other cyclists around me (alright a few in the distance), all I could think was take the 3rd lap nice and easy and am cycling up Rupitberg the whole way. No getting off to push this year. Halfway up started regretting not getting off to push, but it wasn't going to beat me this year, even though I got down to 3mph a few times. Got to the top and couldn't see through my glasses as they had steamed up with the amount of heat and sweat. If I'd have had a heart rate monitor on, that would have probably melted as well. Finished the bike got to T2 in 8:20 I'm now an hour up on last year. The celebrations lasted about 150 metres, which is how far it was to the tent to get ready for the run. An Austrian marshall said we must all be mad to do what we've done and the hardest part was still to come. He was right. Most of the run was spent looking at my shadow so I could turn my cap around to keep the sun off my head. I kept passing this guy with a large pair of boxer shorts hanging from his cap over his neck. It was Brian Smith, great idea though, a cup of water over the boxer shorts at water stations kept him cool. After a lot of running and speed walking (who said you can't get a stitch on an Ironman) I managed to break 15 hour mark. We all achieved what we wanted or aimed for and our first club Ironman was a great success. I'm already getting withdrawal symptoms.

Oh and the bit I mentioned earlier about the Austrian police laughing at us. When they diverted us through the service station car park we could not see a sign that read, to use Austrian non toll Motorways you need a licence which cost 8 Euros. On leaving Austria we were fined 120 Euros for not buying the licence.

Austria 2005 has already been announced within 4 weeks of 2004 completing and has already over 250 applications. Next Year DEFINITELY YES………………

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Weymouth Middle Distance Triathlon
6th June 2004
Report by Nigel Bailey

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Great race, nice town, half the price of Sherbourne and weather to die for (have the sunburn and vest lines to prove it too. Greg, Neil and I managed to find a seat in the town's pasta restaraunt by waiting with a good pint sat outside a pub opposite. They said they'd help me with the pudding so I oredered a double ... their race plan was obviously to have one spoonful each and let me have the rest (it was nice though).

The sea is cold at this time of year so times in the water were't that quick - nor were they helped by CPT old boy Steve Bayliss holding my legs at the start. Nice mountain on the bike to get out of town and then the rolling charms of the Purbeck countryside ...or actually a lot of dual carriageway riding. The run/shuffle was conducted in the 80's and wasn't exactly flat of the day.

Shock of the day came when I finished and thanked the guy who I'd played cat and mouse with over most of the run - Poor Greg almost fainted when he heard the guy say that with 3 miles to go I'd turned into a runner and shot off and left him! Personally I think he was imagining things and the heat must have got to him.

As for the results, well let's put it this way ... Neil may have gone a lot quicker than me but he can now hardly walk and I'm fine. Always said there were benefits of going slower!

In the aftermath Neil talked to strangers anywhere he could find them. As a result we were given free fruitcake and teas by a stall holder on the beach who seemed to think that it was the least they could offer if we were mad enough to have done all that in a day. Most importantly, I think everyone had a good weekend, even Pete whose efforts were dashed by stomach cramps.

Considering the cost of the alternatives I think this should be next year's middle distance champs.

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LucaThames Turbo Sprint Triathlon
31st May 2004
Report by Luca Serafini

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Just a quick update on the way to the London Triathlon ... long long way paved with lots lots of pain!

On Monday 31st May I completed my first Sprint Triathlon (438mt swim - 21Km bike and 5Km run) in 1:19:11 (apparently) ... my target was 1:25 ... so I feel OK about it.

Swim: After a zooming start in the pool, I slowed down half way through (probably bored already) but then managed to stretch myself to the end in (unofficially) 8:04!!! Probably 40 secs worse than I hoped to do but I was busy thinking about surviving the race .....

Transition 1: I managed to drag myself out of the pool to the first transition area to get into the cycling shoes, wear the helmet and the number belt and stumble to the bike several yards ahead (felt like a marathon).

Cycle: Got on the bike and I had to wait for the traffic as they did not let me go (b*!*!d drivers!!!), then I managed to start the ride to stop again at the traffic lightS. After some swearing, I managed to get into a good pace but found myself distracted looking at the lovely landscape (nice country over there in Hampton) but I did arrive at the finish. The marshall was shouting something along the lines of "feet on the floor" (apparently to stop the clock) and I replied "I am too short, I don't touch" .... sad but true!!! Covered in 43:46 (according to my watch) or 44:44 according to theirs -- spot on target.

Transition 2: Got out of the cycling shoes and in the running ones (new sparkling orange) and started run the wrong way, thank God someone shouted at me and I turned and went towards the right direction!!

Run: From bike to run the transition is not good, feels like running on stilettos (probably I was, not sure though, I have to check). I kept a good pace for a mile or so, then I started to have some cramps around my knees (yeah I have muscles there as well). I had to slow down and start wondering what was I doing. After a long long while I heard a marshall shouting "well done only 1Km to go" and saw a crowd in front of me setting apart cheering at the finishers: "that was the finish line" so I started speeding up and the closer I got the better I could see to realise that there was a detour so I was not quite there and I had to run a long (too long) loop before seeing the true finish!! The "acceleration" did not do any good to my legs and the right one started complaining with more cramps, at that stage it was pure pain and agony but I managed to drag myself to the finish (not to finish in drag) .. completing the run in 23:48 (over 2 minutes better than last Aquathlon) and ALIVE!!!

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Karen & JohnFinchley 20
21st March 2004
Report by Karen Ayers

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Three of us were down to run this pre-London 20-miler. Unfortunately Frances had been ill during the week and decided, very wisely, not to participate, leaving just Karen and John. Frances certainly made the right decision, it was really, really hard. The course was a five mile lap, so had to be repeated four times. It was described as moderately hilly, read that as b!**!y hilly!!! I think the clue was in the location, Hillingdon, but I didn't take that on board before the race!!

The first lap it was glorious sunshine but windy and I kept to my 10 minute miles, spot on (50 minutes). The second lap was slightly less sunny and very windy, but again I managed to keep to my 10 minute miles exactly (50 minutes). The third lap the sun had disappeared completely and there were threatening grey clouds overhead and the wind was getting stronger. I ran my slowest half marathon time and really wanted to give up. I think I managed the third lap in about 53 minutes. At the start of the fourth lap, I gave my Mum my sunglasses, stopped to grab more drinks and food and to warn her that I might be a very long time getting back to the finish!! The head-on wind was even stronger and before I'd gone another mile the skies opened and I was hit by driving rain and sleet!! It was blowing into my rightside so hard that it hurt bare skin and was pouring off my eyes and nose!! I was very tempted to walk the last few hills but knew I'd be disappointed if I gave in so carried on plodding my way round. The last mile was mostly uphill before a short flat to the finish. I managed to summon up the energy to sprint to the finish. My last lap took about 55 minutes and I finished in 3:28:24.

I had been aiming for 3:20 but the course was hillier than expected and the weather conditions were not in our favour. Everyone there who had already done the London marathon in previous years said that the 20 miler was much harder than the marathon. So all in all I'm pretty pleased with myself, if rather stiff this morning!! Best of all, I wasn't last!! That privilege went to our Chairman. He finished almost an hour after me and still had the energy to drive me home!

Thanks go to my mum, Jean, for her never-ending support, especially on Mother's Day.

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The CPT TeamSussex Beacon Half Marathon
22nd February 2004
Report by Karen Ayers

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Five members ran the Sussex Beacon Half Marathon on a very cold and windy day on the Brighton seafront, Bernard, Frances, John, Karen and Robin, supported by members of my family who acted as photographers! We also caught sight of our old friend, Mick Brazil, who pops up now and again at various races!

We wished each other luck before we set off and agreed to meet again at the finish. For those who know him, the race was started by Coronation Street star, Brian Capron (apparently Trickie Dickie), never having watched Coronation Street this meant nothing to me at all!!

Frances, John and I started together. I wanted to do 10 minute miles as a test of my race pace for the full marathon. The run set off from Lamppost 17 on Marina Drive, headed along the seafront, past both piers and on to Hove. As we turned to come back towards Brighton we battled against the wind, running as near to the beach huts as possible for some shelter. We ran back past the two piers and along Marina Drive towards the Marina. There was a fairly long climb at this point up to the top promenade (those who did the Brighton Marina triathlon in September will remember this section well!!). Frances and I lost John at this point but were still sticking to our 10 minute miles so carried on. The run then headed towards the windmill at Rottingdean, with a couple of short hills and some off-road running. Just before the 10 mile mark Frances slowed on an uphill so then I was running on my own.

We were running into the wind on the cliff tops and hoped that would assist us when we turned to come back. But no such luck, the wind just turned with us and gave us no help at all! The last mile or so was downhill and then flat to the finish. As I got nearer to the finish line I heard Matthew shout 'go on Mum' as I sprinted for the line. My official finish time was 2:09:48 with my target time being 2:10:00, so I finished happy.

Frances finished a few minutes later with a massive smile, feeling very pleased with herself for finishing her first ever half marathon. We cheered John across the finish line and then gathered for some post-race refreshments, buttered malt-loaf and jaffa cakes! Robin was also very pleased with his first half marathon time and hadn't realised he could run so fast!

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Last updated: 17 September 2004
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