Newbury triathlon returns as 183 competitors took part in the event around West Berkshire
The Team Kennet Newbury triathlon made a welcome return for the first time since 2019 as 183 competitors took part in the event over the weekend.
The race, which involved a 300m swim, a 19km bike ride and a 5km run, was won by Graham Stent in a time of 55 minutes 22 seconds.
With the event being cancelled in 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the organisers and competitors were delighted to be able to return to Northcroft Leisure Centre for this year's race.
It has always been popular with both dedicated triathletes and newcomers and has a reputation as a friendly race.
The swim included four lengths of Northcroft’s magnificent 75m outdoor pool - one of the longest in the UK – while the cycle route was local and took in Newbury, Easton, Wickham Heath and Stockcross.
The run route was on local side roads and the canal path, finishing at Northcroft.
Competitors were cheered on by a large crowd of supporters at the finish.
The overall men’s winner (and also 1st veteran) was Graham Stent, a local athlete, in a time of 54:22.0.
This is an improvement of one place from his result in the last race, back in 2019, when he came second.
“Massive thanks to Team Kennet for putting on another amazing event as always,” said Stent.
“A lot of hard work goes into making these events happen and it is massively appreciated.
“I also want to say thank you to Andy Tucker and Rick Cornes for making me push myself hard in our own mini race too.”
The race, which comprised distances of a 300 yard swim, 19km bike ride and a 5km run, attracted competitors aged from under-23s to senior veterans.
Alexander Bampton, from Swindon, finished second with a time of 54:25.9, while local athlete Andy Tucker finished third in 55:13.
“I love this race,” said Tucker. “Everyone from complete novices with a baguette in their shopping basket (2018 race) to mates treating it as the local world championship tearing shreds out of each other on the swim, bike and the run.
“The Team Kennet team is so adaptive to any last minute changes needed for the course and give very precise instructions on this.
“It’s brilliant to be back racing and every question I heard people ask was answered with confidence and enthusiasm.
“I can’t forget to mention the organising team who pulled this together in challenging times.”
Meanwhile, the overall women’s winner was Nicci Clay in a time of 1:01:48.2.
She said: “After a three year break from racing, with another baby and Covid in between, I made a very nervous comeback this.
“I entered it for my children - they wanted to see a race, especially after the Olympics.
“They kept me going through all the self-doubt and I’m so glad I did it for them, they loved watching and running with me at the end.
“Thank you to Team Kennet for organising such a great event and the wonderful volunteers, it was so nice to see everyone again and race with some amazing people.”
Bart Kuijten, who is the race director, said: “It’s great to be back running this event that’s so popular with so many local athletes, whether seasoned racers or first-timers.
“The event is always so well supported by friends and family so we had a great atmosphere, despite the reduced number of competitors.
“And we are grateful to the 50 local volunteers who marshalled the event.”
Meanwhile, the overall women’s winner was Nicci Clay in a time of 1.01:48.2 and Teresa Robbins, who is also a local athlete, was second with a time of 1.04:09.3.
She said: “After having several events cancelled again this year, it was fantastic to finally get to race at our local Newbury Triathlon.
“This was my third time doing the Newbury Tri and I was delighted to finish as the second lady.”
There were some family groups competing, which included three members of the Seward family in the form of David, Joe and Ciara, while John and Thomas Murrell took part with only 27 seconds separating them.