Dave Neale in action for King’s Lynn Tri Club at the Holkham Outlaw event.

TRIATHLON: The season stepped up a gear at the weekend, with members of King’s Lynn Triathlon Club out in force. 

Chris Playford and Adrian Ebbs were both taking on full-distance (140-mile) races in mainland Europe. 

Often called Iron-distance, just getting to the start line is a 30-week anti-social journey through the worst of the British weather. 

Playford raced the iconic Challenge Roth in Germany, one of the largest races in the world, finishing the 3.9km swim, 118km cycle ride and 42km run in 13hrs 17mins and 04 secs. 

At Ironman Austria, Ebbs completed the scenic race with a coveted sub-12-hour time of 11.58 (1.22/6.07/4.11). 

It was also the middle-distance Outlaw half at Holkham. 

It involved a 1.9km swim in the lake, followed by an 89km ride to Sandringham and back via Fakenham, then a three-lap 21km run around Holkham estate in the sweltering midday sun. 

There were brilliant efforts in the 10km run on Saturday from Simon Riches, with a second place age category win, thanks to a time of 41.50, followed by Neil Gayton, 45.09, and Emma Thompson, 53.49. 

The weekend was mainly about the 1,200 triathletes on Sunday, however, and first to finish for the club was Rob Warwicker in 4.43 (39.07/2.29.28/1.32.25), a six-minute improvement on last year thanks to a rock solid run pace, earned him a second place age group win, 29th overall. 

Next home was Dave Neale in 5.27 (38.00/2.54.00/1.50.34) to defend his 2017 age group title with a lead of 15 minutes over the second-placed competitor. 

It looked like Steven Bowdery was going to finally beat Neale for the first time this season, being ahead off the bike but he just could not match his pace on the run and finished in 5.37 (40.11/2.50:22/2.03.43), 14 minutes quicker than in 2017. 

Mark Doughty completed his first race at this distance in 6.16 (50.43/3.15.33/1.57.53) and Arthur Seargent was the club’s fastest swimmer and finished in 7.32 (37.50/3.45.13/3.04.37). 

Jess Cunningham completed the swim and ride but decided to withdraw from the race on the second lap of the run. 

Anna Seaman and Ian Todd were competing in different relay teams, with Seaman completing her swim in 44.47 and Todd completing the ride in 3.20, having been drafted in at the last minute. 

The club were proud to once again be asked to run the main aid station, with members and their families cheering while keeping everyone cool and hydrated. 

Elsewhere in the region, Geraldine Jordan and Julia Pepperell (sprint) and Nicola Grant (super sprint) were racing in St Neots.

Grant finished in 58.39 with an age group win and Jordan achieved a two-minute personal best, despite a longer cycle leg than normal. More importantly it continued her unbeaten record against her brother, finishing second in her age group in 1.26. 

Pepperell finished in 2.05, third in her category. 

Esmie Kidman was in action at Culford School, having finished F5 in Tristar2 at Cambridge Tri the weekend before. She was chasing for third place until she crashed on a tight corner on the bike, dropping her down to finish F14 in 24.29.

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