The weekend (10-12th May) saw a ram-packed weekend of racing at the Llanelli Multisport Festival, organised by Healthy Life Activities. With the North Dock Charity Swim raising over £3000 for good causes across Carmarthenshire on the Friday evening, twelve hours of racing on the Saturday was topped off with Liam Lloyd and Hannah Munday capturing the opening stage of the 2019 Welsh Triathlon Super Series.
In what is one of the busiest multisport events of the year, there was 15 waves of racing taking place on North Dock on the Saturday. The local youngsters enjoying the community duathlon across Tristar and Tristar 1, 2 and 3 age groups, before the Triathlon activity begun with the opening IRC qualifier of the season. In a change to 2018, the Welsh representative team at Mallory will now be selected from the three open water triathlons within the Tristar Series, with Bala and Parc Bryn Bach to follow, Llanelli was the first opportunity to see our IRC candidates in action.
The Tristar 2 boys kicked off proceedings, and with little over a minute separating the top 3, it was Pembrokeshire’s Dewi Thomas who took the win with Ioan James and Rhys Caygill following closely. The Tristar 2 girls followed swiftly after, with a mere 15 seconds separating the top 3. Brecon’s Aelwen Davies took the victory, 3 seconds ahead of Anna Rose Merchant, having exited the water 20 seconds up. Lauren Mitchell of Medway Tri finishing third a further 12 seconds behind.
The Tristar 3 boys had clearly been watching the girls before, with 3 seconds again separating the top 2. Finlay Catling finishing in 27 mins 54s managing to hold off second place Luke Wyatt (27 mins 57s) having come out of the swim 47 seconds up. Oliver Jones from Ruthin joining them on the podium finishing third in a time of 28 mins 30s. In the largest Tristar field of all, The Tristar 3 girls closed proceedings on IRC qualifications with TCWs Abigail Davies taking top spot in a time of 28 mins 48s, which would have seen her in the lead group within the male wave. Having come out of the water together, Daisy Burton of Team Bodyworks finished third on the podium in a time of 29 mins 29s, with second place Eve Whitaker catching and passing on the run.
With the IRCs having finished, the young athletes then had the opportunity to witness the rest of the pathway, with the best male and female youth athletes competing within their European Championship Qualifiers. A blistering run built on a solid swim and cycle saw Bethany Cook of East Sussex lead the girls youth event in a time of 37 mins 43s Nottingham’s Elizabeth Edge and Barbara De Koning of Olney completed the podium. Ten seconds is what separated the male youth podium, with Hamish Reilly (34 min 37s) topping the podium, with Jack Stanton Stock (34 min 44s) and Dominic Coy (34 mins 47s).
Llanelli also saw twenty athletes compete across a Para Triathlon, again a Championship Qualifier. With 20 athletes completing across 12 different Para-Categories, there was an abundance of determination and endeavour on show. Oscar Kelly from East London was the first para athlete across the line in a time of 1:08:34 competing in MV13. Cardiff’s Michael Taylor crossed four seconds behind, but was competing in the MS4 Category, whilst third past the post was Bret Crossley from Leeds and Bradford Tri in the MWC1 category in a time of 1:09:14. Hannah Moore was the first female past the post in the FS4 category in 1:13:50 with Kerry Large (FS5 – 1:16:25) and Georgina Lord (FWC2- 1:25:15) the next lady to follow.
As the sun began to set, the final three waves of activity saw the best seniors and juniors across Britain go head to head in combined waves as part of the new British Super Series. Following on from the Welsh Super Series success in 2018, there is now a 6 stage British Series which will see the top domestic racers do battle, and there’ll be plenty of opportunity to see these athletes with 3 of the 6 stages actually taking place in Wales (other stages at Cardiff on 23rd June and Parc Bryn Bach on August 3rd).
Within the male wave, Rochdale’s Marcus Dey took the spoils in a fast and frantic finish, a little over 20 seconds separated the top 8 with winner Dey finishing in a time of 56 min 07s, with second place Harry Leleu of Loughborough finishing in 56 min 12s and Bath’s Will Crudington completing the podium a further second behind (56 min 13s).
Although with greater breathing space at the front of the field, the female wave was just as intense. Norwich’s Sophie Alden first out of the water and maintaining her lead throughout to finish in a time of 1:03:28. Nottingham’s Libby Coleman finishing second in 1:03:49 and Glasgow’s Erin Wallace a further 15 seconds behind (1:04:03). A tough race was also a return for the National Performance Centre Wales athlete Issy Morris. After missing the most of last season through illness, Morris clocked the fastest run leg by 30 seconds, showing signs of her potential and a warning shot to her rivals that it won’t be long before she’s fighting for the top spots.
After the starter of Friday night, the main course of Saturday came the icing on the cake, and dessert on Sunday with the opening stage of the Welsh Triathlon Super Series. With the 2018 series reaching a global audience of over 34 million viewers across multiple sport platforms, the start list for 2019 will hopefully attract those viewers again. Defending champion Alex Matchett, winner of all six male stages in 2018, again faced the challenge of Chris Silver, Olly Simon and Josh Lewis, but now this also included Liam Lloyd, Beau Smith, Sam Wade and Ross Simpson.
A lead group of 8 males left the water together, with the lead on the bike then exchanging hands on numerous occasions between Matchett, Lloyd, Silver, Smith, Lewis, Simon and Wade. As the lead group returned to T2, Matchett was the first to exit transition and looked to be on course to continue 2019 where he left off last season, but after 1500m, Lloyd and Matchett were neck and neck before Lloyd kicked away over the final 1000m, finishing in a time of 1:06:09, with defending Champion Matchett finishing 23 seconds down in 1:06:36. The battle continued behind the front two with 2019 newcomer Sam Wade taking third spot in a time of 1:07:12.
The female race was as hotly contested as the male race. 2019 newcomer Hannah Munday was the first lady out of the water, shortly behind the male lead group in 10 mins 48s, hotly chased by Carol Thomas, Rhiannon Middleton, Gwen Kinsey and Jasmine Bowyer. Munday remained at the front of the race throughout with Thomas unable to claw back the deficit with Hannah taking top spot in 1:17:53 and Carol following in 1:20:25. Rhiannon Middleton, third fastest out of the water completed the podium in 1:20:53. With last years’ female winner, Vicky Johnston not competing in 2019 due to injury, the female competition is blown wide open with last years podium finishers Catherine Marks and Katie Greenwood finishing in the top 10.
The next stage of the Welsh Triathlon Super Series takes place at the TATA Steelman, Port Talbot this Sunday (19th May) which also doubles up as the Welsh Triathlon National Standard Championship. Footage of this weekend will be aired on S4C this Friday (17th May) at 9:30pm and will then be accessible via BBC iPlayer.
Results can be found for the various events below:
- All British Triathlon races results can be found here
- Childrens race results can be found by clickng here
- Sunday results for women can be found by clicking here and the mens results can be found by clicking here
- The Tristar Series standings can be found by clicking here.
- The Current Standings for the Welsh Super Series can be found by clicking here.