Thursday, 29 September 2016

Triathlon World Championship Finals, Cozumel, Mexico - Sept 2016

A report by Matthew Thorpe

At 06:45 on Tuesday 13th Sept 2016 I left home on my journey to the World Triathlon Age Group Championship Finals in Cozumel, Mexicohad left Leigh 5 days prior to my race so that I could adjust to the time and temperature differences to that of home. At 18:00, local time, I finally made it to my hotel after a 10 hour long flight and a four hour transfer by taxi and ferry. It was the equivalent of midnight for me and I was that tired and all I could do was to get something to eat then go straight to bed.
The following morning I had my first session; it was a practice swim in the sea. What an experience! The water temperature was around 28 degrees and was so clear that I kept getting distracted by the fish and coral. When I finished the swim it was around the time I had estimated that I would be starting the run on race day so I thought that I would have a see as to what that would be like. I set out at my usual race pace to see if I could cope with the heat of around 30 degrees and the 60-70% humidity, my GOD after just two miles, I “Bonked” and was reduced to a walk. I found some shade to recover for the journey back to the hotel.
The second day was a repeat of the first apart from me reducing my pace by a minute for the first 2 miles of the run and then increasing it for the return journey. This time the swim was more of a training swim as I had already seen the delights of the sea within the swim area designated by the hotel.
On the Friday they had organised a group ride to recce the bike course. This followed the coastline and it was an out and back course on totally flat roads that had only one pot hole.  Themajority of the course was covered by overhanging trees which kept the soaring heat of the sun off us. We covered most of the bike course making sure we didn’t hit any turtles or wild pigs on our way and our thoughts were that it was going to be a fast bike leg for the race.
Saturday came and the day was packed with race briefings, team photo, the racking of the bike and theI found time to watch the elite women’s race.  The race brief was done by the Team manager and the CEO of British Triathlon. We were given some additional advice as to how to cope with the conditions. It was then time to rack the bike in transition. On my way into transition I was surprised when I was taken to one side by ITU officials so they could scan my bike for motors (safe to say there was none). I was lucky to have a good spot within the transition area which was next to the swim in and run out and not too far away from the run in and bike out point. After that I had a walk from the swim exit to transition to formalise myself with the route, this was around 900m and included a foot bridge. After that it was now time to watch the elite women’s race.

After getting my breakfast at the hotel – no porridge only the American equivalent, a very watery oatmeal which I declined and had some bagels. I then picked up my race gear and got a taxi to T1 where my first job was to pump up the tyres on my bike – we had been told to let all the air out when we racked them so that they didn’t explode due to the heat. Then it was the usual visit to the portaloo: as you know in the UK they are not pleasant, my god these were even worse; you don’t flush its’ just a hole. Then it’s off to the holding area. 
Its here they announce that the swim was to be shortened to 1250m due to a very strong current. This was an understatement as you could see the start pontoon moving around quite vigourishly in the sea and the buoys needing to be held into position by support divers. The water temp was 28.5 degrees and at 06:50 it was time to enter the water. “WOW!!” you could feel the current; it was hard just to keep the one hand onto the pontoon. Then the one minute warning and then the hootersounded and we were off.
Not a great start to the race, my goggles where knocked off, luckily I had put my swim cap over the top of the strap so I did not lose them altogether and after resetting them it was time to play catch up. At the second turn buoy I’m now heading against the current and I’m slowly making my way through the pack.It’s a tough swim the current is strong, I get to the 3rd turn buoy and it has now become a struggle with the current. The divers are still trying to control the buoys and we were all over the place. I get to the 4th turn buoy and I get trapped on the line to the buoy wow that hurt, a nice cut along the neck. Around the turn and now I am swimming with the current, here I caught up with some athletes from the previous wave and eventually arrive at swim exit with a time of 22mins 58 seconds.
Now onto transition, I’ve not much to say about this apart from,“Who puts a bridge with such steep gradient’s right in themiddle of a 900m run from water exit to T1”! Time for T1 was 2mins 58 seconds.
Onto the bike course, this is the time to make up the ground I lost in the swim, the first 600m was on uneven paving stone then onto flat smooth roads. It was fast and I caught up to and overtook a few of my fellow age groupers keeping a good pace and making sure I drank enough fluid as the air temp was now 28 degrees with a humidity of 58%, this would continuallyincrease throughout the morning. What I couldn’t believe was the amount of drafting that was going on in the race a group, there were four Mexicans who looked like they were taking part in a tour de France team time trial. Ten miles into the bike course was completed in around 24 mins. I’ve started to make some ground, I make the turnaround point at 20km, just another 20 to go. The last 5km were open to the elements and you couldfeel the heat. I’ve drunk most of the fluid I took on the bike by then so it was time to take a salt tab and put my inhaler in the back pocket of my tri-suit ready for the run, taking my feet out for my bike shoes before the cobble type paving stones and finally off the bike. I had completed the bike leg in a time of59mins 53 seconds with an average speed of 24.7 mph.
T2 now and again not much to say time, 1min 10secs.
Final part, the runthis was the toughest run I have ever done.Straight out of T2 you are faced with the first water station, I take two cups and pour them both over my head to cool myself down. Its starting to get hot, around 29-30 degrees, you can feel the heat from the sun as well as it radiating off the cobbled floor.  I settle to the pace I planned to go at feeling comfortable. I made my way to the next water station and this time it was one cup of water and ice being poured on to my head and one to drink. I’m now onto the longest part of the run before another water station, this ran along the main road, all open to the elements and nowhere to hide from the sun. By this point I am now starting to make some ground on some others in my age group. Some athletes have now been reduced to a walk, others sitting by the road side it’s not looking good. I needed to stay focused and run the race at my pace and slowly chase those ahead of me down. At the next water station its same routine as before, good news its only 400m to the next water station: you know that’s its hot when the ice you put under your hat has melted before you have run the 400m.  Now at the turnaround point 5k done 5 more to go I’ve now chased down a few other athletes from my age group and am still feeling good, time to pick up the pace a bit. 8k complete, only 2k left, I’m nearly thereand I’m now feeling the pain. My feet are sore, I can feel the blisters on the bottom of my feet, the heat is taking its toll,I’m feeling dazed and all I can do I focus on the athlete in front of me hoping I can make it to the finish line. I pass an athlete being supported by another. At the finishing straight, oh what a feeling, the whole crowd are cheering you on and I can just about hear the commentator shout, “And for Great Britain it’s Thorpe”. I’ve done it in a time of 46mins 57 seconds
Total time 2hr 13mins 58 and i am now enjoying an ice bath and a drink from a coconut shell.
What an experience one that I would like to do again, now to work towards Rotterdam in 2017.
None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for the help from others, especially the following who I would like to thank, my colleges at work, all those from Newton-Le-Willows Sea Cadets, all my family and friends whose donations have helped to pay for some of the considerable cost of being there. 
Also, those at Astley and Tyldesley Road Runners for all their support, training and racing advice since I joined nearly two years ago especially Chris and Linda Whittaker for letting me have the use their bike box.
Most importantly, my Mum and Dad, if it wasn’t for them none of this would have ever have been possible.
Thank you all so much.  

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

2016/17 A&T X-country Champs - by Mark Riches

2016/17 A&T X-country Champs - by Mark Riches

My earlier post HERE refers
I have made a decision regarding the clash on 29th October

The consensus seems to be to compete at the new fixture at Cuerden Valley Park as we have done Witton Park lots of times plus we have a chance of gaining promotion in the Mid Lancs League after last year's relegation

A&T X-country by Mark Riches

A&T X-country by Mark Riches
The first race in this year’s cross-country champs is this Saturday (1st October) at Astley Park, Chorley

Parking is chargeable up to 1 pm and free after 1 pm and is located at Hallgate Astley Village PR7 1XA

Unfortunately, I can’t be there as my daughter is moving house, but Kieran will collect the numbers from the registration tent and distribute on the day

If you haven’t been pre-entered, Keiran can arrange registration on the day, which is free

Start times - ladies 2:00 pm (6K) & men 2:30 pm (10K)

Further details on the website

If you need any clarification before Saturday, my contact details are below:

(e) (m) 07508213207

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Road Races 2017

I know the road season is just about coming to a close but I need to start planning ahead for the 2017 season.  Having spoken to various members and the committee I've decided to make some slight changes to road season for next year.

Over recent years we have followed the CLGP as our road fixtures,  I still intend to support the local clubs that support us but I also want us to enter new races to keep things fresh and interesting.

I'm currently researching ideas and looking at adding races possibly from

St Helens
Dunham Massey

and possibly an away trip to Blackpool, Lancaster or the Lakes

and also adding a new distance of a 1 mile club race.

There will still be opportunity for people to enter all CLGP if they so wish and receive bonus points etc.

If anybody has any suggestions or recommendations I'm prepared to listen.

Also I may take this opportunity to add in another league  in the males and ladies championships (or even change the qualifying times) . Again your opinions matter and I will listen.



Monday, 26 September 2016

SWINTON 10 - Captains Log

Swinton 10 miler was the final race in this years club championships.   The race was poorly attended with only 158 finishers.  However A&T had a great turnout as per usual with 18 runners, and all 18 managed to sty on their feet unlike last year.  The weather again was kind whilst we were running, but the overnight rain made parts of the course very slippy indeed.

First back for the mean and finishing 11th overall was Tim Campbell, he was followed in by Simon Ford and Neil Hughes.

First back for the ladies for her first ever 30pts was Lousie Simpson (fuelled by jagerbombs) and she was followed by Vanessa Thomson and the Nicoal Scott who both had amazing runs - well done ladies.

There were no individual prizes for A&T but the mens 'A' team picked up second place and the ladies  5th place overall.

As my first season as Road Captain draws to an end I would like to personally thank everyone for turning up and racing throughout the year.  The league table will be updated shortly and will be uploaded to the new website in due course.   There is still a chance for you to pick up some points via park run or marathon times - I check park run on a weekly basis but you must let me know if you want me to add you marathon times to the scoring.

In the CLGP standings there might be a few of you that need to run GINPIT 5 to obtain prizes etc - Once I have received that update I will update those people accordingly.

Finally - There have been 3 Runners for the club which have turned up at every race this season in the road section.    MARK COLLINS, IAN HAMILTON and  myself.  Thanks guys that is a massive commitment and fully appreciated.

Thanks Cap'n CB

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Turkey Trot

A date for your diary...

The Turkey Trot handicap race will be held on Thursday 29th December

More details to follow ....

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

T-shirts have arrived!

The t-shirts have arrived, modelled by Captain CB!

The only way to secure one of these beauties is to be in the first 250 entries at the Gin Pit 5 on Sunday 9th October

Monday, 19 September 2016

Thunder Run 2017 by Tim Campbell

Thunder Run 2017
Hi all. Thunder Run next year is on the weekend of 22nd / 23rd July.  The date of entry is 10th Oct and it sells out almost instantaneously, so we need to know who would like to do it in advance.  If you fancy a crack in an A&T team next year then please let me know by 8th October so that we can work out how many teams we need and also let me know if you would like to be part of a team of 2, 5 or 8 (if you're going solo then you can sort yourself out!)
If you have no idea what this is then it's basically a camping trip, interrupted by a 10k off-road relay over 24 hours. You can see more details at
Let me know either through Facebook or my email which is

Friday, 9 September 2016

Gin Pit 5 Update

The Committee (plus Gary S who has kindly offered to help) met on Wednesday night after training, to finalise plans for the race on Sunday 9 October 2016; brief notes below:

  • I will not be able to be there on the day as my wife has booked a surprise trip to Carcassonne, so Chris Bennett will start the race and do the presentation. I have, however, arranged race permit, race adjudicator (Alan Barlow) and medical cover (Manchester Medical)
  • Chris will also do the timekeeping with Gary, Tim + ano
  • Dave has now had offers of help with the marshalling from Craig Bradbury, Neil Hodgson,, Jon Hyde & Chris Scholes
  • Gary still needs one more person to help with registration & 2 people to help hand out t-shirts
  • We will not open the kitchen (coffee machine is available) and the kitchen staff will hand out the t-shirts post race
  • No lead bike
  • Dave will get approx. 260 bottles of water from Costco
  • Mike Carter has offered to help with course set and clear up
  • Updated volunteer list HERE

Finally, although the club website is currently offline, you can still use the Blog LINK

Wednesday, 7 September 2016


A massive congratulations from everyone at A&T to our very own lovebirds Stu and Josie who got married with secret wedding in Vegas! All the best from all of us! x

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Gin Pit 5 Volunteers Required

We are looking for volunteers to help out with the Gin Pit 5 which is on Sunday 9th October.  If anyone can help please email or contact a committee member via email or facebook.

10 course marshals - Dave Sloan (team leader), Jason Revill and son, Clare Unsworth, Craig Bradbury, Neil Hodgson, Jon Hyde, Chris Scholes, Suzanne Gregory, Claire Matchwick

3 x Car Park (can race) - Tim Campbell (team leader), Chris Bennett, Mark Collins

3 x Registration (can race) - Gary Stevens (team leader),  Louise Simpson, Rachel Haslam, Emma Stevens (if needed)

3 x Time Keepers - Gary Stevens (team leader), Chris Bennett, Tim Campbell, Chris Whittaker

1x Water Station - Cath Worsley (need to arrange water to get to the finish)

1 x presentation - Chris Bennett

1 x race starter - Chris Bennett

3 or 4 x handing out t-shirts -Emma Stevens, Annabel Stevens, Liz Ellicott

Course set and clean up (can race) x 2 - Jon Hall (team leader), Mike Carter