DUTri off to point-scoring start to the season

The following is an article provided by Palatinate.

DU Triathlon- Callum Stewart

DUTri kicked off their season in a somewhat ironic fashion, competing at the annual BUCS Duathlon Championships at the Castle Coombe circuit. Despite the event being a stage less than what most of the team were accustomed to, this was the perfect event to open the season and exhibited some strong performances from the Palatinates.

Arriving at Swindon on the Saturday afternoon, the team made the now traditional pilgrimage to Swindon Tesco for the pre-race food, before moving on to Fratello’s restaurant for the perfect carbo-loading meal. After a brilliant dinner of excellent Italian cuisine, the team settled down for an early night in prep for the race the following day.

On the morning of the race, the nerves were noticeable throughout the team on the as the short coach journey to the race venue. Bikes were dutifully set in the transition area and the long warmup process for the men began in preparation for their 1pm start. These hours flew by as the first race of the season rapidly approached. Soon enough, DUTri’s male team members were assembled on the start line and ready to get their season under way.

In the Mens race, Luke Grenfell-Shaw had a very consistent performance, finishing 9th while also managing to beat his time from last year by thirty-five seconds. This feat was even more impressive considering Grenfell-Shaw was struggling with a nasty illness. The second Durham counter was David Robertson finishing in a strong place of 33rd in a time of 44:52.

President Callum Stewart also produced a cracking performance, coming in as Durham’s third counter in a time of 46:28, in 76th place. Stewart was delighted with his effort, considering it represented a huge personal best compared to last year, beating his previous time by over five minutes. Finn followed closely behind in a time of 46:51 in 81st position. Andrew Scott also turned in a great performance too, narrowly missing out on the top 100. Hugo Macmillan deserves a special mention for racing on his birthday to complete his first ever Duathlon while Rory Macmillan and Max Aitchison followed closely behind, despite the former suffering a double tyre blow-out an hour before the race.

With the pace even quicker than previous races, Durham would have actually finished 30+ places up the leader boards in the event the previous year on the basis of their times. Nevertheless, it was an incredibly strong performance from the men, with everyone finishing in the top 135 out of a field of 600 men. As a result Luke, Dave and Callum’s combined times were enough to give Durham an 8th place team ranking and the first BUCS points for DUTri this year.

Next to step up were the girls. Seven of Durham’s finest were on the start line – the strongest female triathlon team the Palatinates have fielded in recent years. After a strong first run, club captain Lauren Munro-Bennett came in to transition near the front and with a quick transition led the first bike lap. With continued effort, Lauren finished the bike in sixth before holding her place to the line, to finish in sixth place.

Victoria Duncan was the second Durham athlete across the line in 11th place. The strong contingent of Katy Hill, Mari Cole and Kat O’Mahony rounded out the side in 34th, 45th & 60th respectively. Special mention goes out to Becky Dell who despite recent health issues, finished strongly to ensure all the women were in the top 100. It was going to take something special to match the men’s performance but the women certainly rose to the occasion with Lauren, Victoria and Katy securing 4th place on the team event.

With both male and female teams scoring BUCS points for DUTri in the first event of the season, the signs are promising for bigger points hauls for the Palatinates in races to come.

Photograph: Callum Stewart