The final big race of the academic year for the club took place on a beautiful day in the Staffordshire countryside. The University of Exeter had thirteen athletes taking part this year and for many it was their first Olympic distance event. For Pete Dennison however, it was his first ever triathlon.
The start was split into two waves, with the men starting at 7:40 in the morning and the women following on 40 minutes later. Despite a last minute panic when the zip got stuck on Ollie Teenan’s wetsuit, all nine men from Exeter were in the water with time for a quick warm up before the start.
When the race started, the typical mad rush to the first buoy began. The rough nature of open water swims caused problems for some of the men from Exeter, with Ollie and Jack Bristow both believing they lost some time as a result of not being able to settle into the swim initially. It was even worse for Roland Kromanis who unfortunately felt unable to continue after the first lap and pulled out of the race. The lake water also caused problems later in the race for James Phillips and Joscha Ramcke, both of whom were unwell during the bike due to accidentally swallowing some water.
Despite this mishap, James was still the second athlete from Exeter out of the swim, behind Mathias Mortensen and a couple of minutes ahead of Jack, whom was third fastest. On the bike Mathias extended his advantage over James whilst Jack dropped back further from both of them towards Joseph Perkins who was putting in a strong bike leg to make up for losing time in the swim. It was a relatively uneventful cycle for the four of them with the exception of Jack having a near miss at the very end of the route when his pedal clipped the floor. It was a much more interesting race for Ollie, Pete, Pablo and Joscha behind. Pete and been first out of the swim but was passed by Ollie and Joscha during the bike whilst Joscha went on to catch Ollie right before the second transition. Pablo had been second of the four in the swim but fell back quite a bit on the bike. The rolling nature of the bike course suited some more than others, with Joscha finding it quite technical compared to other triathlons whilst Jack felt the inclines helped him keep in touch with stronger cyclists who were less comfortable climbing.
At the time the men were beginning to finish the cycle the women were just starting. Clare Parkin was first from Exeter out of the lake with a strong swim, a minute and a half ahead of Emily Paix. Milly Lewis was third of the Exeter women with Harriet fourth, though Harriet was left wondering if she had accidentally done an extra lap. During the bike, Emily was very unlucky when a problem with her gears meant she dropped back behind Milly and Harriet and lost a lot of time.
James felt better on the run and enjoyed the fact that the run course was three laps of a circuit, despite falling over at one point. He gained some time on Mathias but was unable to catch him. Mathias finished 13th with a very good time of 2:01:40, with James finishing 21st with a time of 2:05:35 which was about the time he was aiming for. Jack pleasantly surprised himself with a run time of 37:57 and finished 47th. Joseph followed up his strong bike riding with a strong run but was disappointed to miss out on the top 50 with his finishing time of 2:18:10. Despite being caught by Joscha on the bike, Ollie surged ahead on the run and was happy to significantly improve on the time he set at Hever Castle in September. Pete put in a very good performance in his first ever triathlon and finished in a time of 2:32:49. Clare had been feeling good on the run until the last lap, when she dropped off a bit, but still finished in a time of 2:35:00 and was Exeter’s fastest woman. Joscha dropped back on the run as a result of still feeling the effects of drinking lake water and finished 136th. Harriet caught up to Milly on the run by just under two minutes but was still three minutes back at the finish after her possible lap-counting mishap on the swim. Pablo, who had only done his first triathlon a month earlier and was taking part in his first Olympic distance race, put in a respectable run time to finish in 2:57:57. Emily’s remark at the finish of “thank God for that” summed up her race where she’d been hit by terrible luck but she eventually finished strongly after 3:06:06.
For many of those who took part it was their last race for the university before graduating and it was good to go out on a high. Everyone can be proud of what they achieved and hopefully club members will enjoy continued success over the summer.
The full results for University of Exeter Triathlon Club members are as follows:
Mathias Mortensen – 13th – 2:01:40
James Phillips – 21st – 2:05:35
Jack Bristow – 47th – 2:13:55
Joseph Perkins – 63rd – 2:18:10
Ollie Teenan – 83rd – 2:24:07
Pete Dennison – 121st – 2:32:49
Clare Parkin – 130th – 2:35:00
Joscha Ramcke – 136th – 2:37:21
Milly Lewis – 162nd – 2:50:24
Harriet Browning – 168th – 2:54:13
Pablo Hutchinson – 174th – 2:57:57
Emily Paix – 175th – 3:06:06
Roland Kromanis – DNF
Full results can be found here.