Ellesmere triathlon competitors storm home in impressive style - with pictures
Athletes from all over the country descended on Ellesmere to take part in its annual triathlon.
Among the men and women lining up at the start line in Cremorne Gardens in Ellesmere at breakfast time yesterday, was Chester-based BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin.
A keen amateur triathlete, she qualified as a member of the 2015 Great Britain Age-Group Triathlon Team (45 to 49 age group) and last month was one of 250 people to take on the gruelling Norseman Triathlon in Norway.
Early autumn sunshine presented perfect weather conditions for the 600 athletes who took to the water at the town’s Mere, before heading out on their bikes on to the surrounding country roads and lanes. Then it was back to the mereside for a run.
There were three categories for racers to chose from: the relay which was a 2000m swim, 78k ride and 20k run; the Olympic comprising of a 1500m swim, 39k ride and 10k run and the sprint which was 750m swim, 25k ride and 5k run.
All who crossed the finishing line got a medal to take home. Organisers said the event ran like clockwork. Vic Bickerton said: “The fact that it is all focused on Ellesmere is part of its appeal. It is quite a flat course and that is great for athletes chasing personal bests. The weather was wonderful with very little wind and that is what the athletes like.”
Crossing the finishing line as the first woman to complete the Shropshire Triathlon in Ellesmere was a major achievement for Swedish-born Londoner Anna Bergsten as the 28-year-old only learned to front crawl earlier this year.
Anna, who works in finance stormed in to the finisher's area in an impressive 1:22:00
She said: "This was my first sprint. It is always nice coming first but it was tough and I have to admit I didn't feel it today. The swim was really hard. Then in the cycling my feet were really cold. I had no idea what to aim for in terms of my time as I had not done this course before, but I am really pleased."
The first man home in the sprint was Matthew Collins, 17 from Ellesmere who trains with Oswestry Olympians. "I am really happy with my time of 1:11:07," said Matthew who is studying PE, maths and biology at the Marches Sixth Form. "I train daily so it has really paid off."
Lloyd Bebbington, from Newcastle Tri Club, came in at 2.02 for the Men's Olympic. He was disappointed to have missed the two hour mark. "I'm pleased overall," he said. "It was a bit chilly this morning for the swim but the bike ride went well."
For Chris Hewson, 29, from Liverpool, this was his third triathlon in three weeks and his finishing time of 2:08:13 was hard fought. "I was dying towards the end and it was a real struggle to run," he said. "The hardest stage by far for me was the run. The swim went really well and the lake was beautiful."
Bill Roissetter, 48, was competing alongside his friends and colleagues Colin 'Stan' Stanson, 42 and Jason Ashford, 36. The three men, who are stationed at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire were taking part in the relay. Bill completed a 1500m swim, while Stan biked 35k and Jason finished it off with a 10k run.
Bill said: "The swim went really well, the water was around 16° which was good. I have done mainly pool swimming and a few swims in the sea in Cornwall so this was a bit different. We travelled here from North Yorkshire and made a weekend of it. Everybody is up for it and that made it a great event to compete in. It was really well organised and a beautiful setting."
Vic Bickerton, event director for the day said: "It has gone really, really well. The weather was perfect, not too warm and with very little wind which suited everybody on the bikes. The water was a little bit chilly but not too bad."
The event, which has been used for the National Championships and as World Championship Qualifiers, attracts hundreds of athletes. Vic added that the organisation is now bidding for Ellesmere to host a championship race for British Triathlon next year.
"The triathlon here in Ellesmere is great because it is all in one place and in a great setting with the mere and the countryside," he added.