500 take part in Ellesmere triathlon

Hundreds of competitors braved rain and wind to tackle the 20th annual TRI UK Shropshire Triathlon in Ellesmere.

500 take part in Ellesmere triathlon

Hundreds of competitors braved rain and wind to tackle the 20th annual TRI UK Shropshire Triathlon in Ellesmere.

The gruelling course, which consists of a 1500m swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run, was completed by almost 500 athletes.

Lashing rain made the going difficult during part of the cycling leg but athletes enjoyed 'ideal' conditions for the swimming leg and cool weather for the run, organisers said.

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The event is one of only three qualifiers for this year's BTF World Standard Triathlon Championships which take place in Auckland in October.

But Shropshire Council leisure development manager Alan Penton said this year's attendance had been swelled by the fact the event also doubled as the British standard distance championships for age-group athletes. Last year's event attracted almost 400 competitors.

Loughborough's Carl Shaw was the fastest man to cross the line on Sunday in a time of 1hr 51mins 46secs while Tri London's Amy Forshaw was the first woman to finish in a time of 2:06:05.

County athletes entered into the Shropshire championships and the first local man to finish was James Emery of Westbury-based Torq in 2:03:10.

Shrewsbury's SYTri club member Charlotte Mountain was the leading county woman with a time of 2.32.13.

Other notable local finishers included Ellesmere Swim & Tri Club's Linda Arthan who was the second fastest woman in the 55-59 age category with a time of 2:51:27and SYTri's Melanie Oldacre, who was the third fastest woman in the 60-64 category in a time of 2:59:08.

Penton said: "The rain did come down very heavily at times which made it harder on the bikes but the swimming conditions were ideal and the running conditions were OK.

"It was a difficult run but (the weather) was cool.

"The times were generally a little bit quicker (than last year), certainly among the first couple of finishers."

He believed that was also down to the added attraction of the event doubling as the British Championships this year.

Ian Braid, British Triathlon director for major and national events, added: "The British Standard Distance Triathlon Championships provided the perfect platform for age-group athletes to achieve their personal triathlon challenges.

"To take part in any of our British Age-Group Championships is always a memorable occasion for any athlete, and with the additional prestige of being a qualifier for the GE Great Britain age-group team, we saw some fast and exciting racing in the Shropshire countryside."

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