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Hundreds swim, bike and run through rain as Ellesmere Triathlon returns - gallery

By Aimee Jones | Ellesmere | Athletics | Published:

The return of the Shropshire Triathlon was bigger, better and faster than ever.

Hundreds of competitors headed to Ellesmere for the event which was saved by UK Triathlon.

The annual race began 25 years ago but was cancelled last year when Shropshire Council pulled out after cutbacks at the local authority.

Cheshire-based UK Triathlon stepped in to re-introduce the event which at one point was one of the biggest events in the race diary.

For 2018, there were new distances for those competing, including a super sprint and middle distance, aimed at all abilities.

The first man across the line was 17-year-old Chester Powell, from Birmingham, in the men's sprint race which consisted of a 750 metre swim in the mere, a 22k cycle and 5k run.

Charlie said: "I'm so shocked to have won," he said. "

It was really hard work but the bike course was fun. I really like the Ellesmere tri, even though it is hard. I'm going to have some well-earned rest after this win."

The event was the brainchild of the Sport and Recreation Service of Shropshire Council and until 2016 was run by a local organising committee involving volunteers and organisations from the local community.

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Juliet Suddaby from Shrewsbury said it was wonderful to see the event make a comeback.

The 50-year-old added: "It's a great event, but it was difficult today. The bike part was hilly and a bit slippy because of the rain. I was lucky to stay on but had to take it carefully.

"I loved the swim in the Mere. I think I'm the only person who thought the water was lovely and warm."

But winner of the women's super sprint, Aiobh Clarke from Hereford, thought the opposite.

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The 16-year-old said: "The water was so cold but I think it made me swim faster because I just wanted to get out.

"It was my first ever triathlon and I really wanted to do this one because I wanted to swim in the Mere.

"I still can't believe I won though. It feels so good."

Anna Shimali, 43, of Chester, took part in the event two years ago and came back for 2018 to win the women's sprint race.

She said: "I'm really, really happy to have won. I've never won a triathlon before so this feels amazing.

"I've been competing for about five years now. I did this one two years ago and really, really enjoyed it. I didn't expect to come back and win though."

The competitors were cheered along the route with strong support from residents lining the streets.

Paul Devaney, from Whitchurch, said the support makes all the difference.

The 43-year-old, who competed in the relay alongside Dewi Jones, said: "It was my first time ding this event but the support from the people of Ellesmere was wonderful. Thank you to everyone who took the time to shout, clap and cheer.

"The whole thing was awesome. The swim was refreshing - to say the least - and the bike part of the course was incredible."

The relay was won by Ronnie's Rockets from Concord College, near Shrewsbury.

Richard Beard, Ronnie Tse and Alex Pheby took on the course and were shocked to cross the line in first place.

"We didn't expect to do this well," Richard said. "We can't believe it. It was just an idea of a friend of ours and we thought 'why not'.

Ronnie added: "I've done four triathlons before and I can say the bike part was very fast, but very, very slippy.

"I did a little skid at one point and actually saw a person in front of me crash. But it was great and I can't believe we won."

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

News reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering North Shropshire, including Ellesmere, Whitchurch and Wem.

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