Fleetwood Triathlon completes thrilling Fylde coast series

No time to waste as the athletes race from one discipline to the next in the Fleetwood Triathlon
No time to waste as the athletes race from one discipline to the next in the Fleetwood Triathlon

More than 500 athletes contested the 11th annual Fleetwood Triathlon.

Children aged as young as seven got the event under way at 8am on Sunday followed by the adults as all the competitors undertook a swim in the YMCA pool, then a cycle ride and a run on the seafront.

While the younger competitors completed various distances, the adult race comprised a 400m swim, 20km bike ride and 5km run.

They were competing not only for the Fleetwood title but also to be Fylde Tri-logy champion 2019 as this event completes an annual series of three, preceded by similar spectaculars at Ribby Hall and St Annes.

And the race for the series title could hardly have been more delicately poised, with just one second separating the leading men going into the Fleetwood race and less than a minute between the top women.

To add to the drama at the finish line one male athlete fell to his knees – not in exhaustion but to propose to his partner, who also raced and had enough energy left to say ‘yes’.

In perfect conditions, blind racers completed the course in tandem and many first timers were overjoyed to become triathletes.

The men’s race was won by Stuart Robinson, who is now a force to be reckoned with in international triathlon.

Representing Ribby Hall Tri Club, veteran Stuart completed the event in 58mins, 53secs.

Ian Roberts returned from injury with a brilliant second place (59.34) and John Garnsey was third (60.25).

Stuart claimed the overall Tri-logy trophy, with fellow vet John close behind.

In the women’s race there could be only one winner.

Barbara Holmes had just flown back into the country after competing for Great Britain in Switzerland and France last week, including a half-ironman event.

Barbara was also celebrating turning 60 as she won the Fleetwood race and the Fylde series as a super vet in 66.00.

Rhianna Parkinson had competed with Barbara all year and continued to chase hard in Fleetwood, despite a fall from her bike.

Rhianna finished second in the race (67.48) and the series, with Lauren Brook of Rossall Tri third on the day (68.14). Caroline Betmead of Blackpool Wyre and Fylde AC was third in the series and fourth on the day (68.33). Lauren was also the fastest junior.

Race organiser Tim Armit said: “What a year and what a race to finish with. The kids were amazing and we know they will step up to race as adults as the years move on, so watch out everyone.

“I really would like to pay tribute to Peter Knott, who died recently and without whom triathlon in the north-west would not be where it is today. He competed last year at 82 years of age and was a mentor for so many of us in the sport. This race was for him.”