It was a glorious day for the 1st Stradbroke Triathlon on Sunday, May 17th and the 147 competitors eagerly queued from 7.00am to register. For many of us it was our first triathlon and we were rather nervous about what to expect. This only increased when we saw the old hands – those competitors who participated in national events, spent £6,000 - £8,000 on a bike and were sleekly dressed in expensive tri-suits.

We watched in awe as they went through a series of extraordinary warm-up exercises while we sipped on water – not too much for obvious reasons. Humility reigned as I looked at my bike, Douglas, with his 6 gears and only 4 working. Perhaps this was a big mistake. But no time for doubts as we were quickly herded to the pool-side, fitted with individual chips for timings then every 30 seconds competitors into the water. 'Nice to see someone wearing a bright swimsuit' exclaimed the ref to me making me feel even more an outsider as the only one not wearing black. Time up and in and off.

From then on it was a whirl and, most surprisingly, really thrilling. All sense of nausea and inadequacy disappeared and I was actually enjoying it! The Marshalls along the cycle route shouted great encouragement – I cannot thank them enough for that as it was a real boost. The wind was not kind between Horham and Worlingworth and the never-ending desert of 'The Tannington Straight' was a challenge but it was exciting and the adrenaline was pumping even when Wiggo Mark 2 whooshed past in his space-age helmet with his solid wheels merely a blur.
The run was the hardest part – my legs felt like blocks of wood but such great encouragement from the Marshalls and spectators made me press on. Suddenly it was all over..the finishing line crossed and my chip processed. A terrific feeling of achievement was felt by all of us – there were group hugs and much laughter – we'd done it.
There were lots of amazing winners (see the full results) although we had all won in our own way. From signing-up in November to battling through training with Moira in the grim winter months to actually completing. It was a fantastic event and I cannot praise the Pool/Gym highly enough for organisation and support especially Callum Towler who has spent hours preparing for the perfect day.
I hope to see you all there next year!
Gillian Rennie-Dunkerley