A duo of keen Belvoir Tri Club members continued their search for a coveted place on the Great Britain Age Group Sprint Triathlon team at the weekend.
Karl Hunt and Martin Jolly travelled south to former 2012 Olympics venue Eton Dorney to take part in the second of the ITU World Championship qualifiers on Sunday.
In a change to regular age group qualifiers, competitors raced in waves solely against those against whom they were challenging.
Contesting the 45-49 age category, Martin was first off at 9.40am in a field of 48 entrants. He exited the 750m swim in 27th, completing the stage down on his usual time in 13min 46sec, and then lost two more places in transition as he struggled to remove his wetsuit.
But Martin recovered six places with a strong 21.2km bike leg, taking in four laps of the regatta lake. A much slicker second transition allowed him to gain two more places as he set off on the final 5km run.
He put in a solid run of 20:18 to finish in 22nd place overall with a total race time of 1:11:19.
Despite finishing three places higher than his last outing in St Neots earlier in the month, Martin’s position in the qualification standings remained at 107.98 per cent.
Martin said: “It’s been quite a learning curve for me, coming from a background of long course triathlon, specifically Ironman, converting all that endurance into flat out racing.
“The competition at sprint distance is huge, races are won and lost by seconds and I’m starting to learn that even the smallest improvements in training translate to competition; improvements that have been made available to me via club sessions, especially the Monday morning swim.”
Belvoir Tri clubmate Karl competed in the 40-44 age group and took two minutes off his previous qualifier swim time, exiting the water in 21st place out of 47 in a time of 13:06.
A slick transition saw Karl move up two places as he headed out on his favourite triathlon discipline – the bike leg. And he was not disapppointed, finishing seventh fastest in 32:39 to climb a further six places to 12th as he went into the final run.
With his bike quickly racked, helmet removed and running shoes on, Karl’s speedy second transition saw him start the run near the head of the bunch in 10th position.
However, despite running a near personal best for the final 5km, Karl dropped five places for an overall 15th place, recording 1:08:33 for the entire race.
The good news was that he improved on his qualification standings by more than two per cent, moving up one place to 107.25 per cent as he goes into the final qualifier at Holme Pierrepont tomorrow (Saturday).
Karl said: “With this being my second year in the GB Age Group camp, I now know a few of my contemporaries and that definitely helped as I knew who I had to beat and was very pleased to hold off Scott Loughran on the run, the part of the race where he has historically caught and overtaken me.
“I went on to beat him by 30 seconds overall, leap-frogging him in the qualification standings.
“This improvement in my run is definitely down to the quality training programme within Belvoir Tri Club, supported by Stefan Lawrence of TRI-SL-Training.”
l Competing a little closer to home, Belvoir Tri’s Abi Schofield took part in the NiceTri Standard Distance Aquathlon at Grafham Water.
Abi performed admirably, finished as first lady and took a creditable six place overall, with a typically strong race that saw her complete the 1.5km swim and 10km run in a total time of 1:12:20.
l For more information about the club, visit www.belvoirtriclub.co.uk