The fourth Markel Hever Castle Triathlon this weekend (29-30 September) was heralded as a huge success, with 3,500 triathletes from all across the UK taking part including 800 children, a number of first timers and TeamGB elites.
Heads turned as Tim Don, twice Olympic triathlete, currently ranked 7th in the world, raced through the High Weald of Kent, an area of outstanding natural beauty, and down the finishing line winning his race. Don was joined by his peers in praising the event and admiring the children’s participation.
The organisers claim the event to be ‘the largest children’s triathlon in Europe.’
With over 70 family groups competing, an inter-schools tournament, a women’s only wave, charity challenge relay races and elites battling it out for the series and winning trophies – there was a race for everyone. Many competitors were raising money for the event’s partner charities, Help for Heroes and Jigsaw4u, along with many worthwhile personal causes.
The Olympic distance, the longest of the six races, was won by David Bishop, member of the Loughborough Performance Squad, for the second year running.
“The Markel Castle Triathlon Series is now the biggest series in the country and it just keeps getting better,” said David Bishop.
“It stands out from other races because of its festival feel; at other events you turn up, race and leave, here you want to stay and soak it in. I am really pleased to have won the event today, particularly after winning last year. I had a tough battle against Rhys Davey though, but love the course and the awesome off road run. I am signing up for next year!”
The Markel Charity Challenge mid-distance relay race was won by Tim Don and Matt Smith. Markel insurance has now donated a total of £15,000 to charity across the series with £10,000 going to Macmillan Cancer Support from the Race Time Events wins, and Tim Don’s team choosing to share their winnings with The Willow Foundation and The Willow Hospice. (Each team member of the three winning teams this year also won the latest iPad.)
There were 70 families and 49 pairs of siblings racing at the weekend including identical twins, Steve and Nick Tidball (33). Nick from London and Steve from Sevenoaks raced the mid-distance race on Sunday coming first and third respectively. Nick said, “We totally loved the race. My brother heard about it only last week and knew the course would be incredible so we signed up and can’t believe we made the podium. We do train together a lot so it was a good battle to the finishing line!”
Brian Adcock, The Markel Castle Triathlon Series Race Director commented, “The series has grown by 25% this year with the Olympic triathlon having a dramatic effect on our registration figures. We could see the Olympic legacy take immediate effect with so many children taking part, double the amount as last year, and many claiming it as a testament to London 2012.
“It would be wonderful to think that we could harvest the next Brownlees with all these sisters and brothers who have taken part. We will certainly do our best to nurture their talent through our series of events that support triathletes from cradle to grave.”
The sun shone for the last event in the Markel Castle Triathlon Series this year, and for most this was the final race in the 2012 season. Thousands either competed or enjoyed the array of activities set up in the event village. These included archery, hot air balloon rides and a live band.
The organisers note that registrations are already flooding in for the 2013 series, which will include The Gauntlet, a new half iron distance, for triathletes ready to take in the stunning course and take on a bigger challenge.