Escape From Alcatraz

Emma Lamont got the opportunity to race ‘Escape from Alcatraz’, a bucket list race for all triathletes. She didn’t only escape from the San Fransisco jail, she was first in age group. A brilliant international performance…

Escape from Alcatraz is a race that has been on my bucket list pretty much as long as I have been taking part in triathlons. With my 30th birthday in July of this year, I decided that I would mark the occasion by trying to get a slot in the race – there is a ballot to get a slot, so I was lucky to get a place at my first attempt.

The lead up to the race went well for me with a second place at the Scottish Standard Distance Championships just a couple of weeks before. Although I had a poor swim, this was made up for with a strong bike leg on my new Wilier Twin blade – a FAST machine! I then had a strong run to hold onto the Silver medal. The race was held at Strathclyde park near Glasgow, the venue for the triathlon at the Commonwealth Games this summer.
Escape from Alcatraz is a unique event consisting of a 1.5 mile swim from Alcatraz island back to San Francisco city, followed by an extremely hilly 18 mile bike ride and then a hilly 8 mile run which takes in the famous 400 step sand ladder.

Race day was an early start with racking at 4:15am! For the first time ever I was happy that I was still jet lagged, because it made the 3:30am alarm a little easier. Following the boat trip out to Alcatraz, the sound of the horn signalled the start of a manic scramble to jump from the boat alongside the 2000 other competitors. This was a pretty daunting prospect, almost elipsing the concern I had about the swim itself.  The swim is notorious, with the strong currents in the San Francisco Bay making it extremely difficult. Also with no buoys involved, as is the case with your usual triathlon, this was a different experience altogether.

Upon surviving the swim, I then faced a 0.75 mile run to get to T1, I was regretting not putting shoes on by the time I made it to my bike, but those thoughts were short lived as I jumped on my bike and headed out on the amazing course.

Back into T2, I managed to hold my position, although I did not know what this was at the time? Only a mile into the run, I was informed that I was only just behind the leading lady and then within the next mile I managed to grab hold of the lead. The hilly course suited me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The sand stairs were just as hard as I imagined, not because of the length, but because the sand was so soft that you could not possibly run up them. It was a case of getting to the top as quickly as possible by any means possible and then pushing onto the finish line.

The support throughout the race was absolutely outstanding, the best I have ever seen at a race. The kids were high fiving all the way up the finishing line. All in all it was a fantastic race and I was on a massive high after finishing 1st age group female. It was then onto Las Vegas to celebrate in style.

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