ITU Champs Qualifier

Two of the TORQ triathletes were racing at the highly competitive Chester Triathlon, which also doubled as a qualifier for the Edmonton ITU Standard Distance Triathlon World Championships. So with a stacked field of 824 athletes, both of them performed incredibly well to climb the podium and achieve 2nd and 3rd overall and 1st and 2nd in age group…

Iain Robertson (3rd overall/2nd in age group): I competed in the Chester – Deva Triathlon in 2013 and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was looking for a standard distance race two weeks out from the European Championships and this event fell perfectly. Although not ideally located from Norfolk where I live, the journey was well worth it. Deva Triathlon was voted Triathlon England event of the year in 2013 and it is not hard to see why. Everything about the race was organised well and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

On the Sunday morning we were greeted with blue skies and sunshine. The swim was in the River Dee and is slightly more up stream than down. Not a fast swim course, but tactics are important to try and hug the river bank on the way up and swim centrally on the way back. This was my best swim of the season so far, I managed to stay out of trouble so as not to get bashed about too much, but also stayed in touch enough to get the assistance of drafting. Fortunately the person in front of me was swimming a really good line. On reaching the exit of the swim, the marshals literally drag you out of the river, then there is an up hill run to the transition area. I felt as though I had swum well and now was my chance to chase down those ahead.

I got through transition well, the roads leading out of the city centre are closed for the duration of the race, which really helped when you are faffing around with getting shoes on and taking on nutrition. Quickly out of the city and on to more rural roads, this is an undulating course, but certainly not hilly compared to the surrounding countryside. I was passing plenty of people from earlier waves and felt like I was making good progress. There were some really fast sections of this course with a few hills to make it testing. I had a frustrating moment when a farmer decided to move his herd of cows across the road, but after a bit of weaving past cows I was on my way again! Entering T2 I knew I must have been fairly near the front of my AG as there were very few bikes around. At the start of the run someone shouted “Chris is 2 minuits ahead” that being Chris Standidge fellow TORQ team mate.

I was feeling great running off the bike and pushed hard to see if I could make any inroads into that gap between Chris and I. The run was a 3 lap course, there were lots of people to aim for and the turn around point helped gauge progress against other competitors. I had come out of T2 with Jonny Mclean, who I have raced recently and could see that I was pulling away from him on the turn around. On the second lap I caught sight of Chris which spurred me on. Crossing the line, I had just dipped under 2hrs, which I was very surprised about and extremely pleased with. 2nd in my AG and 3rd overall and just 19 seconds off the win.

I felt that this had been a really big step up for me, finishing ahead of some guys that I had never beaten before and getting on the podium in a top quality event. Bring on Kitzbuhel!

Chris Standidge (2nd overall/1st in age group): Next up on the race calendar was Deva Triathlon. I had done it the last 2 years with a 2nd and 3rd overall, so I was out to try and get the full set this year, but with it being a World Champs qualifier, I knew the competition was going to be tough. The tough swim from last year with 850m upstream had played into my hands and opened up everyone that little bit more than usual. This year the current wasn’t nearly as strong, but as normal I took the swim out hard, swimming alongside Ian Shackcloth who I can always rely on to the do the same!

On to the bike and it was head down for the 40k, trying to hold on to the lead, but also thinking about what is happening in other waves. I use the previous waves competitors as a bit of an incentive, picking them off as I go. Bike time was about an hour, a minute faster than last year, in slightly windier conditions, so was happy with that.

Just the run to go, and I was not feeling it from the off – I knew it was going to be a ‘grind it out’ kind of day. At the turnaround I got an idea of my lead as I spotted team mate Iain Robertson in the distance. I kept pushing on and it really wasn’t happening, but I had just enough of a lead to hold off Iain who closed in to within about 30 secs. I was happy about the overall position though, but missed out on winning the event outright by just 3 seconds! Happy to have been on the podium again for the 3rd year running.

Overall results and race information –

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