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The Ladies in London prove tri-umphant at world’s biggest triathlon
July 29, 2013Article by Ray Withers
After months of training, the time had come. It was D-day, or rather T-day, on Saturday 27th July, the date of the Virgin Active London Triathlon.
The biggest triathlon in the world with over 13,000 participants was held at the ExCel exhibition centre in London’s Docklands and brought together both professional and amateur triathletes alike including Frontiers Foundation Trustee Charlotte Ashton and former Property Frontiers team member, Niamh Sugrue.
The Ladies of London has previously participated in the Sprint Relay team at the Blenheim Triathlon in June last year but now, eager to raise the challenge and even more funds for the Foundations’ latest cause, Project Crescar, Charlotte and Niamh took on their first solo triathlons.
It was a hot, sunny day as the ladies and their loyal supporters (Adam Samuel, Chintan Mahida, Conor Sugrue and Georgina Green) make their way from west London to east. Niamh and Charlotte soon entered the transition area, racked their bikes, zipped themselves into their wetsuits and lined up with the other 150 women in their category – most of which were reassuringly first time triathletes.
The event started at 11.20am with a 400m open water swim in the Royal Albert Dock which, despite being the Thames was “cleaner than your average swimming pool” – or so the announcer said. Niamh aka The Fish was off like a flash, beating the competition (and quite a few men from the earlier wave) literally out of the water in a superb time of 9 minutes 40 seconds.
Charlotte followed minutes later and after a tricky wetsuit removal moment, both ladies were on their bikes, cycling the 10km around the roads of ExCel. Assuming that the Docklands area was pretty flat, the ladies were in for a shock with a number of undulating sections and quick a few steep inclines to negotiate, especially cruel at the end.
More akin to land than water, it was on the bike ride that Charlotte made up time and managed to catch Niamh, completing the 10km (and the rest!) course in 26 minutes and 43 seconds.
With no wetsuit removals to slow them down, the final transition was a much speedier affair and Niamh and Charlotte were soon commencing the last leg of their Super Sprint – a 2.5km run. The temperature had quickly picked up and soon they were running around a winding course in near 30 degree heat and blazing sunshine which made the sprinkler half way around even more welcome.
With some much needed encouragement (and a rather loud vuvuzela!) from their supporters on the last corner, Charlotte and Niamh entered the ExCel hall and crossed the finish line with times of 1 hour 15 seconds and 1 hour 6 minutes, 10 seconds respectively. Both ladies finished well within the top third of the field which was a superb achievement.
With their medals proudly around their necks, the ladies were soon making their way back to west London for a well-deserved celebratory lunch and some drinks. Charlotte and Niamh were undeniably tired but also elated; especially when they found out that they had not only met but smashed their fundraising target with £630 banked for Project Crescar!
Over £3,000 has now been raised for this superb community project in Brazil’s favelas and with only £2,000 more to raise this year, Charlotte, Niamh and the rest of the Frontiers Foundation team are already gearing up for their next challenge – the Abingdon Dragonboat race in September. Watch this space for more details…