Cotswolds Classic Triathlon is a middle distance (half iron) event consisting of a 1900m swim, 90km bike and 13 mile run. There were 5 of us from Hedge End Tri and running club competing, with several being their first attempt at this longer distance.

The venue was the Cotswolds Water Park near Cirencester and as usual with these bigger events, briefing was held the day before and most of us camped on the Saturday night as racking had to be finished by 6am Sunday morning!

The swim was in a pleasant, shallow lake and competitors were set off in waves every 10 minutes. Myself and Louise Gretton were in wave 4, with Mark Maslin in wave 5. Spreading the competitors out this way meant that there wasn't the usual "scrum" at the start and it was a rather calm swim experience!

One lap of the 1900m course and we were into transition and off on the 2 lap 90k bike course. The route was mainly on quiet country roads and flat apart from one steep hill and a couple of bumps! Unfortunately the road surface wasn't great otherwise this would have been a really fast course. I normally like 2 lap courses but the euphoria of passing through the finish and off onto lap 2 didn't last long and it was quite a long slog back. Competitors had their names written on their numbers and I amuse myself by giving them nicknames. There was careful Mike, who slowed down far too much round corners, gutsy Guy, who would cane it past me only to annoyingly slow up almost immediately, adonis Antoinne who was far too muscly to be going that fast and Zippy Zac who I managed to keep up with for around 10 miles before having to let him go!

Reaching T2 I was very pleased with my swim and bike times but to go sub 5 hours, I needed a 1:38 half marathon and I knew that was never going to happen! I much prefer the longer runs as it always takes me a while to get into my running. This was a 3 lap course, round the lake on trails then with a road and woodland section. I loved the course in the end and after swearing round the first lap and wondering how I ever did an ironman and vowing never to do something like this again, I managed to speed up on the last 2 laps and actually enjoyed the last 8 miles. Very pleased to finish in 5:07 and was followed not far behind by Louise (5:35... whoop whoop) and Mark (5:42) who smashed their first ever attempt at this distance.

Definitely recommend this event, well organised and the marshals were fantastic. If anyone is looking to do their first half then the Cotswolds Classic would be perfect!

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