I had not done this triathlon before, but have done a number organised by the excellent Race New Forest set-up. The race was based at Moyles Court School and the swim was in the familiar Ellingham lake. I was joined at the race by two fellow Hedgies in Mike B and Pete M. It made a lovely change being dry and warm as we had the race briefing just before the 0700 start at the lake. There was a sprint and a standard race on offer and the 3 of us were in the standard distance.

The race was soon off with an in-water start and a single 1100m loop of the lake. It's a great lake for swimming being very big with clear water. It took me a while to get into my rhythm, but with so much room, there was no argy-bargie at the start. I exited the water in just under 22 minutes which I was pleased with. I seem to always swim faster in a race than in training. This race was unusual as there was a 1 mile run along a country lane to T1. We were encouraged to place trainers at the lake and to bag our wetsuits. I duly put the wetsuit, goggles and hat into my numbered bag and pulled on my old trainers. The wetsuit bags were lined up in number order at the finish - a nice touch. Once I arrived in T1, it was out on the bike for a beautiful 22 mile lap of the Forest. It's a fantastic place to race but you need to keep an eye on the wildlife. I needed avertive action for a particularly stubborn cow in the middle of the road. It was a windy day, which meant the first few miles of the bike were great with a strong tailwind, but once we turned, it became a very tough headwind. All I could do was put my head down and grind through it! The end of the bike took me a bit by surprise, but I managed to get my feet out of my shoes and run into T2. As with all the Race New Forest events, the run is off-road and 'undulating' and was  a straight out and back 10k. I felt pretty good so upped the pace. My running has massively improved since joining Hedge End running club and I now enjoy overtaking athletes on the run - which is a new experience for me!

I finished in 2:12:42 which was 18th overall and 2nd in my age group, which I was very pleased with. There was tough competition on the day as the race was used as the club championships for Southampton Tri Club.

Mike and Pete finished strongly and also enjoyed their morning's racing. A great race in the New Forest with excellent organisation from the team at RNF. Definately recommended.



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