All posts by Fiona Russell

GTC awards in Triathlon Scotland Ranking Series 2019

Triathlon Scotland has announced the results of the You Can Sport Ranking Series 2019 with many GTC members winning awards. There were plenty of GTC names in the lists, too, which means our club’s participation across a list of races in the past year was very good.

The You Can Sport Ranking Series recognises and rewards consistent participation in various permitted events. Members gain points while competing in You Can Sport Ranking Series events and these points lead to overall and/or age group prizes.

Overall, in the large club section, GTC was second of five clubs with 651.83 points, behind Fleet Feet Triathletes with 1109.20 and ahead of Fusion with 514.70.

In the youth club rankings overall, GTC was second on 1475.99 points behind Fusion on 1736.05.

There are a number of different triathlon ranking categories for the adults.

There was also a Triathlon Scotland Awards ceremony , which saw professional triathlete and runner Beth Potter, originally from Bearsden, awarded the Elite Performance of the Year title.

Cross Triathlon Series

GTC athlete Juliette Linford took first place overall in the female rankings and first place in the senior age category.

Juliette says: “I was surprised to be ranked first. I wasn’t aiming for a ranking place, but I love cross races and I happened to do those that qualified.”

Another GTC member, Romy Beard was third overall and second in the senior age category.

Juliette was 2nd and Romy was 3rd in the Cross Tri Series.

In the men’s results, Nial Smith took fourth place overall and second in his senior age category.

Neal Padmanabhan was eighth overall and third in his super vet age category.

Duathlon Series

Craig Ross came 23rd overall and ninth in the senior age category, while David Hepburn was 29th overall.

In the Triathlon Sprint series, Craig Armour was 25th overall and 10th in his senior age category.

Craig Ross was 40th overall and 13th in the seniors age group.

John Kinsella 73rd overall and 6th in the vintage age group

In the female races, Celia Greig was 17th overall and fifth in the vets, while Louise Ross was 24th overall and 10th in the vets.

Alasdair Ireland, Alistair Young, Lochlan O’Sullivan, Stephen Macintyre, Martin Smith, Juliette Linford, Hilary Glen, Laura Henderson and Jane Grant also ranked overall.

Beth Potter and congratulates a young member of GTC.

Youth Aquathlon Series

Cory Mcconville took first place in the TriStarts (aged eight) category.

Joel Adler was fifth, Brodie Burnett was sixth and Ruben Devlin was seventh.

Cory says: “I love doing triathlon as it is so much fun and I get to do lots of swimming and running that I am good at. I was so happy and excited to win the aquathlon series and I am really proud of myself.”

Isaac Findlay also ranked in the Tristar 1 (9-10 age) group.

There was another first place, in the age category Tristar 2 (11-12) by Findlay Adler. Rory Treharne was third and Fraser Donaldson was fifth. Euan Lockhart also ranked.

Charlie Treharne was second in the Tristar 3 (13-14) category, while Cameron O’Brien was fifth.

In the Tristar Youth (15-16) male category, Jamie Glen was fifth and Callum Miller was sixth.

In the females age Tristar 1 (9-10), Erin Burnett was fourth, Isla Amon was sixth, Skye Dick was seventh and Ferryn Stewart was ninth. Anna Ross, Jodi Abel and Eilidh Grenhalgh also ranked.

Mirren Stewart first in the Tristar 2 (11-12) age group and Islay Jackson was eighth.

Calli Abel, Ella Lockhart, Eilidh dick, Lilian smith, Erin Grenhalgh and Mariyah Kareem also ranked.

Amiya Patel was second in the Tristar 3 age cat (13-14) and Lucy Donaldson came sixth. Holly Glen also ranked.

Holly Smith was fourth in the Tristar Youths (15-16).

Youth Triathlon Series

In the Tristarts, Brodie Burnett was third and Mcconville was fourth. Isaac Finlay also ranked.

In the Tristar 2s, in third, fourth and fifth places respectively were Rory Treharne, Fraser Donaldson and Finlay Adler. Also ranked was Euan Lockhart.

Charlie Treharne was third in the Tristar 3s. Alasdair Padmanabhan and Cameron O’Brien also ranked.

In the Tristar Youths, Cameron Miller was seventh.

In the female Tristarts, Talia Padmanabhan was second.

Ferryn Stewart won the Tristar 1s and Erin Burnett was third. Skye dick was seventh, Isla Amon was ninth and Eilidh Greenhalgh was 10th.

Mirren Stewart won the Tristar 2s and Nina Padmanabhan was fifth.

Islay Jackson, Erin Greenhalgh, Mariyah Kareem, Calli Abel, Eilidh Dick and Ella Lockhart also ranked.

In the Tristar 3s, Lucy Donaldson was fifth. Amiya Patel also ranked.

In the Tristar Youths, Mia Padmanabhan was fourth and Rachel Smith was fifth.

See all results and details.

Bruce smashes Ironman World Champs Kona 2019

GTC member Bruce Greenhalgh qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona at Ironman Wales 2018. Earlier this month, he headed to Hawaii and after finishing in an impressive time of 9 hours 53 minutes and 27 seconds, he described the race as “the highlight of my triathlon life”

In the run up to Kona, Bruce, who competes in the 40 to 44 age group, employed the help of a coach. He worked with Graeme Stewart, from Inverness.

After finishing Ironman Wales 2018.

Bruce says: “Training kicked off fairly quickly after Ironman Wales. The qualification for Kona had left me buzzing and I was eager to get started on training for Kona but I wondered what I could do to improve after mostly organising my own training plan for previous years.

“I thought that working with a coach would allow me to see how I could do things differently. Given that it was 13 months from Wales to Kona, I think that working with Graeme was useful because I probably would have over-trained earlier and burnt out way before the race.”

Ups and downs of training

Graeme adjusted Bruce’s training plan, including a focus on bike pacing. Bruce says: “I also did a lot of work on slower cadence cycling to build leg strength. This is the opposite to what I had previously been doing and this really helped to improve my efficiency on the bike.”

Bruce entered Ironman Lanzarote to break up his year of raining but things did not go so well. Bruce says: “Lanzarote was meant to be a way to practice racing in similar conditions to Hawaii. It turned out to be a brutal race, however, due to mistakes I made nutritionally.

“I finished in 11 hours 59 minutes and it did leave me wondering how I was going to cope with the heat in Kona.”

As Kona loomed, Bruce also started to feel intimidated by the reports from other people of the heat, wind and generally brutal course that he could expect.

Bruce says: “The athlete guide also suggested arriving in Kona three weeks before the race to acclimatise. But that was never going to happen.

“I arrived the Monday before the race and I was actually pleasantly surprised by the conditions. I got out and cycled a big chunk of the course. I also managed a couple of training runs, which helped to settle the nerves a little and gave me a better feel for how to pace the race.”

Bruce described the Kona race week as “a bonkers place”. He says: “It gave me a feeling of being an imposter, seeing all these athletes who looked like they were straight out of some photoshoot for the next Olympics as they galloped past me.

Sharing transition with triathlon star, Daniela Ryf.

“Seeing it all for real though was amazing. I checked into transition next to Daniela Ryf [the Swiss athlete and four-times Ironman World Champion], which was crazy and then race day, seeing all the pros getting ready, was incredible.

“The organisation at Kona was brilliant with the number of volunteers and the assistance for each athlete.”

The Kona swim

Bruce describes his Kona race, starting with the swim.

He says: “This year’s race was a staggered deep water start, which I think worked quite well. It meant there was a lot more space for competitors and it was probably one of the least violent Ironman swims I’ve done.

“Kona is always non-wetsuit, which really worried me because it’s not something I could train for in open water in Scotland so it was a big unknown.

“Thankfully sighting was quite good and it was a one-loop-clockwise course, which helped given I breathe only to the right-hand side.

“The sea is beautiful with coral reef fish and turtles. However, on race day I didn’t notice any of this apart from the coral, which strangely you could use almost like lane lines in the pool.”

The race reported that there was a sea swell and it was apparently worse than in previous years but while Bruce could sense it he said it was not as bad as a choppy day on Loch Lomond.

He was also delighted to catch up with some of the swimmers in the wave ahead and he completed the swim in 1:02.

He says: “It was a good  start and I was pretty elated after that going into T1. I definitely had to pinch myself having seen T1 on the TV for so many years.”

Kona bike course

The bike course starts with a hill and Bruce saw some fellow age groupers stopping at the side of the road with technical issues. He says: “This didn’t help to settle the nerves because you are always worried about what could go wrong in a race.”

Bruce remembered his race plan and, for once, he held back taking the hill calmly, letting people pass and then settling into the ride.

He says: “My bike power data seemed a bit weird but my average speed was way better than I’d expected. My power seemed well down on what I was aiming for but given my speed I decided to stick with that and my perceived effort.

“The staggered start had helped to spread out the field compared to previous years and although there were a few big groups on some of the uphill undulations it wasn’t too bad at all.

“I was nervous about getting a drafting penalty, though, so I never really hung around and it felt great to be powering past people.”

Bruce felt the bike course played to his strengths. He says: “It’s not a technical course, like cycling in Scotland, and I rarely needed the brakes.

“The crosswinds were a bit challenging but certainly not as bad as in Lanzarote. People seemed to feel it was a tougher wind day than last year but it certainly didn’t slow me down too much and I arrived back in 4:55, which was about 20 minutes faster than I’d thought I would go in my best case scenario.”

Bruce describes T2 as brilliant. He says: “Someone grabbed my bike to rack it. I got given my bag, sat down and then a chilled towel was draped over my shoulders while I put on my trainers.

“I felt good and way better than any T2 previously and I set off with a spring in my step.”

Bruce runs to sub-10 hour

At this point, Bruce knew that a sub-10 hour Ironman was possible but he found it hard to work out the maths for his pacing as he ran.

He says: “I simply settled into my plan for five-minute kilometres and hoped I wasn’t going to blow up with the heat. Crikey, it was it hot.

“Thankfully, the aid stations in Kona are about every mile and sometimes slightly closer, which is good. They give out cups of ice, which were invaluable. I was glad to have on my one-piece trisuit because this meant I could put ice down my suit without it falling out.

“At each aid station I walked, getting in the fluids and the odd gel, but it was the ice I valued most.”

Bruce was also grateful for the nutrition on course. He says: “It was incredible and although the taste of the Gatorade is minging it didn’t give me any issues and due to the volume I was taking in I didn’t need a great deal of salt tabs or gels on top.”

The Kona run course is essentially a long and undulating out-and-back loop.

Bruce says: “The run does have a hill comparable to Wales but you only do it once. I deliberately walked it having read a lot about how you can overheat there and then never cool down after that. This worked and going through the famed energy level was tough but I was really pleased with how I managed to keep knocking out at relatively the same pace.

“There were certainly plenty of casualties and I went past a lot of people hunched over or walking. Getting back into town was fabulous and I knew I was sub-10 then.

“I slowed to savour the moment and what I’d accomplished.”

Bruce has a sit down after Kona.

‘Dream come true’

Bruce reveals that it was a dream come true to finish Ironman Kona in a sub-10. He says: “I was only eight minutes slower than my Copenhagen Ironman PB, which given the toughness of the course, I was super chuffed with.

“I think I could have taken more risks and gone quicker but that could have led to the wheels coming off and then there would have been so many regrets.

“To finish like I did was a highlight of my triathlon life. It felt amazing to be in amongst it all and seeing all the pros during the race. Having my family there was the icing on the cake.”

What’s next?

Bruce still has racing ambitions but he says it is difficult to imagine that he can surpass his Kona result. He says: “However, there is still a hunger to do more racing.

“I do think I need some time off though to get some brownie points back in the bank. I plan to have an off year but keep training to a degree.

“I think I might plan for Ironman Barcelona in 2021 and try to go sub 9:30 but it depends on my motivation nearer the time.

“I don’t think I’ll ever go back to race at Kona because it’s a massive cost on a variety of fronts but to have done it is a dream come true.”

WOW course rated a big success

An initiative to support women who want to try open water swimming was hosted by GTC recently. The idea was launched as part of a Triathlon Scotland project supported by sportscotland. 

A six-week course called Women into Open Water (WOW) comprised three weeks in the pool, a week at Pinkston Watersports Centre and two weeks at Loch Lomond. 

The coaching team, led by head coach Vicky Begg, included Craig Armour, Alastair Young, Duggie Mac, Alex Rennie, Ruaraidh Wells, Lucy Roberts, Anna Taylor, Rose McIlwhan, Julie Mac and Lochlan O’Sullivan.

The course covered safety, skills, including sighting, breathing patterns and swimming in groups, as well as wetsuit swimming.

Vicky added: “We also had a plan to progress the full group towards a distance-based swim at Loch Lomond, from around 200m to 1km depending on ability, as well as the possibility of entering Swim Loch Tay.”

The main benefits for the 14 participants was a more “formal” fast-track route to open water swimming, although this is usually covered in all club sessions albeit less formally. 

Vicky said: “The aim was to build confidence in those who might otherwise have had the desire to swim open water but did not have the opportunity, or the peer group, or skills or knowledge to actually try it.”

From pool to open water swimming.

Confidence builder

Janis McArthur was one of the WOW participants. She said: “I joined the course because I felt it was the only course or training available for complete beginners.

“I had also signed up for a open water triathlon and then tried some OW swimming and had a massive panic in the water and this knocked my confidence.

“Thankfully, the course idea popped up not long after this incident and I am delighted because it have me much confidence and guidance. I was then able to put this into practice at the Mallaig Triathlon.

“The coaches where very patient, encouraging and supportive and recognised when I was panicking in the water and talked me into calming down. They understood my fears and changed them.”

…To Pinkston
…To Loch Lomond.

A new challenge

Morag McFarlane also joined the course. She said: “Open water swimming was a personal challenge. I try to do something new every year instead of having a new year’s resolution not to do something.

“I know quite a few people who swim outdoors but I didn’t have the confidence or means to try it. It’s certainly not something you can do on your own.

“My other half bought me a wetsuit for Christmas last year as a nudge to get me into the water and at last I got a chance to use it.”

Morag found the course to be ideal for gradually building up to the point where she felt confident to get into the open water.

She said: “I absolutely hated swimming at Pinkston, I have to say, because I just couldn’t catch my breath and I was worried that I couldn’t swim without panicking.

“However, when we got to Loch Lomond it was a totally different story. It was just so relaxing. By the last week, I really amazed myself with how far we swam – and with my head under the water! – and all without touching the bottom.

“The support from all the other ladies really made the course, too, and there was a real sense of we are all in this together.

“After I got out the water I felt on a total natural high and even though it was a Friday night there was no need for the usual red wine to unwind.

“With a stressful job, this was the best benefit. I’m now preaching to anyone who will listen to get them to try it, too.”

4 winners in GTC Run4it parkrun competition

An inter-club competition launched by GTC president Sean Webster to score the best age-graded time at parkrun has been won by Bill Totten, Alasdair Ireland, Sharon O’Leary and Grainne McGrath.

The Run4it parkrun contest was held at parkruns on October 5 and 12. The top two age-graded times for men and women won a £25 Run4it voucher each.

Age grading takes a runner’s time and uses the world record time for gender and age to produce a percentage score. The higher the score, the better the performance.

GTC parkrun scores

Bill Totten 84.75%

Sharon O’Leary 77.78%

Grainne McGrath 75.13%

Petra Sambale 75.04%

Maggie Darroch 74.79%

Alasdair Ireland 73.88%

Nial Smith 72.77%

David Hepburn 71.21%

Annibale Coia 70.15%

Alastair Young 70.07%

Andrew Cruickshank 69.85%

Stephen MacIntyre 68.55%

Tom McGuniess 67.57%

Dougie Holmes 66.27%

Jim Lockart 65.42%

Sean Webster 63.89%

Hilary Glen 63.58%

Michelle Donaldson 63.11%

Ray Loughran 61.26%

Lizzie Hamilton 61.14%

Janis McArthur 60.57%

Judith Macgregor 59.57%

Margaret MacIntosh 59.11%

Mary Donaldson 59.05%

Manish Patel 58.86%

Julie Macnaughton 58.36%

Kelly Ludwig 55.72%

Bob Newton 53.71%

Mark Darroch 51.40%

Caroline Findlay 43.90%.

GTC athlete of the month: Christie Ford

Christie has been a member of GTC for just over a year and competes in the women’s senior (25 to 29) age group. She is a principal primary school teacher.

Christie, the youngest of four children growing up in Fife, came to sport in her late teens and after a rough start at university.

She explained: “Sport was not a major priority when I was a child. We are a big family and my parents worked full time.

“My parents were not athletic and they did not have the time, or money, for me to participate in clubs. Additionally, I went to a small high school, with only 360 pupils and sporting opportunities were not something that existed.

“My main focus in my teens was always trying hard to get good grades to go to university.

“When I left home to Glasgow University to study Anatomy I was only 17. Two days later, my boyfriend split up with me. I found this quite hard being on my own in Glasgow at such a young age and I did not feel as though I fitted in with the other girls in my halls.

“To make things harder, my ex-boyfriend had brought me down mentally, calling me fat and saying I was ugly without my nails painted and hair up. This had knocked my confidence.

“I started going to the gym but then I also spent a lot of time in my room at uni comfort eating and then counting calories and trying to burn these off on the cross trainer or treadmill and it turned into a vicious, lonely cycle.

“Then, between first and second year at uni I started working in a care home and I decided I would do Glasgow Half marathon for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

“I had never done anything like this before but was determined to finish. My time was two hours 13 minutes. This sparked off something and I joined Glasgow Hares and Hounds running club.”

Throughout second year at Glasgow uni, Christie ran with the club, but she still felt as though she was classed as one of the “slow, unfit girls”.

She says: “Everyone else had been in the sport, or active in their youths, with plenty of opportunities for sport and I felt like I would never catch up.

“It is something I still struggle with today and triathlon has helped me to not compare myself to others and be proud of who I am.”  

Early running days.

When Christie reached her third year at uni, she decided to try something different and joined the RAF Reserves.

She said: “This was a fantastic experience. Unfortunately, I became unwell between third and fourth year and had to have an operation to have bi-lateral cyst removal on both ovaries. This knocked me slightly and, throughout fourth year, I trained mostly on my own and focused on passing my exams in Anatomy.”

Then, deciding quite late into her fourth year that she wanted to be a teacher, Christie gained a place at Aberdeen University to do PGDE Primary Teaching. She said: “I moved back home and travelled from Fife daily to Aberdeen. It was absolutely mental and I would not recommend the six hours of travelling each day.

“On boxing day that year, in 2015, I decided to do a parkrun that was on in Kirkcaldy. It was miserable, freezing and pouring with rain. However, a girl called Alison Sutherland approached me and convinced me to join Falkland Trail Runners.

“I absolutely loved it. They were so encouraging and supportive and it was a different atmosphere. I went there on a Thursday evening and then joined Leven Las Vegas Running Club on a Tuesday evening. This developed a positive love for running until I moved back to Glasgow in August 2016 for my probation teaching year.”  

Christie’s first triathlon at Glenrothes.

After running in Glasgow for a year and completing her teacher training, Christie developed an injury. She describes this as a scary time.

She said: “I really valued my health and training had become a big part of my life. I paid for private healthcare to be assessed. I had sciatica in both legs and arms and due to this not improving at one point they considered that I may have multiple sclerosis and did nerve conduction tests etc.

“Luckily, I did not, and it was just disc damage that took over a year and a half to improve.

“Half-way during the injury, my mental health was starting to suffer and I knew I had to do some kind of physical activity. The only thing the doctor suggested was swimming.

“One problem, however, was that I could barely swim a length. In November 2017, I joined Glasgow Club adult swimming lessons and continued these until June 2018. They were fantastic.

“Then, after a summer away working at Yale University, I returned to Glasgow and I decided to join GTC. My back was almost 100% and I wanted to be part of a positive club environment like the Falkland running club.”

GTC Thursday run session.
Finishing Manchester Marathon.

Christie joins GTC

Running is still Christie’s favourite sport. She said: “I think this is because it was the first sport I got into and the one I have had most success with so far. I need to still improve my swimming and to get out on my bike more.”

Since joining GTC, Christie has seen improvements in all three disciplines.

She said: “The support, coaching and feedback in the swimming sessions has been phenomenal. At times, I felt insecure, worried and anxious, particularly when the lane times came into place and while I was still new to the club.

“I felt as though I would hold people back, but certain club members have boosted my confidence and made me feel worthy. I have the endurance but sometimes not the speed. I have progressed so much and I aspire to continue to keep progressing.

“Over the next few months, I really want to focus on swimming again.”

Her cycling confidence and knowledge of bikes and riding in a group has also greatly improved thanks to the Bellahouston track sessions. She said: “I would highly recommend the informal social cycles Alastair runs on a Saturday. I have only been to a few but these are fantastic and I like that I do not need to worry about getting lost as I have no clue about cycle routes.”

Christie reports that Sean’s Thursday Bella running sessions have also been fantastic. She said: “I enjoy the four-week blocks and the small informal group environment. Everybody is very positive and encouraging and Sean is always happy to share knowledgeable information. Now I just need to try to catch David Hepburn!”     

So far, Christie has taken part in sprint distance triathlons, including Glenrothes Sprint Triathlon, Bishopbriggs Triathlon and Stirling Double Sprint Triathlon. She hopes to do longer distance triathlons next year.

Christie and her dog Domino at the Loch Ness Marathon.

Age group place for London

In other sports, she reveals she ran her second marathon – the Loch Ness Marathon – recently. She said: “I was absolutely overwhelmed with my time achieving 3:19:49. This was a real positive for me as I was slightly disappointed after Manchester Marathon, my first marathon in April, due to running with friends and helping to pull one friend over the line.

“At Loch Ness, I felt a real buzz. It was something that I had not felt before and eventually I am starting to believe I am a runner.”

Additionally, last month Christie was delighted with her first podium, a second place in the Kilmacolm half marathon in 1:33. This was a five-minute personal best.

However, she reports that she feels different when she finishes triathlons. Christie said: “I feel happier and more relaxed but maybe I am not trying hard enough. I was gutted to miss out on third place by less than a minute at Stiring sprint double triathlon.”

When Christie has a tough training session or race she has a way to get through it. She said: “I always think about what treat I am going to have afterwards. This varies but I do love chocolate and cake.”

Kilmacolm Half Marathon.

New sports goals

Her goals include improving my swimming and continuing to cycle to work throughout the winter”. She added: “I have recently sold my car to encourage myself to cycle more.”

Christie’s Loch ness Marathon time means she has also received a “good for age” place at London Marathon 2020. She said: “London has been on my bucket list since I started running and I always said I would do it when I was 30, but after the injury I thought, stuff it, go for it and get a place. I am looking forward to it but I am unsure if I will enjoy the busyness of the race.”

Christie is also keen to try her wetsuit in open water. She said: “I bought one but never got around to it this year. Whoops!”

She says she is also tempted to sign up to Yorkshire Half with the club group that is planning to go next summer and perhaps an Olympic distance triathlon. She said: “I may be more suited to endurance races as I am more anxious over a parkrun 5K than a marathon.” 

Enjoying life and having fun outdoors.

In the future, she would like to become an Ironwoman.

Christie said: “Right now, it’s more about enjoying the outdoors, trying new things and having a healthier lifestyle. After studying Anatomy I know how complex the body is and everyone should value being healthy and happy. There are two of the most important things in life.”

Christie’s tips for triathlon

Do not compare yourself to others. Do it for you!

Get involved with a club. Everyone is super encouraging, respectful and supportive.

Have fun.

Juniors race at GRC Youth Aquathlon

Seventeen juniors from the club travelled to West Lothian to take part in the GRC Fauldhouse Youth Aquathlon.

Results and podiums

Tristart females:

2nd: Isla McBrien

Tristart males:

1st: Cory Mcconville

2nd: Elliot Smith

Other competitors from the club included Joel Adler, Brodie Burnett and Ruben Devlin.

Tristar 1 females:

1st: Erin Burnett

Other competitors from the club included Molly Knox, Isla Amon, Skye Dick, Ferryn Stewart and Imogen Hammond.

Tristar 2:

1st female: Mirren Stewart

Other competitors from the club included Eilidh Dick, Ella Lockhart and Euan Lockhart.

Youth:

1st female: Aurelia Tiffoney.

GTC take over at Ironman Wales 2019

A team of 28 GTC athletes headed to Ironman Wales to take part in what many described as the toughest but most amazing experience of their racing lives. They were joined by many friends and family, who provided impressive support before, during and after the event.

The GTC members included: Alan Anderson, Philip Burns, Alan Brunton, Annibale Coia, John Conlin, Maggie Darroch, Jeremy Deveney, Alan Duff, Tony Evans, Stuart Gillepsie, Hilary and Paul Glen, Viv Gough, Cat Hirst, Ian Hockey, Tom Kemlo, David King, Jim Lockhart, Gregor Love, Nathalie Jones, Stewart Milne, Neil Pentland, Lochlan O’Sullivan, Ian Ramage, Claire Robertson, Gareth Treharne, Sean Webster and David Wilson.

While for some, it was a second or third time competing in the event that takes place annually in Tenby, for many others it was their first Ironman. Most had dedicated a year of training to the race.

Many club members thanked Alan Anderson for encouraging them to sign up to the race and over the months they gained a great deal of support from being part of a large group of people aiming for the same event.

A number of the IM Wales team also raised money for charity. Thousands of pounds have been donated to various causes, including Beatson Cancer Charity, Reverse Rett, Simon Community Scotland, MIND, the Butterfly Trust Smileawi and the Rohhad Association.

Here are a few comments from some of the GTC members that took part in IM Wales.

Hilary, who wrote a blog about her training and the race called Why am I doing an Ironman?, said afterwards: “I am completely thrilled with my achievement and I did much better than I expected. This was certainly helped by having a great team of us all there and spurring each other on, not to mention the training we were able to do together.”

Hilary and her husband Paul had enjoyed a lot of the training togther and on the day the finished just six minutes apart.

Another GTC couple Viv Gough and Gareth Treharne has similar finishes in their respective age and gender groups. While Viv was 14th in her division, Gareth was 15th in his.

Viv was more than an hour faster than last year, finishing in 13:46:38.

Jim Lockhart described the race as “the best day ever”. He said: “It’s the closest I’ll ever get to feeling like a pro. Town – ace, support – ace, swim – ace, bike – ace, run – ace.

“I took longer that I had planned at 14.07 but every minute that went into the preparation and every penny spent was worth it.

Annibale wrote on Facebook after the race: “I loved it all and the support was unbelievable, especially from GTC friends and family.”

“I made some brilliant friends along the way and the resulting event was pure joy.”

Gregor added: “What a support, what an atmosphere, what a race, what a brutal course. I was ecstatic to finish and I did as well as I could on the day.”

Maggie, who came an impressive fifth in her age category, wrote: “Behind every achievement, there are so many people who help to get you there.

“I have to thank my fabulous, multitasking husband, who has been Team Darroch mechanic, chauffeur, head cook and bottle washer and cheer leader; my neglected children; Angela McArthur for just being there when needed; Vicki McLaren for being the best training partner, along with the many others who got me out the door including Annibale Coia, Alan Kennedy, Nathalie Jones and Cliff Brown.

“Thank you to all the coaches at Glasgow Triathlon Club and the marvellous team mates for the support, belief and encouragement.

“I can highly recommend the event. ‘Unbelievable’ doesn’t do IM Wales and the town of Tenby justice.”

Lochlan, who shared his experience on his blog Ironminded, wrote after the race: “Sickness, pain, exhaustion, sugar-caked teeth and elation. I had completed this epic event.

“The Dragon wasn’t tamed, but I had a new-found respect for it and I’d like to think the Dragon had a reciprocal respect for all of us who tackled this incredible event.”

Philip also wrote a blog, Phil Does Ironman Wales.

For David Wilson, a hamstring problem from half-way through the bike section meant it wasn’t quite the race he had hoped for but he still enjoyed the experience.

He said: “It was a brilliant race and atmosphere. Once I had got my head around the race not going as well as I had wanted, I did enjoy the last three-quarters of the run.”

Sean suffered with a few mechanical issues. He said: “I had to stop to pump up my tyre four times and then I fixed the tube, nicked the tube and then replaced it so I lost up to an hour on the bike section.

“I had a great race overall though and I felt much better than the previous  year. I also took more than 40 minutes off my run time, which I was very pleased about.”

He added: “It was great to have so many club members at this race and all the GTC supporters, too.”

Next year, there is a growing team of people signed up to compete in the Yorkshireman Tri half.

  • Many thanks to Hilary Glen and Pete Soden for allowing us to use some of their photos for this article.

Sunshine, smiles and more podiums at ‘Gilp Triathlon

Almost 30 GTC members headed to the traditional end-of-season ’Gilp tri, the MacQueen Bros Mid Argyll Sprint Triathlon 2019, which takes place in Lochgilphead.

The group came home with a haul of medals and everyone enjoyed a great day of racing and socialising.

Celia Greig was part of the GTC contingent. She said: “The weather was beautiful and it was a perfect day for a race in a gorgeous part of Scotland.”

6 solo podiums

Jamie Glen finished first male junior despite sustaining an injury. Celia said: “Jamie somehow took off most off the skin on his left foot as he came into T2 and this meant he struggled on the run. Tom Kemlo stayed with Jamie for a good section of the return leg to get him back safely.”

Graeme Neagle was first male, senior. He was also the fastest competitor overall for the swim and the bike.

Louise Ross won the female vets category and she was second female overall. She also recorded the fastest female run. In the male vets, Paul Wallace took second place.

John Kinsella was second in the male vintage race, while Alan Duff was third in the same age category.

Craig Ross finished fourth male senior.

Team medals

Two GTC teams made it on to the podium, too. The GTC MurMac Pack was second mixed team while the GTC Retired Auld Gits team came in third in the male senior category.

Other competitors from GTC included David Hepburn, Alastair Young, Sheonagh Law, Darren Morley, Martin Smith, Hilary Glen, Jacques van der Merwe, Lizzie Hamilton, Tom and Hannah Kemlo, Christina Cox, Mike Newall, Jim Elliott, Rose McIlwhan, Julie Macnaughton, Alasdair Ireland and, of course, Celia Greig, our race reporter.

Race day romance

The race was witness to another lovely moment when (non GTC) competitor Dominic Sharkey, who finished second overall, picked up an engagement ring from his shoe in T2 and proposed to his girlfriend during the run as she came back on the return leg in her debut triathlon.

Celia said: “Thankfully, she said yes! And Dominic still ran the fastest run leg of the day.”

‘I’ll be back’

Celia said: “This was my first time at Lochgilphead and I’m so glad I joined others, who have enjoyed this event many times before. I have to say I can see why – and I definitely hope to return next year.”

Seven complete at Traighathlon

Seven GTC athletes – and supporters – headed to Arisaig, on the west coast, to compete in the Traighathlon 2019. There were two races, a sprint and standard distance.

In the sprint distance triathlon, Alastair Young finished in third place, with Billy Cameron playing catch up throughout the bike and run to come a close fourth.

Also competing were David Comerford, Maria Mott and Jenny Gibson.

In the standard distance triathlon, Kirsten Cluley took second place in the women’s race. It was her first triathlon! Mark Cohen also competed.

GTC at Traighathlon 2019.

Great scenery at Traighathlon

Base camp for the Traighathlon was beautiful Traigh Beach, sandwiched between the coastal towns of Arisaig and Morar, The views take in the Small Isles of Rhum, Eigg and Skye.

The race organiser states: “Spectacular white beaches, dramatic shorelines and the changing colours of the Atlantic Ocean are set against a backdrop of brooding majestic mountains.

“This amazing location, coupled with a great spectator friendly course, make the Traighathlon Series the ideal sports destination for the entire family.”

It was the third edition of the event and all profits go towards a project to refurbish Mallaig swimming pool.

Swim exit.

‘Brilliant club weekend’

Alastair reported that the club had “a brilliant weekend at what must be one of the most stunning locations for triathlon in the UK”.

He added: “I think you’d describe the race course as punchy.

“The sea swim was the highlight for me. The water was perfect, cool and crystal clear. They got the course measurement slightly wrong and we ended up swimming 1,100m instead of the 750m but I suspect that was to my advantage as it keeps the younger, faster folk at bay.

“The bike course is very undulating, so you can’t really settle into a rhythm because you are constantly working through the gears while trying to keep the pace up.

“And the scenery is utterly distracting, with every corner providing another picture-postcard view.”

The run was an out-and-back course toward Arisaig. Alastair said: “There was a bit of a stiff hill into the turn point. But once that was done it was a cruise back to the finish.”

Alastair and Kirsten podium.

Silver medal in Kirsten’s first tri

It was Kirsten Cluley’s first triathlon and it was made all the more special because she has fond memories of childhood holidays at the Silver Sands nearby.

She said: “I was elated to podium because my goal had been simply to make it across the finish line.

“The weather was unreal and when the sun shines in Arisaig, I really wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Kirsten also liked the swim. She said: “The water was clear and I felt I got into a good rhythm although the swim into shore, of the two-loop course, was very choppy.

“I ended up first lady out of the water somehow. By the second lap of the bike I’d settled a bit more comfortably as I then knew what to expect.

“Then came the run and I felt I had little left to give to tackle the same hills as the bike loop. I have never done a more hilly 10k,

“It was gruelling but I am so chuffed with the result.”

Both Alastair and Kirsten enjoyed the club outing and the support. Alastair said: “There was a brilliant turnout from GTC on a glorious day.

“The event was very well run with great marshalling and great support from the community. I’d highly recommend this for the diary next year.”

The race is due to return in 2020. See Traighathlon.

GTC race at Peebles Triathlon

GTC headed to Peebles at the weekend for the final race of the Live Borders Triathlon series.

For Fiona Greenhalgh, it was an opportunity to try her first sprint triathlon. She did impressively well coming seventh senior female and 15th female overall.

She said: “I managed not to drown  and I  really enjoyed it.”

Bruce’s brother Kier Greenhalgh, also Fiona’s husband, competed in the sprint distance triathlon as well. Other GTC sprint tri competitors included Kate Pearson and Graham Cunning.

Kelly Ludwig took part in the novice distance race. She said: “I am super chuffed after completing my third triathlon in sunny Peebles. I was 20th overall in my race, seventh female and third in my age category.

“Thanks to all the great coaches at the club and to all you lovely folk for your support & encouragement.”

Trio of junior podiums

The GTC juniors came home with three medals.

In the Tristart male category, Cory Mcconville was the winner. Brodie Burnett also competed and, as ever, thoroughly enjoyed himself.

His sister, Erin Burnett, had a very close race with Katy Otterson from North Shields in the Tristar 1 females category and ended up in second place.

Erin’s result gave her a first place in the series of three races.

Skye Dick also competed in this race and Connor Birnie raced in the Tristar 1 male category.

Erin Greenhalgh enjoyed her race in the Tristar 2s, while another club member Lucy Donaldson was first in the Tristar 3 females race.

Cameron O’brien also competed in the Tristar 3 males race.

Well done to all!