Nineteen GTC athletes participated in an early season race this month. The Glasgow University Aquathlon returned for the third year to Ballahouston Park with two events:
- Sprint Aquathlon: 750m pool swim and a 5k run.
- GoTri: 400m pool swim and 2.5k run
The weather was testing with cold temperatures, heavy rain and hailstones.
GU Sprint Aquathlon podiums
The club scored three podium places, two in the GU Sprint and one in the GoTri.
Amy is first female
Amy Ritchie was the first female and fifth overall in the GU Sprint in a time of 32:25. She races as a senior.
She said: “I was pleased to win and I’m hoping it’s a sign that I’m in good shape for my other upcoming races.
“I knew there were a few girls who had potentially faster swim times than me but I had a pretty solid swim and I was out of transition first, so knew I just needed to hold on for the run.
“The weather was pretty awful – character building? – and I’d also been struggling with a recurring Achilles problem the week before, so it wasn’t my best run but it was okay given the conditions.
“Having Brian and Craig B to give me a cheer at the lap mark and at the finish definitely helped. It’s always nice to race with other club members and to see them doing well.”
Next on Amy’s race schedule is Red Bull Neptune’s Steps, the Alloa Half Marathon and then the World AG Aquathlon champs in Spain in May.
Fiona’s is third vet
In third place in the female 40-plus age category in a time of 43.36 was Fiona Roberts. She says: “It was a nice surprise especially as it was an amalgamated category of 40s and 50s and I am over 50. Also, there were more than three people in our category!
“My expectations were low going into the race and I had a terrible swim with two young men who kept overtaking then pulling on the brakes instead of just doing the work for me. I am joking!
“The first lap of run went okay but during the second lap I felt like I had borderline hypothermia. I guess I should have run faster! The hailstones were sore, too.
“My times were slower than my last aquathlon but it’s the first of the year so there is room for improvement.”
Fiona was also pleased to see all the other GTC competitors and her daughter Lucy, who is now racing for Dundee Uni.
She says: “The Glasgow Uni team were great and stood out in that miserable weather for a long time but still cheered us on. It was a great event.”
Fiona’s next race is the Monikie Sprint Triathlon in July.
Lynda’s GoTri triumph
Lynda MacDonald made a return to a multi-sport racing for the first time since being 14. “That’s 34 years if you must know,” she says. She picked up first place in the GoTri event in a time of 22.26.
She says: “I’d entered the novice race because I felt that doing a multiple-sport event once every three decades didn’t qualify me as experienced.
“It is a long time since I swam competitively, too. I last swam at a decent level when I was 17.”
A fractured shin bone last summer saw Lynda return to the pool because she had a ban from all other sports.
Lynda took her transition preparation seriously. She said: “On arrival at Bellahouston, I carefully laid out my running shoes, with half a bottle of talc inside them, along with a big man’s fleece. This was the only top that went on easily when I’d practised wet out of the shower at home.
“I had my race number belt in a carrier bag to keep it dry and noted that the person next to me had a personalised towel and I immediately felt inadequate.”
Lynda says she does not have much recollection of the swim. “It was all a bit of a blur,” she says. “I’m guessing that my technique went to pot and that I used the turns as a chance to gulp in air instead of an efficient turnaround.
“I’m guessing this because my time for the 400m was a full minute and half slower than I’d done in a timed practice in the pool a week before.
“I came out the pool at the same time as ‘personalised towel Mary’ and we ran off together. At this point I realised I was still wearing my swimming cap and had a woolly bunnet over the top.”
The run was also a bit of a blur for Lynda. She says: “I’d been advised on good authority to just sprint it – so I did. To be fair, I didn’t notice the horizontal sleet or 1C wind – probably because of the rubber and wool hat combo – and it was quickly just me and the cyclist route guide.
“When we reached the hill I looked behind me and couldn’t see a soul so I decided to just walk for a bit. I’ve never done that in any running event but I was suddenly a bit spaced out and my breathing was erratic to say the least.
“Once we got to the top of the hill I ran the rest of the way and I was delighted to see a familiar face – Ray – at the finish line.
“I was pleased to win, of course, but it all happened so quickly and when I was asked at the time if I enjoyed it I wasn’t quite sure, but looking back now I think I did.”
Lynda’s next race is the club’s own Bishopbriggs Tri in May.
GTC race GUAquathlon
Congratulations to everyone from GTC who raced. Here are the results.