PICTURE SPECIAL: Record-breaking triathlon gives Chichester a weekend to remember

History was made at this year's Chichester Triathlon as a record number of contenders turned out to swim, cycle and sprint their way to the finish line.

Thursday, 13th July 2017, 6:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:22 pm
Pool action in the Chichester Trithlon / Picture by Derek Martin

More than 350 under-16s took part in the junior aquathlon and triathlon on Saturday, making it the biggest in the event’s history. Then hundreds of adults turned out on Sunday for the sprint and Olympic-distance triathlon.

The event has become increasingly popular in recent years and has seen two record-breaking turnouts since Everyone Active took on its management in 2016.

This year’s junior triathlon, which formed part of the Triathlon England south-east series, saw youngsters aged eight to 16 competing.

Pool action in the Chichester Trithlon / Picture by Derek Martin

In the nine-ten age group, ten-year-old Freddie Wallis swam to victory in the aquathlon, while Alex Dack was the first triathlete to cross the line in a time of 15min 40sec.

For the 11-12-year-olds Emile Hantrais-Smith won the aquathlon and Oliver Horne the triathlon. In the 13-14-year-olds’ group it was Hayden Clinton finishing first in the aqua and Oliver Curd in the tri.

Youth aquathlon honours were taken by Matthew Walton and the youth triathlon victory was Adam Long.

The youngest competitors were the eight-year-olds and Stanley Wilkes won their aqua event and Oliver Smith the tri.

Organisers are hoping plenty of the young competitors will keep coming back to the Chichester event and perhaps even triumph in the senior triathlon one day.

Adults took their turn on Sunday at both sprint and Olympic triathlons.

Racing began off in the pool at Westgate Leisure before the athletes set off on a tour of the city via bike and foot.

David Reid finished first in the Olympic triathlon with a time of 1hr 59min 55sec while Anne Sydenham was the fastest women, crossing the line in 2.14.22. Runner-up behind Reid was Peter Younghusand in 2.01.24.

Stirzaker won the Olympic team event among ten trios who took part.

The sprint distance event – which formed part of Everyone Active’s south-east triathlon championship alongside races at its leisure centres in Fareham and Hart in Hampshire – was won by Harry Jones in 1.18.21 and Trudi Cunningham and 1.37.21 in the male and female categories.

Jones is a professional triathlete from Australia and took part in the race after competing at the Fareham event. His participation shows the series is building in momentum as it starts to attract top-class athletes.

His closest rival was Mark Yeoman but he came in more than four minutes behind.

Stuart Mills, contract manager at Everyone Active, said: “The day was a huge success and we were delighted to host it for the second year.

“This is a huge event in Chichester’s calendar and it was fantastic to see so many people or all ages and abilities getting active.

“Everyone Active’s south-east triathlon championship aims to provide something for everyone, from experienced athletes to first-time competitors.

“This year we had a record number of sign-ups from people who were new to multi-sport events, and I hope it has inspired them to take part in more activities like this.”

The event has been sponsored by local business Natures Way Foods since its inception 11 years ago and is a key event in the company’s community programme.

As part of the sponsorship package, Natures Way Foods supplies fresh fruit at the finish line for the competitors and supporters.

Sarah Baldock, the director responsible for the Natures Way Foods community programme, said: “We have seen this event go from strength to strength over the 11 years it has been running and there’s a flourishing triathlon community in Chichester and across the UK.

“We are passionate about the Chi Tri and we remain committed to supporting it for years to come.”

It was a weekend of triathlon triumphs for Chichester Westgate Triathlon Club.

In the Olympic race, Anne Sydenham was a local winner of the women’s event.

In the sprint tri, there were four CWTC men in the top ten – Richard Johnson, Adam McCulloch, Ben Short and Harry Pink – and the same was true for their women – Trudy Cunningham, Mary Campbell, Kerry Dutton and Felicity Paton.

Age-group awards saw Megan McCulloch the under-20s female winner, Harry Pink under-20s male winner, Adam McCulloch the 45-49 winner and Steve Long the 55-59 winner.

Martin Hill was winner of 40-44 age category for the Olympic triathlon.

The club’s youth and junior section were very well represented on Saturday too.

CWTC are always looking for new members – details can be found on the Chichester Westgate Triathlon web page.