Walsall's first triathlon a triumph

Last updated: 16/06/2014 09:01:37

triathlon relay team

It may have been the morning after the night before England’s World Cup defeat to Italy but Walsall’s first triathlon proved a real winner.

More than 150 competitors turned up to swim, cycle or run as part of a relay team, or attempt all three heats as individuals.

And the majority of entrants said they’d like to do it all over again next year.

Sponsored by Walsall College and Jhoots Pharmacy, the Sprint Triathlon was staged at Oak Park Leisure Centre in Walsall Wood yesterday (Sunday 15 June 2014) with a 400m swim, a 15km bike ride and a 5km run for entrants aged 15 and above.

One delighted competitor to work her way through all three was police officer Deborah Blakeman, aged 38, of Cheslyn Hay.

“It’s the first time I’ve attempted a triathlon and I’m really pleased with myself – especially as I’ve not been in a swimming pool for 25 years!” she said.

“I was encouraged to give it a go as it was a council event and I thought it would be less competitive than a more established event. It was a great experience with a good atmosphere and I’d like to see it run again next year.”

Steve Bentley, 34, of Great Wyrley, also did all three events.

“It was affordable which I think is a big plus for competitors. It gave me something to focus on and it was definitely worth the experience.”

Relay team Emma Sheldon, Lee Harris and Dave McCarthy were so bitten by the competitive bug they’d like to enter individually next time.

Emma, who along with Lee runs with West Bromwich Harriers, said: “When you are just a runner usually, as in my case, it’s a good challenge to try something else. The bike ride was tough. But we all really enjoyed it and would want to take part again next year.”

All competitors were given T shirts, medals and certificates to confirm they had finished the triathlon. Full resultscan be found here http://www.stuweb.co.uk/race/G6/

Dr Isabel Gillis, director of Public Health Walsall, who also took part in yesterday’s event, said: “Congratulations to everyone who swam, cycled or ran – or managed all three – in today’s triathlon.

“You should all be very proud of yourselves and I’d like to thank competitors, volunteers, the Rotary Club and council staff who cheered us all on and helped make the day a success.”