A DOUBLE dose of triathlon fever hit the Meadows at the weekend as City of Chester Triathlon Club hosted two major events.
On Saturday the club’s race for novice women, the Deva Divas Triathlon, took centre stage.
More than three quarters of the field in the 750m swim, 25km bike and 5km event had never taken part in a triathlon before but had been guided through the process by the club’s coaches on dedicated beginners’ training days.
One first-time triathlete said it was ‘great to see so many women welcomed into triathlons through such a non-intimidating event’ and praised the ‘support and encouragement’ they had received in the lead up to the big day.
It was a sentiment echoed by fellow competitors.
Although the ethos of the race is participation, winners are rewarded too, and many of these were from the host club.
Chester Tri’s Dominque Searle was crowned the winner for the second year running and she was followed by Karen Erlandson in second and Sophie Edge in third.
Chester Tri’s Lisa Grantham was fifth, finishing one place ahead of 25-29 champion Alice Leclercq in sixth.
Chester Tri’s Val Ornsby was eighth to win the 40-44 age group prize while her clubmates Rachel Armstrong (11th) and Helen Duffell (20th) also made the top 20.
Winner of the 50-54 category, Fiona Cole, came home in 26th followed by 55-59 winner Diane Flemming in 28th.
Many competitors at the Deva Divas Triathlon also had charitable – as well as sporting – aims in mind.
Ex-servicemen’s charities, The Cystic Fibrosis Trust, and the race’s official charity, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, were among those to benefit.
It was the turn of the Deva Triathlon to take top billing on Sunday.
The race distances were doubled and the atmosphere took on an extra competitive edge as the event – for the first time – doubled up as a World Age Group Championships qualifier.
Among the 700-strong, sold-out field were 66 Chester Tri members with varying ambitions.
The overall winner was Paul Ryman of Frome Triathlon Club, with Chris Standidge of Chester Tri second and Josh Hutchinson of Royal Navy Triathlon third.
Chester Tri’s Tony Cullen was fourth while his clubmates Neil Pownall, Paul Roberts, Kenny Begley, Simon Brander, Dean Hodge, Alex Hall and David Brown all made the top 100.
In the women’s race, Glasgow Triathlon Club’s Eleanor Haresign took the title.
Sophia Rees was Chester Tri’s fastest finisher in 11th, followed by Susan Fourie and Kerry Ratcliffe.
Dean Ratcliffe, winner of the 45-49 age group, said: “I have competed for the last three weekends in the World qualifiers and this event was without doubt the best marshalled event and really did have a friendly club atmosphere, which is very difficult to accomplish in an event of this size.”
For more information on City of Chester Triathlon Club, which is British Triathlon’s club of the year, visit www.chestertri.org.uk