Michelle Parsons racing for Team Tri UK won the 5th annual Upton Standard Distanced Triathlon on Saturday finishing an impressive 21st overall out the Mens and Womens fields combined and building a winning margin of almost three minutes over second placed Christina jenkins from Ful-On Tri in a time of 2 hours 20 minutes and 46 seconds.
The event which takes place around the picturesque town of Upton on Severn starts with a 1500m swim in the River Severn before a two lap 40 km bike course taking in a circuit through Earls Croome, Kinnersley, Clifton and Severn Stoke and then finishes with a two lap 10km run around the fields and meadow next to the River. Many athletes are attracted to the race from the South East because of the location and the fact it is one of the few races to be held on a Saturday rather than a Sunday making travelling longer distances much more convenient. Once again the race was sold out well in advance this year.
Michelle posted her best swim time for the 1500m swim for many seasons at 25 minutes and 42 seconds but this still left her trailing most of the other females swimmers. As usual though the Tri UK athlete soon set about overtaking those in front of her (both female and male) as she recorded a phenomenal bike course time of 1 hour and 9 minutes and 20 seconds. This was the fastest female bike split time of the day and over five minutes quicker than the next fastest.
The long transition area on the meadow at Upton meant that the bike times were actually slightly longer than real ride time but also Michelle’s speedy transition skills put her out onto the run course quicker than most and she covered the undulating multi terrain run in 42 minutes and 58 seconds to take the victory.
Thankfully for the competitors the heavy downpours of rain didn’t arrive in Upton until after the race had finished and in fact conditions were good for fast times. Michelle’s time was 5 minutes quicker than last year’s winner and the best time recorded on this extended course.
Michelle’s husband Phil, made it a family double by winning the male race in a time of 2 hours and 4 minutes and 55 seconds. The Worcester Tri Club athlete set up his win by producing one of the quicker swim times of the day covering the downstream course in 17 minutes and 56 seconds. He maintained his advantage of the bike completing the 40km in 1 hour 5 minutes and 58 seconds before running a respectable 38.40 for the 10km run.
Evesham athlete Iain Jennings, and a first year member of Worcester Tri Club, came home 3rd in his age category and 5th overall in a time of 2.13.07 making up a lot of time on the quicker swimmers on the bike and run where he has undoubted strength.
Next home was Evesham Running Club’s Danny Harris in a time of 2.22.34 making him 27th overall. Harris suffered a double whammy of a mechanical issue during the bike section and then upset stomach during the run. The latter caused by drinking too much of the River Severn during his least favourite 1500m swim. Chasing close behind was another Evesham athlete completing his first standard distanced triathlon, Dan Gregory. Dan produced an excellent performance to finish in 2.23.34 including a 1.12.08 bike split time (31st overall). Not to be outdone Evesham’s Lee Oliver knocked a great chunk of time off his result from 2010 to finish 2.45.07 (170th overall).
Worcester Tri Club veterans Mark Elliott and Les Bailey also completed the standard distance race both finishing in very good times within their respective age categories. Elliott came home in 2.26.07, for once without any major mishap to finish 47th overall and super veteran once again showed his incredible endurance to finish in 3.04.12 making him 232nd overall out of the 265 finishers in the standard distanced race.
The sprint distance event saw a few more local athletes competing. Worcester Tri Club’s Richard Gill finished 4th overall in 1 hour 13 minutes and 17 seconds just behind his good friend Robert Biddlecombe who recorded an excellent time of 1.09.04 to take 2nd place. A week before tying the knot Marianne Day of teach Echelon won a very close female Sprint race in a time of 1.19.12 just 24 seconds ahead of second place.
Michelle Parsons now heads off to Europe for her next two races. The first being a half ironman distanced triathlon in Italy in two weeks and then the full Ironman distance Triathlon in Regensburg in early August.