Running every year since 2012, this was the 13th edition of the Dambuster standard distance Triathlon to take place at Leicestershire’s Rutland Water, but unlucky it was not.
In time for the first waves 6 o’clock start, the clouds parted and we were bathed in beautiful morning sunlight. The water was perfectly flat without a hint of the mist Rutland Water has garnered a reputation for during early starts. At previous Dambuster and Vitruvians (the Half Iron Man distance event which uses the same course), swimmers have needed to be guided around the course by canonists, with visibility down to just a few meters. This year however the first man out of the water, Matthew Nelson of TFN Tri Camp, completed his 1500m lap in just 18 minutes and 46 seconds.
It’s a long drive up to Leicestershire from the Yellow Jersey office, but well worth the trip for the Dambuster. Arriving around midday gave us plenty of time to set up our stand by the water’s edge, before unloading our bikes and heading out for a spin round the course. Described by many as ‘undulating’, this is perhaps a bit of an understatement. A series of three hills half way round the course known as the ‘Rutland Ripple’ make it a tougher time trial course than most, particularly when combined with a significant and enduring headwind.
James Phillips riding for Les Stables Zerod, finishing in 5th position overall
As the course snakes its way round the perimeter of Rutland Water, it passes through several little villages each with a speed check billboard as you enter. These proved too much of a temptation for us, the lights flashing ‘slow down’ as we sprinted through. Like a red rag to a bull. Some recent roadwork’s had left gravel on several stretches of the route, but there were no incidents on the day of the race.
Matthew Nelson lead the bike back to the transition zone, with a time of one hour, one minute and seventeen seconds (significantly faster than me, and I had no intention of swimming or running anywhere) with Luke Pollard of the RAF Triathlon Team and Daniel Jenkin close behind.
The run takes competitors along the shoreline of Rutland Water, among the sail boats and out around the lake where they can be seen for most of the 10k distance by spectators at the start line, as well as one another. Finally, they make a crossing of the Rutland Water dam from which the event takes its name. Throughout the race, for each wave that leaves the beach, the event organisers from Pacesetter keep the energy of the 1000 person crowd high with commentary and music of a distinctively 90’s flavour. The entire event has the atmosphere of a festival, and it became very easy to forget that it was 9am, and not a sunny afternoon.
Lucy Nell, Second Woman Finisher; Competing For the RAF Triathlon Team
I’ve heard people describe Triathlon as a ‘runner’s race’, and for Luke Pollard at least, it was. Passing Matthew Nelson in the final quarter of the run, Luke Pollard was able to pull out a lead of almost three minutes, finishing the Dambuster for his RAF Triathlon team in 1 hour, fifty five minutes and forty seconds, with his team mates Ben Terry and Paul Vernon also finishing in the top 10. Third place went to Daniel Jenkin with a time of 1:59.40.
The woman’s event was won comfortably by Samantha Warriner with a total time of two hours, seven minutes and forty five seconds, giving her an overall position of eighteenth.
You can view the full results and split times over on the Pacesetter Website here