Sunday 24th November was one of those days where the world seemed to be set against the Imperial College triathlon team as they prepared for their first British Universities championships: in duathlon, a multisport event comprised of a run, followed by a cycle, then another run to finish.
The difficulties began before race day, when a series of transport disasters occurred: a series of unfortunate events (or in less euphamistic terms, a colossal cock-up from someone who should know a lot better) resulted in a conspicuous lack of a minibus to transport the majority of our competitors. A stress-filled and hectic day of contingency planning took place, and eventually the pumpkin of a situation became the beautiful carriage that is Great Western Railway.
Transport trials and tribulations overcome, our athletes gathered in the waiting area by Castle Combe racetrack, the air filled with anticipation and moisture. But the troubles were not yet over: just as the first wave was lining up to begin, the race was “postponed indefinitely” following a serious medical incident in a non-BUCS race previously. The competitors re-donned their layers and waited for news. After deliberation from the organisers, it was decided that the race would be shortened to a two-mile run, six-mile bike, two-mile run.
After a very quick second warmup, the men’s elite wave were off. New recruit Leo Maisonobe was out first for IC, completing the first two miles in a scorching 10 minutes 17 seconds. Just seconds behind were Matt Ryan and Tom Butler, the latter of whom was very pleased that the shortened course favoured the strongest runners. On to the bike leg, where Leo kept on moving up the pack. Matt Ryan and Alex Wilson also put in stunning cycling performances, both well over 40 kilometres per hour. After battling through a painful final leg Leo Maisonobe remained best-placed with an incredible 22nd place out of over 300 competitors, including many international athletes.
Next to go were the elite women: at the front of the Imperial crew were Minty Martin and Marion Artigaut, neck-and-neck out of the first run with 0.2 seconds between them. Minty pulled ahead on the bike leg despite Marion’s well-rehearsed transitions, and narrowly held on through the final run to give her a fantastic 73rd place, the best female athlete from the club. Special mentions also to Remi Simpson, who finished her debut duathlon in style, pacing perfectly to finish well below the 50th percentile at national university level.
Finishing off the day were Noah Sprent and Harshil Joshi representing in the mixed wave. Noah demonstrated perfectly that consistent training pays off, with a bike leg that wouldn’t have been out of place in the elite competition. Harshil was plagued by a mechanical issue on the bike course, but kept his cool to round out Imperial’s day with another solid performance, crossing the finish line to cheers from his supporting teammates.
In an exemplary display of grit and determination, the TriIC team proudly returned, looking forward to the relaxation and rewards of the festive season to come. Special thanks to our drivers Emma Claxton, Harshil Joshi and Alex Luisi, without whom the day would not have been possible.