Turkey triathlon triumph for Chichester’s fab four

The CWTC triathletes who prospered in Turkey
The CWTC triathletes who prospered in Turkey

Four Chichester Westgate Triathlon Club members flew to Alanya in Turkey for the European Triathlon Championships.

They had qualified in events in the UK, coming in the top four in their age groups to get a place at the Euros.

Mary Campbell, Persephone Hagan and Kurt Gunby qualified at Bedford triathlon in July last year while Mike Cooper qualified at the Bala triathlon in September.

They arrived in Turkey with a day to get their bikes together and check out the course. They also had to get used to sunshine - not part of their training in the UK, where their last race had been in Chester in water temperatures of 14C.

In Alanya, there was a wetsuit ban as the temperature of the water was a tropical 25C.

The athletes gathered by the old port for the start. They had been told to run on to the pontoon at the beginning of their wave for the spectators to see them. They then had to line up for the start and get in the water for the off.

The first wave, however, which Gunby was in, had a dive start, to his confusion – but the race was on its way so he had to do his best.

The next wave saw Campbell chasing him, then Hagan 15 minutes later, then Cooper. Hagan completed the best swim – coming first out the water in her wave in a time of 26 minutes.

The bike section was four flat fast laps and Cooper did the 40k in under an hour, with Campbell only a minute behind.

The run was more arduous - four laps with a 400m hill in the centre of each. This, combined with the increasing heat of the day, took its toll on some of the athletes.

Gunby slowed and Campbell caught him on the last lap – managing a personal best time of 2hr 14min – putting her sixth overall.

Gunby completed the course and finished fourth in his age group. Hagan finished the run and was ninth in her age group in 2.31 and Cooper was ninth in his age group but did manage 2.09, knocking eight seconds off his previous PB.

They all had a fantastic time as the race had been really well organised and they could then enjoy relaxing in the sun watching the elites race.

Their next challengege is to qualify for the world championships, to be help in September in London on the Olympic course. This entails the athletes racing in Liverpool in a few weeks time. Good Luck to all CWTC athletes trying to qualify.