On Sunday, September 15, Wigtownshire Sports Council sponsored triathlete and Galloway Harrier Ian Hannah to compete in the London World Age Group Triathlon Championships in the 50-54 age group.
This included the top 25 in each age group from GB competing against the best age groupers from around the world. More than 2600 male and female athletes took part, with the oldest being an 83-year-old Russian man.
Following three hectic days in the lead up to the event, race morning started at 5am to set up the bike in transition then a waigt of more than three hours until Ian’s heat started at 8.50. During this wait the news came through that the 1500m swim was being shortened to 750m because of the cold air temperature of 11 degrees.
Ian completed the swim in a time of 13:26, which was about one minute slower than he would have liked. The course was pretty crowded and a low sun in the eyes made it difficult to sight the buoys but he was still happy enough with his placing here.
The transition area was 600m away so a transition time, which usually takes about a minute, took him three mins as he stripped off his wetsuit, put on helmet and got out onto the road ready.
The 40k bike route started with a lap inside Hyde Park then went out through Hyde Park Corner, along to Buckingham Palace, down Birdcage Walk to the Houses of Parliament then along the embankment to Tower Bridge where it turned on a reverse course to Hyde Park to do the same route again on a second lap. Ian covered this course in a time of 1hr 03m at an average speed of 23.7mph.
Transition two was another long run to get to off the bike, donning running shoes and setting off on the run route with a T2 time of 2:50.
The 10k run was three laps of 3.3k around the Serpentine. The first lap he set off steady and a pace of 4.08 min/km, passing lots of runners and enjoying the support from fellow Galloway Harriers who had travelled down, along with some other people from Stranraer.
Having his name printed on his tri-suit allowed people all around the course to shout encouragement which helped on the second lap when his pace dropped to 4.10 min/km. An energy gel and the fact he could see three GB athletes ahead in his age group saw him lift the pace over the last lap and he picked them off one by one. This last lap also saw the earlier smile disappear and the relaxed style replaced by a look of sheer determination. This lap was covered in an average pace of 3.50 min/km to give a 10k time of 40.22.
A finishing time of 2:03:33 gave him a placing of 43rd in the world and 13th GB athlete in his age group. Although a bit disappointed not to break into the top 30, he thoroughly enjoyed the experience of competing at this level and will certainly be back at the World Championships although may need to miss next year’s in Edmonton, Canada, but plans to go to Chicago in 2015.
Two Galloway Harriers took part in Dumfries half marathon on September 22, which turned out to be a beautiful morning with the best temperatures we have seen for a while.
The race started from the college with runners being piped out and finished just before Dock Park. Norma Gillan, competing in her second half marathon, achieved her race target and ran an excellent personal best, proving that, although she is a new member of the Galloway Harriers, she has plenty more running to look forward to in the future.
Ailsa Taggart, who has competed in several half marathons all over Scotland this year, was aiming to take this one a little easier as the icing on the cake and has yet another half marathon to add to the many she has run before.