Sunday 8th July saw one of our favourite events of the year return in epic fashion - the Croyde Ocean Triathlon. Taking place down just down the road from dryrobe HQ along North Devon's stunning coastline - we're pretty biased but this has to be one of the best triathlons out there.
It seems like everyone agrees with us - the event sells out year after year, and 220 Triathlon has named the Croyde Ocean Tri as one of the UK's Top 21 Must Do Triathlons PLUS named it amongst the Top 5 Toughest Short Course Triathlons in the World! Epic.
The event is described as stunning and savage - this year proved that with competitors first enjoying a completely glassy sea at Putsborough Beach for the swim, followed by a hot and hilly 40km bike ride, finishing with a 12km run up steep hills, across Croyde Beach, before climbing up to Baggy Point and back to Putsborough to finish, hugging the South West coast path under the blazing summer sun. With epic views on offer though, there weren't any complaints!
Local triathlete and lifeguard Jack Hutchens took the win for the second year in a row, finishing with a time of 2hrs, 26mins and 26secs - claiming the fastest splits on the swim, bike and run. Matthew Cox – second last year – repeated the feat again, finishing six minutes behind Hutchens with a time of 2hrs, 32mins and 7secs to claim second place. James Travers was third, completing the gruelling course in 2hrs, 33mins and 22secs.
In the ladies division, Beijing 2008 silver medallist Heather Fell was the fastest out of the water, but Elizabeth Richardson gained through the transition and cycle to push into the lead. Richardson clocked the second fastest run to hold off the challenge of Fell – who was fastest – to be the first-placed female with a time of 2hrs, 48mins and 3secs. Fell was second with a time of 2hrs, 48mins and 48secs. Third fastest lady was Victoria Duncan, who completed the triathlon in 2hrs, 51mins and 48secs.
This year saw the event achieve plastic free status from Surfers Against Sewage and it's believed that it was the first plastic free triathlon to take place in the UK. The triathlon teamed up with The Pickwell Foundation to encourage greater consideration for the environment, both as an event and for competitors taking part.
Plastic cups were replaced with compostable cups, plastic bottles were banned and tap water was used instead. Organisers also used reusable cable ties and non-laminated race numbers and all food was supplied in environmentally friendly containers. On a scorching day, a water bar set up by Plastic Free North Devon served up some 600 litres of water to competitors and spectators, an amount which would usually have generated 1,200 plastic bottles.
Another epic year for Croyde Ocean Triathlon and we're proud to support such and awesome event - bring on 2019.
All photos: Dave Keightley