Blenheim Triathlon, 2012

Talking with a colleague earlier about triathlons, I was reminded how much I had enjoyed my first-ever personal triathon experience, completing the Blenheim Sprint Triathlon earlier this year. Here is a brief account of what happened, and a fun site I found on the way!

A shaky start!

The idea had originally come up after a particularly enjoyable evening in the pub with friends from Wild Training: someone had suggested that it might be “a bit of a laugh” and, in the state I was, thought it sounded fun. The following day, rather more sober, it still sounded pretty appealing, surprisingly, so we booked places.

What is a triathlon?

For those not “in the know” (as I hadn’t been until signing up), a triathlon is a race involving a swim, bike ride and run: the race includes the different elements themselves but also the “transition” (ie losing wetsuits, changing shoes etc). There are different distances: the Olympic triathlon is a 1,500m swim, 40km ride and 10km run, and our “sprint” distance was 750m/20km/5km (ie half). There are also super sprint and other variants. The sport appears to have really picked up recently, and I can see why: whatever your fitness level, there is a distance that is achievable, with work. And there are, increasingly, local triathlon groups to train with, such as the Black Fish, based out of the triathlon store Ten-Point in Chesham Bois, near where I live in Amersham.

Getting going on the training

Anyway, having signed up, the training started. At this point, I didn’t have any contacts with anything triathlon-specific, so trained on my own and with the other Wild Training people who had signed up. For me, the swimming was always going to be the hardest part: I couldn’t do front crawl (aka freestyle) at all so needed to do a LOT of practice. I wasn’t so worried about the cycling or running, but had never actually put the different parts together (and didn’t, in fact, until the big day itself).

Supporting a charity

Having got my place, I realised I might just as well use it to raise money for a charity. As my mother-in-law has MS, and knowing her comments on the charities she has had contact with, I decided that the MS Trust would be the one. A few tweets and emails later, I was on board, complete with a fundraising page and everything! It was only later that I came to understand the extra pressure you feel, training for an event, not wanting to let down the people who have sponsored you. On the other hand, the sponsorship certainly helped me to keep on the straight and narrow with the training.

What was the training like?

Thankfully, even though training took a lot of time, I totally loved the whole process. I was also very lucky to have an understanding partner, who didn’t give me too hard a time on this front! And my Wild Training exercise partners were also excellent company – thanks, guys! We did runs and rides, and also a few visits to some local lakes, which was definitely interesting (and perhaps the subject of another blog post in the future).

And how did it go?

By the time the day came, the early mornings at the pool and in the saddle had paid off: I managed the event in 1:40:28, which I was very happy with, for my first ever attempt at a triathlon (or indeed any competitive event at all!).

There were fringe benefits too: in the process, I lost a useful amount of weight and built up my fitness levels nicely, as well as raising something like £1,400 for charity. Which all just goes to show how blessed I am with generous friends!

A fun website to visualise the event!

Anyway, back to my discussion. Trying to show my colleague how the course works, I remembered and tracked down an excellent web page that allows you to follow individuals through a triathlon, run by So, without further ado, here is a link showing my progress through the Sprint Triathlon at Blenheim 2012!


  1. […] was swimming pretty regularly from a few months before last year’s Blenheim Triathlon until about 3 months ago. Then, for various reasons, I stopped. Long story short: I ended up […]

  2. […] the Amersham Pools seemed like the ideal option. I learned front crawl last year, training for the Blenheim Triathlon – oddly enough, getting started after spraining my knee and being told swimming was my main option […]

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