Newsletter Feb 2023

Chairman’s Update

Dear Tri2O’ers

Welcome to our first newsletter for 2023 and what a bumper edition it is. There are some wonderful member write ups for your enjoyment, all of which contain some real inspirational and in some cases humorous stories including a “hot” one from our Editor in Chief Sunil Fernandes.

A very warm welcome to our new members listed below plus a big thank you to our Head Coach Georgia for an insightful peek into Club Swimming in “Coaches Corner”.

I am writing this on the morning after the night before the Tri2O Awards evening (I think that’s right, maybe too much hydration!) It was great to see everyone at the Vault and as always a pleasure and a privilege for me to present the trophies (and a spoon) to the award winners and to make a few thank you’s. Our new Social Secretary Clare Hawthorn did a splendid job organising her first Tri2O event, thank you Clare and the cupcakes were magnificent. Also a big thank you to Nora Holford our new Club Secretary for organising the nominations, the voting and the sourcing of the very nice Eco Friendly trophies for the winners. Congratulations to ALL award winners. Photos of the evening are on our Facebook Group (Thanks to Sian & Sunil for capturing the moments!)

The main committee met in January and we have some exciting events and ideas in planning for 2023 which we hope will appeal to everyone, so please keep an eye out on the Facebook Group and email for future events and diary dates. Also do check out the Tri2O Annual Plan Spreadsheet pulled together by Georgia.

Before I leave you to enjoy the newsletter I just wanted to mention the less documented benefit of being a member of Tri2O, namely Cupid’s Arrow! Another two members have recently been “struck” see below story from our Treasurer. Other members have been hit by the same arrow in the past, including myself. So if you are single watch out! 

Enjoy your newsletter and I look forward to catching up with you soon.

Best wishes

Mike Nash

Membership Update

We would like to welcome the following new members who have joined, or re-
joined since the last newsletter in December:

  • Will Headland
  • Samantha Johnson
  • Mark Lowries
  • Bilal Mohamed

We hope you enjoy training and being part of the team.
Please don’t forget to sign up to your sessions on Stack Teamapp in advance and
join the club Facebook group. You will have had a welcome email with the links –
please let me know if you did not receive this.

Anthony Dench

Coaches’ Corner – Swimming with Tri2O

The club has always been proud of the swim coaching we offer for our members. As arguably the most technically challenging of the three main disciplines of triathlon (putting aside fuelling and transitions, often described as the 4th or 5th disciplines), it’s not surprising that many people join the club first and foremost to improve their swimming. We’re also very proud to be inclusive, and the fact that many of the members who join our swim sessions have no intention of ever taking part in multisport is a testament to this (and you are very welcome!) Of course, never say never – it could be considered a gateway drug!

NEW pool session coming!

Obtaining quality pool time has always been a challenge in the area, as we compete with swimming clubs, particularly since Arthur Hill and Central pools were closed. However, we’re delighted to announce that we will be piloting a NEW additional swim session at the brand NEW pool at Palmer Park, running initially for a 6 week trial starting Sunday 26th February, every Sunday at 4:30pm. We are hiring 4 lanes of the 6 lane pool and are really excited to be able to offer a weekend session. I will be coaching it to start with.

What we have on offer already:

High quality, well planned and structured sessions, that are tailored to the different needs of our swimmers and incorporate development of technique, swim fitness and open water and racing skills.

  • Monday 9pm at Crosfields (5 lane pool)
  • Wednesday 6:30am at Willink (4 lane pool)
  • Friday 6am at Bradfield (6 lane pool)

How do the coaches decide what to plan?!

  • We have a rolling plan of different “themes” that are deliberately organized across the 3 (and now 4!) sessions to ensure that if you attend more than one session, there won’t be duplication e.g. you won’t get CSS tests within the same week or consecutive weeks!
  • We rotate through: CSS pacing, Endurance, Open Water, Technique, Speed, Strength and CSS Test or Coach’s choice.
  • We communicate regarding what drills/technical focus we feel that our swimmers would benefit from according to what we’re seeing in the pool.
  • The drills/technical focus may also change depending on the session type e.g. a speed session might be particularly suited to working on catch and kick development.
  • The nature of the sessions will vary depending on the point in the season e.g. in the autumn and winter, your strength sessions might be targeting pure power/force generation (shorter intervals, high resistance), whereas as we get closer to racing season it may be longer intervals developing strength endurance.

How do I know how to do the swim drills? What if I’ve never done any swim drills before?

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done any swim drills before. We always endeavour to demonstrate and explain the drills to you on poolside, including what the purpose of each drill is, and what we’re therefore trying to improve in your swim stroke.

To facilitate your understanding, Jennie and I spent some time recording swim drill videos, which not only show you HOW to complete the commonest drills we use, but also WHY we use them. We’ll try to share them in the club Facebook group before each session, and in the comments in TeamApp, so to get the most out of the sessions you’ll really benefit from watching the videos beforehand. Each one is only around a minute long.

They are all uploaded our YouTube channels: and – take a look!

What swim kit do I need?

Absolutely essential:

  • Goggles and a swimsuit! We will give you a Tri2O swim hat at your first club session (you don’t have to wear it, but it’s nice to see a pool full of them!) – remind the coach if they forget!

Really hard to access the sessions without:

  • Pull buoy (any will do, nothing fancy required!)
  • Training fins (long flexible fins are ideal, Finis long fins, Madwave long fins, Decathlon – do a search in the club FB group for “training fins” and you’ll see many posts about this)

We can sometimes lend you equipment, and if you’re just starting out then please do come along anyway, just let us know in advance if you need fins in particular, so that the coach can try and bring some that are the right size for you to try.

Would be very helpful to have:

  • Paddles (Finis Agility, or Tyr Catalyst, are good all round paddles. Finis Freestyler are good for technique)
  • Central snorkel (Any will do – we like the Finis Stability one, but the Decathlon version is more than fine, and there are many others on the market)
  • Ankle band (you can use an old beyond-repair bicycle inner tube, cut up and tied in a band)
  • Kickboard – any will do.


  • Able to swim 200m frontcrawl without stopping

Desirable attributes 😉

  • An open mind to trying new things
  • A willingness to have a bit of fun in the sessions and maybe even push out of your comfort zone
  • A bit of flexibility to help things run smoothly in your lane! This also might mean changing lanes some weeks, or moving position in the lane.
  • A sense of humour helps too ha!

Why should I join a club session? What if I already have a training plan?

  • It’s good fun to train with others
  • It’s much “easier” to push yourself hard when you’re swimming with others who are all doing the same session plan
  • You have a coach watching you, evaluating your stroke, and providing live, in person feedback to help you develop and improve your swim stroke
  • You can almost always integrate your club swims into an existing training plan – if you’re very organised and following a generic plan, you can look in advance to see what the session theme will be, and substitute the most similar swim that week; if you have a coach, you can ask them to adapt the plan to include a club swim.
  • You get a chance to learn and practise open water skills like drafting, mass starts, deep water starts and swimming in close proximity, in a controlled environment all year round, without getting in trouble with the lifeguards and other swimmers!
Georgia Jackson
Head Coach

Request from Social Media Secretary

As a club it would be great to share your stories, training and general swim, bike, run fun you have on the clubs Instagram and Facebook pages. 

We want to see photos of any events (triathlon or club related) you participate in to share on the club feeds. It would be great to highlight and celebrate all your achievements. 

If you are leading or taking part in club group activities do send Sian any pictures it would be great to be able to boast about the great club we are part of. Please do make sure everyone is comfortable with the photos being used on social media. 

Remember to tag #Tri2O #Tri2Oclub in your own posts if you are happy for us to share them and follow the club Instagram and Facebook pages. 

You can send photos to Sian via the email don’t forget to tell her what you were up to at the time…


Gut Buster 2022

by Gyles Ifill

I’ve been asked to write a quick summary of my first Gutbuster Race this last December. This 10 mile cross-country run wasn’t just my first gutbuster, but also the longest race I’ve entered.

 First a quick introduction, I’m Gyles and I joined Tri2O this past September, training towards completing some events this coming year. Biking is by far my preference but I looked at preparing for Gut Buster as a solid goal to improve the running discipline.

The road to Gut Buster started 2 months beforehand. Edwina McDowell did an amazing job throwing together a 8-week training program and rallying the troops for Race day. This was predominantly an online run club (you may have seen postings on the Facebook page) which met Thursday evenings to help plan your week’s training. With “having a structured training plan” being a bit of a novel concept to me I immersed myself into this running thing I’ve heard so much about.

Briefly, the goal of the training schedule was to build up our 10 km off road pace. I think my main takeaways from this process were

  1. Look for 70% of your distance run to be off road
  2. Pacing off road and on road will require different exertion levels, and probably my favorite…
  3. Make sure you keep your easy runs easy. An important feature for recovery and building distance.

With this in mind, I looked to keep at around 3 runs a week with one being the more focused run sessions Edwina had planned out for us. These included strides up and overs, speed and progression runs, and, in all honesty this did wonders for my running. It had been a while since I had enjoyed running this much, with the weekly check-ins helping me keep to the training plan and a couple “pop up runs” in Englefield to look forward to, I really felt my fitness improve over those 8-weeks.

At the beginning of December one of our online meetings was with event organisers, Ceri from MST events. He gave us an in depth run down of the 10 km and 10 mile courses and description of what to expect on the day. Gut Buster veterans Edwina and Martin seemed confident in their choice to run the 10 km. The novice in me was now really wondering what I had done choosing to run the 10 miler, nevertheless the excitement was building and I was super keen to see what the course had in store for us.

Skip forward to race day, New Years Eve 2022! As if willed by the organisers themselves, there had been a lot of rain leading up to Gut Buster ensuring that we’d have a muddy affair to deal with. Ceri, who had walked the course the morning of the race, described it as “filthy”, so we were assured it was gonna be a good one. The race was sold-out with a mention of around 100 people having to be turned away from the event, leaving us as the lucky ones to brave the course. There was a strong Tri2O turnout on the day rocking various amounts of orange and black, just enough to weather the coming storm that would be Gut Buster 2022.

With a prompt briefing at 0955, and a rousing “oggy oggy oggy” we were set loose on the quagmire that was Butlers Land Farms in Mortimer. This first part of the race launched us right into ankle-deep mud before heading up and off around the paths on the farm land. The first river crossing was just about 1 mile in. There was a dry option to stay out of the Ford, but let’s be honest, it wasn’t that much drier considering the rain. We were them brought toward the Roman wall of Silchester which provided the first evidence of the course taking its toll. Footprints became smears in the mud as the camber away from old walls provided a surprising challenge of balance to many (including myself). The first 5 km felt great, but deep down I wish I’d prepared for the hills more.

In a couple km from the wall we came to the split in the course for the 10 km and 10 mile routes. As tempting as it was to veer off to the right and be done in a healthy couple km, I dug deep, went left and stayed true to my purchase. This was just under half way for the long course and I could feel the fatigue already setting in, thinking to myself, just have to do that distance again, it won’t be that hard. Little did I know how hard it would be.

The rain eased through this part of the race, but really, the damage had been done. The 10 mile route was predominantly off road at this point, skirting from field to field where you could feel the mud sapping the energy with each stride and along trails that could have been mistaken for streams. The 10 mile and 10 km routes briefly merged again just before the 2nd and final river crossing. This was a welcome relief from the mud but short-lived, as the field after the river was another shoe-stealing ankle deep mudfest. The course finishes with a couple out and back stretches leading back to the farm. During the pre-race briefing we were informed that the mile markers may be in the wrong places, and boy did that last mile feel long. The last turn brought on a small burst of pace up yet another muddy hill and to the finish line, welcomed home with mince pies, mulled wine, and medals.

Overall, credit to the course organisers for making such a challenging and interesting course. Even in the overcast and rainy backdrop it provided a beautiful course and definitely one to remember. Cannot say enough about how seamlessly everything was run and an incredible atmosphere to match. I’ll definitely be back later this year to complete another 10 miler, and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s up for a bit of a challenge. As far as mud and rain is concerned, it’ll be tough to get as much value for money as this past year.

Mumbai Marathon 2023

by Sunil Fernandes

Mumbai is my hometown where I spent most of my early years; there isn’t much I don’t know about this city, but I never knew it held a marathon. I first became aware of it in 2017 when few of my friends ran the marathon; since then it was on my bucket list.

In India nothing is straight forward, not even signing up for a marathon. When I tried to enter in 2018, I was asked to submit a timing certificate for a previous marathon to prove that I had run a marathon in under 6 hours; I didn’t have one.  All that changed once I ran Berlin in 2021. I now have a marathon timing certificate with a sub 4 hours time, surely its my ticket to Mumbai Marathon. While the rest of the world was out of Covid restrictions, India was still hanging on to restrictions. The 2022 Mumbai marathon was cancelled. Have to wait another year!!!

In Sept 2022, I got the notification that Tata Mumbai Marathon is back in the physical format after an absence of 3 years for its 18th edition. I submitted my entry and waited. A month later I got the email saying my entry has been accepted and I have secured a place to run Mumbai Marathon.

Fun Fact – Mumbai Marathon was inspired by London Marathon. The year 2003 two brother, Anil and Vivek attend the London Marathon. That experience was an endorsement of their dream, it helped unfold the power of sport right in front of their eyes. The rush of the legs, the pulsating heartbeats, the vibrant positive energy, and the smiles at that finish line, were symbolic of each participant’s triumph. An unforgettable event, it left an indelible mark on the brothers. And thus, began the journey of The Mumbai Marathon.

The Mumbai Marathon, also known as the TATA Mumbai Marathon, is an annual international marathon race held in Mumbai, India. It is one of the largest marathons in Asia and attracts a large number of participants from around the world, including elite runners and amateur athletes. The marathon is typically held in January and features several race categories, including a full marathon, half marathon, 10K, and 5K. The marathon starts from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) and runs past Marine Drive, Chowpatty Beach, Haji Ali, 5.6 km of Bandra-Worli Sea-link, Mahalaxmi Racecourse, Wankhede Stadium, Churchgate, and eventually ends at Azad Maidan. The route takes runners through some of Mumbai’s iconic landmarks and provides a unique experience of running through the bustling streets of India’s financial capital.

The marathon starts at 05:15am on statistically the coolest weekend of the year – it’s around 17 °C at the start line, and only starts to warm up two hours later when the sun rises – the temperature starts to hit 30 °C with around 60% humidity.

Starting at 5:15am and watching the sun come up as we ran on the Bandra-Worli Sea-link was an amazing experience. I entered the 5.6 km Sea-link in darkness and by the time I had crossed the bridge it was bright sunshine.

The first half of the run is mostly in darkness, but you miss nothing as you re-trace you steps back to finish along this stretch.

There is water station every 2 km and I made sure that I had a sip at every water station to keep hydrated. There were electrolytes every 4 km along with orange slices sprinkled with salt, perfect pick-me-up race food.

The second half of the run is absolutely electrifying; by the time you start the second half of the run, the sun is up and people are out on the streets. People peeping out of their windows, boom boxes out in the balconies, elderly getting their chairs out to bask in the sun by the roadside, small kids with biscuits, oranges, salt, water bottles, and ice packs at junctures… last but not the least the Mumbai police officials ensuring utmost security to all the runners.. all this just to catch a glimpse cheering on for us who participated in this jamboree to run.

55,000 runners took part in this mega event making it the largest mass participation sporting event in Asia and I’m sure every soul is left mesmerised just like me. Ran past the finish line with a literal sense of consciousness and exhilaration, just for the love of running !

It’s all about the bounce

by Sally Waterman

A few people have noticed on Strava that I do a lot of rebounding and have asked about it so I thought I’d explain what it is and the potential benefits, and why I have started doing it so often. Rebounding is low-impact cardiovascular exercise on a mini-trampoline – a ‘rebounder’. It came to prominence in the US after NASA published a study in 1980 which compared the biomechanical stimulation created by rebounding with walking, jogging and running in eight young men. The driver for the research was the finding that astronauts lost up to 15% of their bone and muscle mass in as little as 14 days in space. The research showed that for similar levels of heart rate and oxygen consumption, the magnitude of the biomechanical stimuli was greater with jumping on a trampoline than with running.

A lot of claims about the benefits of rebounding have been made but very few studies have been conducted to substantiate them and those that have been reported are very small. A study published in 2018 (Witassek et al) showed a statistically significant increase in treadmill run speed and trunk strength in 12 males who had rebounded three times a week for 8 weeks compared to a control group. A study published in 2016 (Şahin et al) showed a significantly greater improvement in VO2max in six males who had rebounded for 8 weeks compared to six who had run. The beneficial effects of ‘jump training’ on muscle power in those over 50 years of age was confirmed in a meta-analysis of data from nine studies involving 13 groups.

My reason for buying a rebounder was not specifically to increase muscle power but to move some of the lymph fluid out of the tissues of my right leg – I first heard about rebounding via a lymphoedema running and fitness Facebook group I joined. Unlike the cardiovascular system the lymphatic system does not have its own pump so relies on muscle contractions to move lymph fluid around the body, via a network of vessels with one-way valves. The vertical up-and-down movement of rebounding creates muscle contractions and relaxations that pump the fluid. In addition to moving fluid, rebounding has improved my leg and core muscle strength, and balance.

Unsurprisingly there are a lot of rebounding classes on YouTube. For the shear variety of movements delivered in a short session and her unpretentious style, I follow Claire at SanFran fitness (a Brit living in Mexico). There are so many different movements that can be done on a rebounder that you get a total body workout – the upper back and arms work as hard as the legs in Claire’s sessions, especially when she adds hand weights! She makes it fun – it’s the only hard physical effort that I do with a smile on my face – her ‘Babs fling’ (for those old enough to remember Carry on Camping) is a particular favourite. SanFran provides workouts of different durations (10-60 min), speeds and difficulty. For those who prefer to exercise with others, there are group rebounding classes – Bounce (a global franchise) run classes locally (I’ve not tried them). I’ve put links to the SanFran and Bounce below.

If you are thinking of buying a rebounder one of the key decisions is whether to buy one with springs (metal) or bungees. There are pros and cons of each. The spring rebounders are generally less expensive, but they can be noisy, which can be very irritating for anyone in earshot, although oiling the springs does help. The bungees are quieter, but the bounce is gentler so on the rebound it is more difficult to propel yourself as high as you do on a spring rebounder. Bungee rebounders are considered to be safer as there is no metal to catch your foot on so they can be used barefoot. The other key decision is size. I would recommend getting the largest that you have space for – some fold in half or quarters for storage but it’s a bit of a faff to do that each time you want to use it. It’s important to check the size of the mat and not just the diameter of the rebounder as depending on where the protective cover over the springs or bungees is attached the mat can be smaller on a rebounder with a larger diameter. I have a Maximus Pro spring rebounder from Rebound Fitness. I have also tried their Fit Bounce Pro bungee rebounder. Their customer service is fantastic.

If this type of exercise appeals to you but you want to try before you buy, let me know and we can arrange for you to try a little bouncing.


SanFran Fitness:


Rebound Fitness:

Sources of information:



Dr Eric Berg:

Witassek et al:

Şahin et al:

Country to Capital 2023 – The Run with the Happy Ending

Not that sort of ‘happy ending’, bring your minds out of the gutters…..

by Stuart Jay

So for those that don’t know me I am the club Treasurer and in recent years taken to running ultras more than triathlons. Although last summer had plans of about 6 triathlons of varying distance we ended up only doing 2 because of the event organisers going out of business.

This was my 5th time running of the Country to Capital Ultra, a 43 mile run (well jog) from the beautiful village of Wendover to Little Venice in London. It is a run of 2 halves with the first rolling hills, mud and beautiful countryside and the second the Grand Union Canal.

Having started a new job in May last year my training was almost non-existent. I had run a 50k ultra in October off very little training so whilst not feeling trained for it I felt that I had enough base fitness to be able to finish the race which was goal #1. I have a big year ahead and this was race 1 of 6 totaling just over 400 miles between them.

So, whilst not feeling trained I was mentally ready, until the week before when I came down with the cold/flu that was doing the rounds. I was feeling worse as the week progressed but then on Thursday felt a little better and Friday again a little better. Last year I did the race when ill and it wiped me out for the week after, the same couldn’t happen as I was flying to Las Vegas on the Monday after the race for work.

The race itself is great but this year (as last) the weather wasn’t. The other runners are so friendly and the marshals are brilliant, this was my 1st ultra 5 years before and I will probably go back again next year. I had started with my friend but we got separated shortly after Check Point (CP)1. Once I got to 22 miles I was starting to feel the lack of running in my legs so backed off and broke into my run/walk strategy earlier than normal. I even rewarded myself with a lunch mile shortly after CP3. As the night started to draw in I could see that I was going to be loads slower than my previous efforts but that didn’t matter, in fact the mental element of running an ultra is big and this was training for that side. As I approached the final 2 miles my friend caught me up. His first question was if I was ok because he was expecting to see me in the pub not on the path. I told him all good and we chatted along the final part and finished together.

That is not where this race ends. See I had an ulterior motive for finishing…..

Unbeknown to anyone else I had been carrying with me precious cargo for the 43 miles and when we got to Little Venice Andi was waiting as per normal, being chief cheerleader. After collecting my medal we found a quiet spot on a pretty bridge over the GUC and I got down on one knee and proposed. Lucky for me she said yes – she then had to help me up!

May not be the most romantic settings for some and I could have been in better shape and a little less smelly but this time of year and the race has a meaning to us. It was this time of year 4 years ago that we met in person for the first time, after many hours of texting and chatting. In fact after my first running of the event, Andi took me out on a date in the evening and it was the first time I held her hand as we walk (hobbled) back to the car in the Oracle in Reading.

The idea of proposing on the bridge came to me in the build up to the race so I always knew I would be starting and finishing the race, even not feeling 100%. The pain in the legs was masked by love in the heart. Afterward we found my friend and went for the customary pint which now had a celebratory meaning to it. So lucky to have Andi in my life she inspires me to do crazy things like this, although I don’t think I’m having any luck talking her into doing an ultra yet!!

My First Gut Buster

by Miha Razinger

During the last few years, I realized that from all the running events, I enjoy 10 km to half-marathon distance off-road races the most. Gut Buster, a traditional end of the year trail run organized by MST, is one of only a few local races that I’ve never particpated in. Over the years I’ve heard some intimidating stories about it. The MST marketing department thought that the name itself is not attractive enough on its own and decided to advertise the event with the tagline: the hardest last 400 m in British Athletics. Incredibly, it was sold out with more than a hundred of people on the waiting list.

In 2022, we were planning to spend the week around the New Year in Reading, so when Edwina proposed to start an 8-week Tri2o Virtual Run Club to build up to the race, I decided to sign up for the 10-mile version.

If you’ve never attended Edwina’s virtual running sessions, you are missing out. She is not only a top-level runner but also a very knowledgeable coach, and a good motivator. We were meeting once a week on Zoom to review the previous week’s workout session and to discuss the new assignment. I was not following any structured training programme, so adding a bit of variety to my runs was great. I even managed to convince a few work colleagues to join me in my interval sessions during our regular lunchtime runs. As it’s probably the case for some of you, I find it easier to push myself with a bit of peer pressure. None of the workouts were brutal, but doing them week after week, I could feel my fitness is improving.

Before Christmas, we travelled to Slovenia to visit the family and enjoy winter. I still had one last big workout to complete. The only possible time in the busy week was immediately after a full day of skiing. It was a freezing and foggy evening. I was following an unlit cycling trail out of Kranjska Gora. To add to the gloomy atmosphere, I’ve heard two independent reports that a pack of wolves was spotted in the valley. When my trail cut through a dark forest, I saw a pair of eyes being reflected from my head torch. Luckily, it was just a cat. I’m not ashamed to admit that the entire run was a much faster than originally planned.

I’ve attended many MST swimming and running events, so I knew I should expect faultless organization and lots of good vibes. The race was held at Butlers Lands Farm, just south of Mortimer. As there was no parking around the farm, logistics looked complicated in the race instructions, but the buses from Mereoak Park & Ride ran smoothly and everybody got there with plenty of time to get ready.

At the farm, I meet many of the fellow Tri2O runners. Sunil, helpful as always, gave me some valuable advice about the course (it gets harder towards the end) and about shoelaces (I should tighten them hard, otherwise I could lose my shoes). I also followed his example of wearing a cap. There was no risk of any sun exposure, but it made wearing contact lenses through frequent showers more pleasant.

The two hallmarks of Gut Buster are the ford crossings and soul-crushing, well gut-busting, mud. It was raining a lot in the week before the race, so we were guaranteed to get the full experience on both accounts. The forecast for Saturday was heavy showers, windy conditions, but very mild with temperatures at around 12 ˘C. At the race briefing, we were also surprised by a change of the race start. Instead of a gentle warm up along the paved road, we were going head-first into the field from the race tagline.

As in many running races before, Sunil and I started together. However, I knew soon that on that day he was going to be too fast for me. If this had been a flat road race, I could have stayed with him a bit longer, but in my head I kept hearing his words about the final kilometres. During the long, steady climb towards Silchester, I started paying attention to my heart rate, and I finally lost touch with him.

The course was varied with a mixture of paved roads, gravel segments and more or less muddy trails, but the worst parts were the flooded fields. It felt like running through a marsh, sometimes sinking over your ankles and slipping backwards even on small inclines. As promised, the worst segment was during the last 2 km before the finish. Plodding over the slowly rising trail, my heart rate was still under control, but I had nothing left in my legs. Did I go too fast in the first half and I was now paying the price? Looking around me, I was not loosing ground to anyone and I even managed to overtake a couple of runners. So, it was not just me, everyone was suffering

I managed to stumble over those famous final 400 metres just as it started to rain heavily again. I crossed the finish line and exchanged a few words with Martin who was just getting ready to cycle home through another downpour. I was exhausted and I was getting cold, so I didn’t stayed around long.

After the race, someone told me that we were lucky that the fields were not ploughed. It sounded like something one of the Four Yorkshiremen would say.

I want to thank the marshals, who were standing on the course in miserable weather making sure that all the runners could complete the course safely. It was great to see many familiar faces among them. Special mention to Holly and her bonkers over-the-top motivational slogans.

Would I do it again? It’s a genuinely great course and I’ve never been to a poorly run MST event. According the organisers, the 2022 was a vintage mud-fest year, so surely there can not be two such years in a row? Maybe I’ll take my chances.

Full List of Winners and Nominees

Henderson Personality of the Year

  • Clare Harris for encouraging members to get on their bikes with a range of options to ride off-road (with plenty of helpful tips along the way), on-road and on Zwift, and for sharing her knowledge of Time Trials and experience of racing off road to motivate others to try these types of event. She is a fantastic female role model for the club. She attends many events, including those that are typically more male dominated like time trials, meaning that female club members can be sure there’ll be a friendly face present. Clare is always encouraging and her obviously love of all things triathlon and muddy is very inspiring.
  • Edwina McDowall
  • Nicky Rumsey
  • Lee Hinton
  • Sally Waterman

Most Improved Member

  • Mark Stokes only started triathlon in 2020 because he couldn’t swim in lockdown (all his target events were swims), didn’t have a bike, so thought he’d try running to keep fit. Then he bought a second-hand bike. In 2021 he completed his first couple of triathlons, and in 2022 he achieved a rolldown percentage for Age group world championships qualification. Although he didn’t qualify, this is a massive achievement for his first two years in the sport at the age of 55; and this includes running sub-25 minutes on an artificial hip. In doing so he beat his 2021 Eton Dorney Sprint Triathlon race time (01:24:33) by nearly 8 minutes with improved times in all disciplines to finish in 01:16:40 in 2022.
  • Amanda Gardiner
  • Julie Hoolio
  • Adam Phillips
  • Sunil Fernandes
  • Roger Ganpatsingh
  • Nora Holfords

Most Engaged Newcomer

  • Paul Archer, despite only joining the club in 2022, Paul has been a regular attender at Friday morning swim sessions, Sunday club rides (including leading rides), club nominated park runs and social events. He’s also contributed to the newsletter, is helpful and engaged in the club FB group, helped out for the whole of race weekend at the Reading Tri (including sharing the big task of MC) and has stepped up to volunteer as Kit Secretary. What a first year! Thanks Paul, and welcome!
  • Steve Roddy
  • Gyles Ifill
  • Claire Hawthorn

Against All the Odds

  • Teresa Robbins for finishing IM 70.3 World Championships in St George, Utah, in October, after almost no running since August due to a stress fracture of the left fibia which was only diagnosed 2 weeks before travelling and then breaking the top joint of her big toe whilst exiting the swim and running through the increasing pain to finish the race, after waiting 3 years to compete.
  • Simon Barbour
  • Mark Stokes
  • James Lemin
  • Sean Stewart & Sally Waterman
  • Cliodhna Kennedy

Most Excruciating Moment

  • Andy Tucker for starting IM Hamburg with an avoidable injury to his calf that was sustained 6 weeks earlier because he couldn’t resist the temptation to race whilst participating in a ‘fun’ trail run he’d entered with his son. He ended up walking most of the marathon so was not able to achieve the time that he’d trained hard for all year.
  • Neil Harris
  • Teresa Robbins

Club Championship

  • Andi Goodall – Sprint distance (Dorney Sprints)
  • Amanda Gardiner – Standard Distance (Cardiff Triathlon)
  • Bally Lotay – Middle distance (New Forest Rattler)
  • Iain Marsh – Middle distance (Northumbrian)
  • Nora Holford – Full distance (Ironman Italy)
  • Adam Phillips – Multi-Sport (Race Rapid/Brit Tri AG cup)

Dates for your diary

It was great to see so many members at the awards evening – congratulations to all nominees and award winners!

For those wondering when their next social fix will be, we have some confirmed dates you can add to your diary. We are currently in discussions with TVT regarding a relay event similar to last year once the lake warms up a bit. We will share information on these as and when we have more information.

  • 26 March : Katie’s Pink Ride – Look out for more info from bike officer Clare Harris in due course!
  • 14 – 16 April : Club trip to Wales – More details have been circulated by email and on Facebook – get in touch with Club Captain Neil Harris for more info. Get booked on sooner rather than later before it is opened up to other local tri clubs.
  • 13 May/14th May : Xterra Weston Park (Triathlon/Duathlon)  – Neil & Sally have entered – who else fancies the challenge?
  • 17 June : Fish & Chip Ride – Look out for more info from bike officer Clare Harris in due course!
  • Summer : Social BBQ – A relaxed social catch up with club members whilst enjoying a BBQ in the sun (hopefully)
  • August TBC : Swim and Trim – Meet up with club members to help prep the site for the Reading Triathlon
  • 3 September : Reading Triathlon 2023 – Look out for more information nearer the time for volunteer slots – always a great atmosphere cheering on those racing.

I am open to new ideas on social events, and keen to hear from club members what that would like so please do send me an email on with any ideas.

Clare Hawthorn
Social Secretary

We would love to hear from you

The next newsletter will be in Apr 2023, please send your contribution to before 10th Apr 2023.

Categories: blog, newsletter