Tuff Fitty’s Clive Harvey reports from Sunday’s Frosty Aquathlon where the athletes were going like the wind.
As competitors drove down onto the coastal road in Sussex for the Frosty Aquathlon on Sunday March 5th, many would have been excused for asking themselves why they had got up so early. The Littlehampton seafront was faced with 46 mile an hour winds and the flags opposite the finish had already started to bend.
The Frostbite Aquathlon
The Frostbite was the first race off which commenced with a 400m pool swim. Always on the first Sunday in March, transition is indoors just in case of inclement weather. The Met office describes the wind speed as ‘fresh gale’ and competitors exited the pool to be met by the wind driving straight off the seafront. If that was not all, it had started to rain and after a while there were hailstones as well.
The Frostbite saw a loop of the local park before battling the full force of the wind on the promenade for a 5k run. First out of the pool was Shaun Challis ( UK Fire Service) in 5:32 (inc transition), but once on the run Clive Patterson-Lett from host club Tuff Fitty started to chase him down. Patterson-Lett would secure the best run split in this event of 17:56 but could not quite catch Challis who was the first competitor home, by 9 seconds. The first male junior home recorded an equally impressive time. Bradley Burke was the third person overall in a time of 25:58
For the ladies, the juniors were again to the fore with Naomi Fonteyn from Brighton Tri Club the first lady overall in 26:56. As a junior she elected to take the overall female trophy so the junior trophy was awarded to the next junior; Lauren Hodge of Tuff Fitty.
The Frosty Aquathlon
The main event was the Frosty an 800m swim followed by a 10k run. The wind hadn’t eased off but at least the driving rain had stopped as Sam Wade exited the pool in 1st position with a swim/transition time of just 10:36. The unusual format of wave starts enables competitors to see who they need to chase down and Jacob Cross had an equally strong swim of 10:53.
The Frosty Aquathlon has become established on the race calendar with 2017 being its 22nd year. Many of the course records have stood for a long time, 14 years for the ladies and 8 years for the men. Would the weather conditions would keep those intact? Sam, competing for Team PedalCover, wasn’t going to be stopped by these conditions. He completed the 10k in just 33:23, to cross the line in 43:59. This broke the record set by Gareth Evans in 2009 by 24 seconds – a superb performance. The next four men all broke the 50 minute barrier with Rob Sherwood (Team THE), 2nd overall and Charlie Foster (Steyning AC) 3rd. The 1st Male Vet was Mark Furth also from Team THE. The first Male supervet was Malcolm Hughes who is a regular racer at this event from Brighton Phoenix.
Michelle Peckham was the 1st Lady home in 59:27 (Horsham Amphibians) and 28 seconds behind, Lucinda Potten was second. Alice Kennedy was third in 61:45. Mary Campbell from Chichester Westgate took the award for female vet and Martine Burke the female supervet.
Running parallel to the individual race is a team competition where teams of four including at least one female combine their times. The recipients this year were Horsham Amphibians, who edged Tuff Fitty into second place.