If you build it, they will come.
Quite whether Thoresby Park in Nottinghamshire can be described as triathlon’s ‘Field of Dreams’ I’m not sure, but the intervention of the Professional Triathletes Organisation and the addition of a $15,000 prize purse to Sunday’s second edition of the Outlaw X Triathlon, certainly attracted a ‘Best of British’ feel.
Of course, not everyone was there. No Alistair Brownlee (he’s on the start list for an ITU World Cup race in a couple of weeks time), plus Lucy Charles-Barclay and Emma Pallant (to name two) were never on the start-list, but when you take a look at the top five athletes, male and female, below then that is a more solid #BatteOfTheBrits in a season which has been destroyed by the coronavirus.
Let’s not forget the organisers either. The Outlaw Triathlon series has developed in popularity through it’s quality race offerings since the original full-distance event 10 years ago. Outlaw X was the only one of their planned five event series that was able to go ahead – with significant Covid compliance measures – this year. It’s not only athletes that have had their season wrecked.
Very cold and windy conditions meant that overnight the planned 1.9km swim had to be shortened to 750m for safety reasons, and while that of course wouldn’t have played to the favour of the likes of Lucy Hall, in the circumstances, I suspect being able to race at all on home soil would have far outweighed that disappointment.
No surprise with such a short swim (even with the slight TT start), to see several of the top men reach their bikes in close order.
Once out on the road, George Goodwin and Tim Don broke away from Tom Davis, with Adam Bowden holding fourth place, and Don and Goodwin would reach T2 in close order.
George was able to gap Tim on the run, and add a win in Nottingham to his second place a few weeks ago at the Helvellyn Triathlon. With several IRONMAN 70.3 wins and his great effort last year at the World Championship in Nice, Goodwin looks set to feature on many a podium in the years to come.
While Tim did cross the line second, Tom Davis was able to close in over the final kilometres and after adjustment for his deficit at the start of the swim, he would just take second, to add to his podium in Gdynia a couple of weeks ago.
Lucy Hall, of course, lead the way in the water for the female Pro athletes, but with a small advantage than we would have likely seen had the full distance been possible. Langridge, Matthews, Bartlett and Astle followed in 2nd-5th.
Matthews (winner in Tallinn) and Bartlett (winner at Helvellyn) have shown strong in this limited season, and powered their way to the front of the field once out onto the 90km bike route, over-taking Langridge and early leader, Lucy Hall.
Matthews managed to get out of T2 ahead of Bartlett, and that was how it remained for the next 21km, finishing up with a winning margin of just over two minutes, both athletes running strongly and in my eyes, both showing a step up in performance from 2019. Just a shame they have had few opportunities to show it.
Fenella Langridge added another third place to her podium fromm Les Sables d’Olonne, with Ruth Astle – by just 11 seconds – claiming fourth place ahead of Lucy Hall.
Outlaw X Triathlon, Thoresby Park, Nottingham – Sunday 27th September 2020
750m swim / 90km bike / 21.1km run
1st – George Goodwin – 3:38:10
2nd – Thomas Davis – 3:41:08
3rd – Tim Don – 3:41:16
4th – Adam Bowden – 3:43:29
5th – Luke Pollard – 3:48:38
1st – Katrina Matthews – 4:03:13
2nd – Nikki Bartlett – 4:05:39
3rd – Fenella Langridge – 4:10:00
4th – Ruth Astle – 4:13:32
5th – Lucy Hall – 4:13:43
PRIZE PURSES (Male & Female)
1st – $2,250
2nd – $1,875
3rd – $1,500
4th – $1,125
5th – $750