Outlaw Triathlon 2018, Simone Mitchell dominates, Joe Beech wins thriller

Simon Mitchell Outlaw Triathlon 2018

Fourth overall for the current IRONMAN 70.3 Age-Group World Champion

Joe Beech wins a thriller to become men’s champion in Nottingham

The ninth edition of the Outlaw Triathlon is now in the books – and yet more memories have been made in Nottingham, at the ever-impressive full-distance event from OSB Events.

Having started in 2010, the brand has since added ‘brother and sister’ half distance races in Nottingham and Holkham, and those 18 races have now seen more than 18,000 athletes cross their finish lines. The ‘Outlaw’ goes from strength-to-strength.

Oh, and the ‘last men standing‘? Well, Gary Goacher, Graham Yare and David Manning-Ohren all collected their 18th medals on Sunday!

One Race. One Performance.

At the front of the field, two wildly contrasting race dynamics…

The Women

For the women, it was all about the performance of Simone Mitchell. Second this year at IRONMAN Lanzarote, twice an Age-Group podium finisher in Kona and the reigning 70.3 Age-Group World Champion, that she was a class apart was not really a surprise – we called her the favourite in this pre-race piece for a reason.

That she broke the course record (set last year by Gill Fullen), wasn’t unexpected, but by in the process setting a new bike course record, a new run course record, reducing the course record by more than 29 minutes and beating all but three of the men too… well, Lucy Gossage summed it up well:

Simone now has her sights set on the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona in October – and has a nice £1500 course record bonus to put towards the costs of funding what is an expensive trip.

An interesting precedent?

Five years ago, Catherine Faux – also an Outlaw Triathlon winner – went on to set the fast female Age-Group time ever in Kona, en-route to winning the Age-Group race overall. Can history repeat itself in October? It will take a special athlete to beat Simone Mitchell this year. Don’t be surprised if you see Simone racing in the Pro ranks in 2019.

The Men

If the women’s event was headlined by a performance, then the men’s was a fantastic race. No course record here – but that didn’t matter, on (despite Simone’s efforts!), what was really not a great day for racing with strong winds and rain.

Second two years ago, Joe Beech had looked as though he was going to repeat that well into the final 10km of the run. Having come off the bike in a close third, Gareth Hodgson was quickly into the lead and from his first steps, looked incredible on the run. Winner already this year of the Cotswold 113, the Grafman and an AG winner at IRONMAN 70.3 Edinburgh, this race had been a big focus and it looked for almost all of the run that the victory was his. His name may not have been high profile – but he was totally on my radar as a potential winner.

As Gareth passed the finish line with just one circuit of the perimeter road of the National Water Sports Centre to go (less than 5km), he was looking, as you expect, a little tired – but still moving ok. With a six or seven minute lead, no problem… except that Joe Beech had now reduced that gap to little more than two minutes and was pushing hard and fully focussed. Which way would this go? Was there going to be another dramatic, last-gasp lead change or close finish at an Outlaw event? We’ve been there before…several times!

As the crowd waited, the tension built – who would appear and see the red carpet and the finish line first? Well, as Joe told us after the race, he caught Gareth and made the pass with little more than half a kilometre remaining…

On the day that Geraint Thomas won the Tour De France, it would also be a Welsh one-two in Nottingham… and Joe Beech was thrilled to take the win and step up one place from his performance two years ago. It was a pleasure to watch it and a real thrill to be the one calling the athletes across the line as one of the commentary team at the race. If you enjoy sport, you can admire fantastic performances and you can enjoy great competition. We got both in Nottingham on Sunday.

For Gareth, disappointment I’m sure at not quite being able to take the top spot, but what a sporting response to his second place. Remember that name, I hope he’ll be back in future years and he certainly has the talent to – like Joe – make that final step to the top of the Outlaw Triathlon podium.

So, another Outlaw Triathlon season is over – and three more great events have been delivered for everyone from world class Elite athletes to first times, and done in a way that considers and cares for all. If you’ve not yet added an ‘Outlaw’ race to your triathlon experience, you are missing out on something special.

More from the Outlaw in due course, but having been up for almost 20 hours yesterday before heading back home, your Editor is a little tired right now… so do excuse me if I’ve made a typo or two above!

Outlaw Triathlon – Sunday 29th July 2018
3.8km / 180km / 42.2km

MEN

1st – Joe Beech – 8:54:14
2nd – Gareth Hodgson – 8:55:09
3rd – Chris Cope – 9:10:14

WOMEN

1st – Simone Mitchell – 9:15:44 (COURSE RECORD)
2nd – Hannah Katy Peel – 10:18:14
3rd – Lindsay Scott – 10:46:16

RELAYS

1st – Havering Hurricanes – 8:42:30
2nd – S&J Haulage Ltd – 8:47:47
3rd – Worth a Tri – 9:04:34