Successful year as athletes shine in popular and physically-testing events

Brett Fletcher.
Brett Fletcher.

With the final race of another triathlon season over, the City of Lancaster Triathlon Club (COLT) can rank this year among one of its most successful ever.

The club, which was formed in 2008, supports multi-sport disciplines such as biathle, duathlon and triathlon from sprints to Ironman, at all levels from juniors to senior Great Britain age-group athletes.

In just seven years the club and the popularity of the sport has grown significantly and COLT can now claim not only to be one of the largest triathlon clubs in the North West but currently ranks fifth in Europe (Division Two) and 43rd worldwide based on the Ironman TriClub rankings for 2015.

COLT has strong links and partnerships with a number of local clubs in the Lancaster and Morecambe area.

A number of the juniors are also members of Salt Ayre Cog Set, Lancaster’s premier cycling club for 6 to 16 year olds.

Coached swim sessions take place at 3-1-5 Health Club with the club’s president, Richard Mason, as coach and at Heysham Pool in conjunction with Carnforth Otters.

The Water’s Edge, Carnforth, is the venue for open water swimming throughout the summer race season and provides a great opportunity for the club’s social events too.

The athletes of COLT have had another busy and successful race season across a wide, varied and increasingly competitive calendar.

The North West’s MyTriEvents again proved extremely popular with beginners through to seasoned campaigners in a range of aquathon, duathlon and triathlon sprint events, with COLTS Matthew Mitchell and Anna Geary winning the overall Capernwray mid-week triathlon race series titles.

Half ironman distance races in the UK and abroad continue to grow with even more COLTS taking on the challenge.

The 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run offered different challenges to athletes. Locally, Andy Horn won and retained his title at A Day In The Lakes, along with a second place podium finish at the Salford Triathlon, while Kerry Oldfield won her age category and was third woman overall at Rubicon, Newby Hall.

Down at the Cotswolds, an awesome performance by Kieran Rowlands won his age group which earned him fifth place overall.

Other favorites included the scenic Bala Middle Distance, North Wales, Ironman Staffs 70.3 and The Ultimate Half in Shropshire.

Overseas, COLTS were represented at Challenge Rimini and Zell Am See in stunning and picturesque Austrian town, while the popular holiday resort of Mallorca is fast becoming a favorite among the club’s athletes.

The Ironman distance of 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run, all completed within the 17 hour cut-off remains a challenge that many seek to achieve.

In 2014, 23 athletes undertook the challenge of Ironman Lanzarote on the volcanic island.

In addition to Lanzarote, this year saw a range of athletes spread across a number of events including The Outlaw, IM Mallorca, IM Wales, IM Melbourne and the highlight of the UK calendar, IMUK Bolton where COLT supporters make the annual pilgrimage to now legendary ‘COLT Alley’ in Adlington to create the best supported venue on any UK triathlon circuit.

The number of COLT athletes earning Great Britain and Age-Group representation continues to grow. 
There were some impressive performances by Brett Fletcher, Paul Tynan and Beau Smith all competing for GB on the international stage.

A brilliant year for Brett Fletcher, who in addition to qualifying for and achieving a top half finish at the World Triathlon Sprint Age-Group Championships in Chicago also won a bronze medal at the ETU European Age-Group Aquathon championships in Cologne.

Chicago qualifier Paul Tynan gave a good account of himself at the championships in which he qualified for by finishing 2nd at the Chester Diva Olympic Distance Triathlon, a distance made popular by the Commonwealth, European, World and Olympic Champions, Alastair and Jonathon Brownlee.

Paul went even better at the Euro Duathlon Age Group Championships in Spain, picking up a bronze medal.