Farnham ‘Iron’ finishers – at home and abroad

By Farnham Herald in Endurance Sports

FARNHAM Triathlon Club had another successful weekend of racing at opposite ends of the country, with Ironman finishers in Bolton and standard-distance World Championship qualifiers at Arundel Castle.

Although not one of the more exotic venues, Bolton has cemented its position as the home of Ironman UK by providing a well-organised experience for over 1,600 long-distance triathletes, all looking to gain coveted qualifying slots for the Hawaii World Championships in October.

It started with a 2.4-mile wetsuit swim in Pennington Flash Lake, followed by a 112-mile single-lap cycle circuit of Lancashire countryside, featuring over 1600 metres of climbing, including the infamous Sheephouse Lane and finish at the Macron Stadium, before a mainly flat four-lap 26.2-mile marathon.

FTC’s top ultra triathlete, Matt Winn-Smith, executed a well-paced race on his return to Ironman competition. Following a 1-02-51 swim and 5-35-47 cycle, he ran one of the fastest age-group marathons of the day, his time of 3-14-11 moving him up to 33rd overall and fifth in a competitive 35-39 age category with a total time of 10-00-54. Hawaii qualification achieved, but family commitments means that Winn-Smith will have to wait until another year.

Farnham’s four other representatives were making their Ironman debuts and all finished comfortably in the top half of the field.

Farnham results:

Matt Winn-Smith, Pos 33, Cat pos 5 M35-39, Swim 1-02-51, Bike 5-35-47, Run 3-14-11, Overall 10-00-54; Mark Tomlinson, 160, 34 M30-34, 1-11-08, 6-18-15, 3-28-28, 11-05-32; Chris Matthews, 200, 37 M35-39, 1-23-24, 6-21-26, 3-22-05, 11-22-09; Nicola Ferguson, 825, 14 F35-39, 1-28-43, 6-47-27, 4-46-50, 13-26-37; Gemma Mitchell, 833, 4 F45-49, 1-16-33, 7-04-21, 4-52-20, 13-27-49.

With qualifying places on offer for the 2017 ITU World Championships (standard-distance age-group) in Rotterdam later in the year, the Arundel Triathlon attracted a strong field of 500 for a 1500m swim, 40km cycle and 10km run.

Seven Farnham Tri members travelled to the West Sussex venue with high hopes and the results did not disappoint.

The event comprised a fast 1500m swim in the Arun, a 40km cycle over the South Downs, and closed-road 10km run in the shadows of the castle.

Automatic qualification went to James Long (2nd M45), Dom Brooks (2nd M50), Lynda Coggins (2nd F50) and Joanna Wright (4th F25), while Juan Marques, Gillian Barrett and Helen Collett were all placed high enough to hope for roll-down slots becoming available after further qualifiers.


James Long, 2 M45-49, 18-43, 1-00-19, 38-45, 1-59-09; Juan Marques, 6 M40-44, 22-36, 1-04-40, 39-14, 2-08-10; Dom Brooks, 2 M50-54, 21-00, 1-02-58, 43-30, 2-08-50; Joanna Wright, 4 F25-29, 23-42, 1-08-31, 43-02, 2-16-24; Lynda Coggins, 2 F50-54, 21-41, 1-15-08, 49-41, 2-28-05; Gillian Barrett, 8 F55-59, 28-14, 1-25-08, 55-10, 2-50-41; Helen Collett, 9 F55-59, 31-25, 1-26-49, 1-02-08, 3-04-11.

As the European Ironman season clicks into gear, Farnham Tri’s ‘Iron’ distance finishers is now heading towards the 300 mark.

Seven members travelled to Klagenfurt for Ironman Austria-K?rnten, reputedly one of the fastest courses on the circuit.

With water temperatures on the cusp of the 24 degree limit, the swim was deemed wetsuit legal for a single 2.4-mile loop of the crystal-clear Lake Worthersee.

First out of the water for Farnham was Mark Richardson in 59mins 39secs. A veteran with 14 previous Ironman finishes, Richardson proceeded to clock a fast 5hrs 4mins 29secs on the two-loop 112-mile cycle section.

After a valiant attempt to break the elusive 10-hour barrier, he clocked 3-48-57 for the marathon, giving him a personal best overall time of 10-02-46 for the distance.

New PB times by over half an hour went to the next two finishers, Gavin Hook (11-55-56) and Allie Richardson (13-17-56).

Another prolific long-distance triathlete, Andrew Robertson, struggled on the run with a back problem, but was pleased with his swim and bike efforts and finished his 11th Ironman in 13-24-26 – some way off his best time.

Martin Jackson recorded 13-59-29 also a PB.

FTC finishers:

Mark Richardson, Pos 285, Cat Pos 15 M50-54, Swim 59-29, Bike 5-04-29, Run 3-48-57, 10-02-46; Gavin Hook, 1441, 268 M45-49, 1-24-16, 5-52-51, 4-23-50, 11-55-56; Allie Richardson, 1996, 33 F45-49, 1-19-29, 7-14-50, 4-29-42, 13-17-56; Andrew Robertson, 2032, 405 M40-44, 1-21-04, 6-01-15, 5-49-55, 13-24-26; Martin Jackson, 2192, 432 M40-44, 1-21-57, 6-48-29, 5-34-50, 13-59-29.

Huw Lloyd has been a regular competitor at Challenge Roth in the Bavarian town near Nuremberg. Returning for the seventh time since 2006, he recorded splits of 1-26-20 (3.8km swim), 6-39-16 (180km cycle) and 5-17-51 (marathon) to finish 111th M55 in an overall 13-43-24.

New member Darren Walsh finished the ‘Cotswold 226’ in 12hrs 58mins 4secs (1-21-11, 6-14-51, 5-06-07).

Back at Farnham Sports Centre, the club held its second championship triathlon of the season. The ‘Club Olympic’ comprised a 1500m (60 length) swim in the sports centre, 38km cycle to Chawton and back and hilly 11km run in Farnham Park.

James Long lowered his own course record while becoming the first ever to break two hours for the course. Claudia Forster won a close battle with Lindsay Bamford to take female honours for the first time.


James Long, 1-59-54, 1 MV; Juan Marques, 2-08-54, 2 MV; Dom Brooks, 2-09-07, 1 MSV; Leo Maliphant, 2-09-25, 1 MS; Stuart Mclay, 2-13-06, 2 MS; Nick Holmes, 2-18-52, 2 MSV; Craig Bickerton, 2-22-34, 3 MS; Ian Howard, 2-27-52, 1 MSV60; Simon Carson-Jones, 2-33-21, 3 MV; Steve Wallace, 2-34-47, 3 MSV; Ross Dunbar, 2-39-13, 4 MSV; Claudia Forster, 2-44-20, 1 FS; Lindsay Bamford, 2-44-41, 1 FSV; Emily Chalkley, 2-45-46, 2 FS; Karen Masson, 2-50-00, 2 FSV; Noel Gurr, 2-50-41, 4 MS; Guy Clayton, 2-56-52, 4 MV; John Bennison, 3-06-39, 2 MSV60; Claudia Shand, 3-31-00, 1 FSV60.

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