We’re chuffed to bits that Alex Lawton has reached the Tri World’s in September, to be held in London. We’re going to be there waving our flags! Go Alex!
In his words, here’s how he did it…..
Crossing the finish line 1st is the goal in any race, however not all races are created equal and sometimes 4th place in a high quality and significant race can be as good as, if not better, than a 1st elsewhere (that’s a hint that I didn’t win by the way).
At last weekend’s Deva Triathlon in Chester, 1200 triathletes were competing for spots at this year’s Triathlon World Championships in London, on the Olympic course. This incentive (and prize money on offer) saw a great field top age groupers and semi-pros.
It was a perfect morning for a race weather wise, which really does help when you’re jumping into a river at 06:50 am. I was in the first wave at 0700 with +100 others. It was the usual chaos of scrambling bodies and flailing arms and the confined river channel further boxed the swimmers in. As the swimmers spread out I found myself 10m behind a pack and unable to bridge the gap to draft off the other and save some energy. The solitary 850 meters upstream seemed to last an age before turning for the 650m downstream.
The rest of the swim was largely uneventful as I swam alone trying to keep a decent pace. After exiting the river the hard work continued as a short uphill run to transition in a heavy water filled wetsuit sapped the legs of energy. The bike leg didn’t start well as someone decided to try the ‘flying bike mount’ without checking for a clear path and colliding into the racer next to me and causing a domino effect of carbon fibre bikes. Once in the saddle and shoes clipped in the route was a relatively flat and fast 40k. The legs didn’t feel good but my pace was ok and I began to catch some of the quicker swimmers. The rule in triathlon is to keep a good 7 metres behind the cyclist in front to ensure you gain no benefit from slip streaming. Maybe they’d been watching the apprentice but despite a clear warning before the race a good few people seemed to have confused metres with centimetres! Eventually one of the x6 motorbike referees passed the train of cyclist and things spread out a bit. With each racer using the person in front as a pacemaker the pace was steady and the group largely stayed together as we looped through the country lanes and back into the city centre.
A quick transition saw me and a few others leave transition together and set about the 10k run. I estimated my overall position somewhere near 20th, and knew that I could jump up a few places with a decent run split. I set out at a quick pace and began to increase the gap between myself and the group. As we were the first wave of racers I knew that those each person I passed was moving me up the rankings. With a string of racers ahead of me I knew that I was running well and just focused on eating up the ground between myself and the person infront, and repeating this until I crossed the line. I had some great friends and family who had come over watch the race and their support really did help block out the pain for those seconds you pass by them. I headed back out for the second and final lap with the possibility to climb another few places.
All was going well and I had just made another pass to move into 3rd place when I went over on my right ankle. I managed to run it off, not lose my position and get back up to speed. As I looped back up along the river and across the bridge for the final time I tried to up the pace and crossed the line with nothing left. I soon realised that I was the 3rd finisher in our wave of racers meaning I’d qualified for the World Championships in September. I stuck around until the afternoon to see the final results and as only 1 person from the later wave had beat my time I finished in 4th place overall! A fantastic result in a really strong field!
Unfortunately as the adrenaline wore off the pain and swelling in my right ankle began to grow, less than ideal with 12 days until the European Championship race. Between now and the Euro’s is the time to focus on recovering from Chester, mending my ankle, and being as fit and fresh as I possibly can be by the 14th June!