The Saints Snowdonia Smash n’ Grab – Part 1


As was to be expected it was a relatively quiet week after the exhausting drama of the IMUK weekend but the “second half” of the peak summer season still began in fine style mere days after the big finish in Bolton as Caroline Stalker went to Harrogate for the armed forces northern championships. Having tasted age group success at the corresponding events down south earlier in the year she went one better in more familiar surroundings as she not only took her age group but was first overall lady home. This feel good story just continues on a near-weekly basis and it set the club up for a positive Saturday at the Parkruns highlighted by a titanic struggle at Edge Hill between Charlie Murphy and Joseph Duffy who fought tooth and nail all the way. Charlie came out on top by just two seconds but more significantly his time of 21:54 was good enough for a new PB while Oliver Murphy was around three and a half minutes further back and Liz Spensley made a welcome return to the Edge Hill course finishing in 133rd place. After a few near-misses of late Tony Waine finally avoided the “plus one second” at Victoria Park in St Helens by clocking exactly 24 minutes and Aaron Reading took time away from his favourite Knowsley course to join him in the top 100 while Jane Isaac knocked over four minutes off her most recent time. In fact the only other Parkrun result would actually come at Stadt Moers as Steven Martin’s time of 26:39 enabled him to match Charlie’s 25th place in Ormskirk.

Two races shared centre stage on Sunday with Sarah Roberts and Adam Jones flying the flag for the juniors at the Crosby Lakeside Junior Aquathlon while Mike Goulbourne and Kevin Dunbar made the trio to north Wales for the Snowdonia Trail Half Marathon. In Merseyside Sarah finished 25th in the T3 Girls race but Adam Jones was the star of the show as he recovered from fifth position out of the water to blaze past all his rivals on the run as though they were going backwards to take the win by over ten seconds. Over in Wales Kevin did his bit for the club’s social media outlets by snapping some particularly scenic pictures of the Llanberis area which will come in very handy for one club member at least next Saturday in the Snowdonia Triathlon Festival. For his part he managed to crack the top 70 at the beginning of what he described as a transitional phase from speed to endurance. Despite being slowed to his slowest mile ever (over 24 minutes!) he still managed to make it home in a time of 2:35:42, but he was overshadowed for once as Mike Goulbourne, off only three weeks training, somehow recorded a 2:13:47 which not only put him just outside the top 10 overall, it gave him second in his age category. Both thoroughly enjoyed their trip out to Snowdonia and are planning in taking part in next year’s edition. Which links us handily to the last segment of the report……….
While Kevin and Mike were taking pictures and doing a bit of running in Llanberis, club reporter Robert Chesters was getting one last practice in open water ahead of the aforementioned festival this coming Saturday and eager for one last Tuesday tune-up, he joined Chris Green, Eddie Hirst and David Lovatt at Rainford for the evening ten mile time trial. Conditions were warm but nearly still which meant season’s best times were something of an open goal waiting to be scored into and for some it proved to be exactly that. For my part I had to contend with a couple of mountain bike riders in the first two miles but the awesome Focus Chrono Max time trial bike acquired at the start of 2017 from the Bicycle Lounge in Ormskirk has really paid dividends when on good form and never more so than last night, as the headwind on the northerly run towards the M58 roundabout felt near-non existent which gave me extra energy to chase the riders ahead. Luck was on my side in the form of a large lorry who overtook me just after the halfway point but the aero tuck was far easier to achieve than on previous bikes (particular compliments in that regard should go to the Fizik Arione Tri saddle that comes as standard with the bike) and upon crossing the line in a season’s best time of 22:42 I had finally scored a result that did justice to the Limar helmet I received a few months ago as part of the ambassador programme at NRG4 Cycling fronted by fellow club member John Baden.  It was a great night all round for the club as Chris Green recovered from a slow warm-up in riding to the venue, as he also recorded a season’s best time, 22:25 putting him 13th while Eddie Hirst’s comeback race also went well, 23:17 actually being his fastest Tuesday night time of the year while David Lovatt proved there’s life in the Specialized Transition yet placing 28th in a time of 24:31 to round off another encouraging seven days of racing with star performances coming from Caroline Stalker, Adam Jones, Mike Goulbourne and the Tuesday night time trial team. As those of you who have followed the trend through the report will have noted, the signature showpiece coming up this weekend is in Llanberis at the Snowdonia Triathlon Festival while others have opted to enter the Salford Triathlon on Sunday, two events in contrasting locations which could well provide the pivotal next step for some club members to attempt longer and greater challenges in the future, including Ironman UK for which 2018 entries open on Monday 31st July.


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