When in Rome, do as the Saints do + Masters of Manchester 2019

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The last weekend of March and the first Sunday of April, often regarded as the true beginning of the racing season, provided more cheer for St Helens Tri at an unheralded race venue, two modern classics and a rarely-visited European capital as the Saints headed abroad. Chris Dyson closed out the month of March at the Liverpool Resolution Run where he joined three work colleagues and recorded a pleasing 1:06:55; hopefully his teammates will find the joys of swimming and cycling quite as much as Chris has in his short time with the club! The following weekend saw several members up and about early with Rob Preston and Steve Bower travelling to the South Lakes for the Epic Events Uverston Triathlon. In a dramatic race, which saw former St Helens Tri member Phil Ellison come within 12 seconds of winning outright, Rob and Steve were fairly evenly matched throughout the swim but Rob set a quicker T1 time and his additional power on the out and back bike course along the dual carriageway also translated into superior running form for the final leg. In the event he placed 145th in a time of 1:45:38 while Steve would wind up just over 40 minutes in arrears having finished 237th.

The rest of the weekend schedule was of the marathon variety as three club members did the Manchester marathon while Mike Gregory won the award for most enterprising choice of race, going to Italy for the Rome Marathon. Mike described the course as tough, particularly the cobbled sections, but with nice scenery especially for a city marathon, and a fast start propelled him to a fine time of 3:55:02. Meanwhile Kevin Dudley was joined by longtime club members Matt and Emma Shillabeer in Manchester for what is fast developing a reputation as the quickest course in the UK. Kevin has long been a regular on the long distance race circuit and has often been top of the club’s “second division” at the cross country races behind the top three who generally led the way during the winter series. Kevin’s commitment to the cause has long been unheralded but here he had his day, as he completed the 26.2 miles in a time of 3:50:15. As good as his story was, in KA y ways Emma Shillabeer’s was even better, as she was rarely more than a 5k entrant in the years when St Helens Tri was known as Ashurst Bike Club. However, a commitment to training the longer distances was always going to pay off -and spectacularly so, as she and Matt finished in just over 4:11 and gave away less than a minute per mile to the seasoned veteran Kevin in doing so, thereby rounding off a fortnight in which few races, but all had a story to tell. Next week’s signature event needs no introduction as round 2 of the Epic Events sprint triathlon season takes place in Ormskirk with the West Lancs Spring Triathlon at Edge Hill Sport, a venue the club is eternally grateful to for being able to use its facilities for swim and run sessions. As such it provides a perfect opportunity for late starters to get their season going on home ground.

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