Swim 400m Bike 17.5K, Run 4K. Cost £25/£28
Highley is situated above the Severn Valley Steam Railway and boasts an outdoor, heated pool and an immaculate new Sports/Community Centre. Lockers, showers, café, childrens play area and large recreation ground were complemented by a free massage service on the day, a wonderful after-race treat.
Highley is high (obvs.!) and the cycle is an eye-watering descent to the river, then a punishing climb to a wide circuit on the breezy hill top. You then re-trace your steps…yes, down to the river and back up! The run also heads sharply downhill to the railway line (time calculated back if a steam engine came along!) then to the river bridge and back up the hill again, through streets, to the Centre.
Given the recent weather, I was bracing myself for a freezing dip at 8.18am, followed by cold headwinds, as well as that tough hill cycle. Conditions were perfect on the day and as clouds of steam rose above the pool in the sun, I was glad I hadn’t chickened out.
My aim was to complete without being disqualified (there were 3 places where a ‘foot down’ was required on the cycle and Highley had gained some temporary traffic lights for the day!) and also to control those nerves, so I could enjoy it.
I was delighted with my swim, which I kept slow and steady but managed to overtake both the other swimmers in my lane. The cycle was tough, but I managed not to walk – some did. The run was harder than I expected on my legs, but that’s a familiar experience!
Any new event is bound to have glitches, but from a friendly post-race email, the organisers are aware of the improvements that could be made, and they aren’t major ones. The day ran smoothly and we managed.
By far the worst problem however is the company doing the chip timing and publishing the results. Three days later, Stuweb have published the times. I am down as a Senior Male (!) and while I can believe my cycle took 52:35 and my run 23:27 I can’t believe I took only 2:43 on my swim! 125 completed, 8 were disqualified but whether I really did come 85 th overall, is, of course, highly unlikely! That would make me 11 th out of 23 women – and they do all seem to be women! The winner, however, is supposed to have swum slower than me and completed her run in 10 seconds – go figure!