By Rufus Thomas, aged 14 years
On this page, I will be giving you news about different sports but focussing on running, cycling and swimming as triathlon is my passion. I will look at some common sports injuries and consider optimal training regimes, nutrition and other aspects to optimise performance. I will also be covering recent results in a wide range of sports.
At any time of the year your running should always consist of either a long run, a recovery run or running quickly over a short distance. The distance runs will have to get longer as you get older so that you are getting enough winter mileage to build your stamina. Recovery runs can be done with friends and you should be running at quite a slow pace. You should be able to chat and really think about your technique. Your quick runs can either be interval training where you sprint and then jog, you repeat this as many times as you want (this should hurt!) or the alternative is a quick run where you go a reasonably short distance at threshold pace and if you've got it in you, sprint finish.
For a runner:
If running is your thing and you want to be at elite level then running everyday once or twice a day is a must. You should be doing long warm runs before your speed sessions on the track but they must be slow. Your longer runs need to be at a slow speed and you need to be able to chat comfortably with friends, these are where you are building up your endurance and stamina. When you later go on to do your speed work on the track you should do lots of different distances dependant on what your preferred distance may be: 800m- reps of 200s and 400s on a track, 1500m-reps of 300s and 500s. 3000/5000/10000m-reps of 1km, 2km and even 3km. For cross-country, long runs outdoors and maybe do repetitions of a field rather than track.
At 11-15 years old you would want to be doing about 5 runs week with a good mix of running like intervals and long distances up to about 5 miles. 30 second to 1 minute intervals are perfect for about this age and repeat these as much as you feel comfortable. (30s- 10-15 times/ minute- 7-8 times). Most of your running should be interval work at this age to keep your speed up, endurance matters but too much on a hard surface when you're this age makes you prone to injury. You need about one recovery run which should be really slow on a nice trail with some friends. In a normal week you should be running 10-12 miles in total.
At 16-19 you should be running everyday with 2-3 recovery runs a week. Your weekly mileage needs to be about 20-25 miles a week or more Interval work needs to be about 12 times a minute with a minute of after each. At 7 stop and have about 5 minutes recovery and then do the next eight with a 5 minute cool down once you are finished. Longer runs need to be around 8 miles at a pace that is sustainable for a long period of time. Do your long runs with a friend or two otherwise after 5 miles you will start to feel lonely and tired.
As you get older your total mileage for each week will increase but this will depend on what your race distance is. Obviously if your are a distance runner then you are going to be putting in around 100+ miles in as a professional. However if you are more middle distance then you will not be needing to do quite so much mileage.
For a triathlete:
If you are a triathlete you will not be doing as much running as just a runner. Obviously if you are wanting to be at international level then you should be running everyday along with all the cycling and swimming training. For triathlon speed work is key. Running on a track is great for your final sprint finish or wanting to push the pace in the last few miles of the race. Running on different surfaces helps with your balance and will give you no problems if the terrain is at all different to your average race.
If you are a young triathlete (11-14) and you want to be at regional or national level then three to four runs week is the right sort of amount. As you are not running everyday then less recovery runs are not needed so often. Your long runs should be about 3-4 miles with not to much on a hard surface otherwise you run the risk of getting an injury. For speed work a track is great but if not then go to a field, sprint one side and rest the other, sprint one side rest the other, repeat this twice and then rest for a lap or so just jogging. Repeat this about 3-4 times and make sure that when you rest you go really slowly so that you can go for it on the sprint sections. If you would prefer to just go out and run as hard as possible at threshold pace then at this age no more that about 2-4 miles otherwise you will find that you can't keep a consistent speed.
As you get older and you are at the age of about 16-20 then you can run 5 times a week to everyday but it must include more recovery. You need recovery because A. you are not giving your body a chance to recover and B. you are triathlete, your going to be doing your swimming and cycling that day as well. Your speed work needs to be quite a bit longer and you will probably be needing a watch. A minute on a minute of repeated about 14-18 times is about the sort of thing you should be doing. Once you have done 5 sprints then take 3 minutes of and do the next 5 with a 3 minute cool down. Long distance runs should be about 7-9 miles long and your threshold runs maybe 3-6 miles long.
World Triathlon series 2018:
Conclusion of World Series coming soon
Common Sports Injuries:
I am looking at injuries that caused directly from sport. These can be caused due to overtraining, not letting your body recover or an over usage on one particular muscle group or joint.
Stress fractures are very common if a particular athlete has trained to hard and not rested enough therefore not allowing their muscles and joints to recover and become stronger. It can also be a result of changing how you exercise dramatically, ie. changing your workouts to become more intense and or changing the environment of your workout. (running on a treadmill vs. running outdoors)
A stress fracture is a small crack in the bone or sever bruising within the bone. To allow a stress fracture to heal, one must refrain from high impact activities giving the bone the chance to repair. Continuing at high intensity activities will not only delay the recovery of the fracture but also make it worse and more serious. If the athlete choses to continue high impact workouts then they will run the risk of having a complete fracture which takes much longer to heal.
Stress fractures are often common in younger athletes as they have to compensate for still growing bones, muscles and tendons. If an athlete is working hard for a long period of time with limited rest then the muscles don't get much chance to recover. The muscles are too tired to take in the impact of exercise and when the bones can take no more strain they start to form little cracks.
Another factor that could cause an athlete to pick up a stress fracture is not wearing suitable equipment. This could be worn out trainers that don't provide enough support and comfort.
The way to prevent a stress fracture is to eat a balanced healthy diet with lots of Vitamin D that keeps your bones strong. Also getting lots of sunlight will increase your intake of Vitamin D. Also warm up before exercise to ensure that your muscles are warmed up and ready for the more intense exercise later to come. This could include stretches, jogging and short sprints just to loosen yourself up.
Injuries caused by rugby:
The retirement by Welsh rugby player Sam Warburton was not because of his age or the lack of good form but because of the amount of injuries he has racked up over the years finally coming back to bite him. During his 9 year career in professional rugby he has suffered with more than 20 major injuries that stopped his body from being able to meet the demands of professional rugby. He has achieved a great deal in the sport such as leading the Lions to victory against Australia in 2013 and then in 2017 led them to a draw against New Zealand.
His injuries were as follows:
Late 2007-Hamstring damage
Autumn 2008-Torn shoulder ligaments
June 2010-Broken jaw
March 2011-Knee injury
February 2012-Dead leg
February 2012-Knee ligament sprain
March 2012-Shoulder nerve damage
October 2012-Dislocated finger
February 2013- Shoulder stinger
June 2013-Torn hamstring
December 2013-Shoulder nerve damage
March 2014-Dislocated shoulder
November 2014-Shoulder stinger
November 2015-Ankle ligament
April 2016-Shoulder sprain
October 2016-Fractured cheekbone
November 2016-Neck injury
November 2016-Shoulder stinger
April 2017-Knee ligament sprain
These injuries were what caused a very talented young rugby player to end his bright and already impressive career at the age of only 29. The World Rugby vice-chairman says that the retirement of Warburton is a red flag and that the way players are handled in rugby is going to and has to improve. The now official high limit to which one can tackle someone is now blew the chest whereas is was the shoulders.
Common injuries among young athletes:
As young children become more inspired to take up sport when they see professional athletes perform at the Olympics and other high profile events, it causes children to become maybe even too inspired! Obviously it is fantastic that children are seeing their heroes success at major championships and world class events and want to do the same but they can almost be driven too far and start to injure themselves. They can start training too hard too early and therefore causing their still growing bones, muscles and tendons to be put under too much strain. Another major cause of injuries in young athletes is the conditions they may be exercising in or the equipment they are using. They may be under poor supervision and therefore more prone to pick up an injury. They may not have stretched or warmed up before and going straight into intense exercise can be dangerous.
Injuries that are common in young athletes are as follows:
Sprains and strains
Tendon injuries (such as in the achilles, the heel)
Pain on the shin bone
Fractures (stress fractures) and dislocations
If we take a knee injury as an example, it is commonly picked up by football players. A frequently picked up knee injury is damage to the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). It can also be picked up by athletes in other contact sports like rugby or American football. Injuries in young children have increased over the years because of children getting into sport earlier and pushing themselves very hard.
I think the fact that more and more children are getting into sport earlier as a result of the success of athletes at professional level is fantastic and I hope that the injuries the younger generation pick up do not give them doubts about themselves in their own quest for success. To try and prevent the amount of injuries that a young athlete gets they need to be under safe supervision from either a coach, parent or guardian that can guide them in the right direction about training and provide them with safe equipment and good conditions fro exercising in.
Team Sky, the best pro cycling team in World Cycling with 6 Tour de France
victories in the past seven years along with 8 Grand Tour (3 week long race) victories
overall. Geraint Thomas's recent win of the Tour de France being the third
British cyclist ever to win the race and the first Welsh man, is his biggest victory.
Thomas has been on the team since it was first founded in 2009. Thomas is the
third British man to win the Tour de France but he is also the third British man to
win it in his team. Bradley Wiggins, now retired, and winner of many Olympic
golds won the Tour being the first Brit ever in 2012. Then leadership was handed
over to Chris Froome who has won the Tour four times in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
He also won this years Giro d'Italia (another grand tour) in emphatic style coming from
4th place to 1st on one day, stage 19 out of 21. He attacked from 80km to go and
managed to build up a huge lead which saw him take the leaders jersey.
Froome also won last years Vuelta à España (the spanish grand tour) after
only a few weeks before winning his fourth Tour de France title. The British
team has not only won Grand tours but also stage races (one week long races)
and classics (one day races) and Monuments (the biggest one day races).
Wout Poels has won one of the 5 monuments of the year, Liege-Bastogne-Liege
and Ian Stannard has got many podiums of monuments also with wins in
classics such as Omloop Het Niewsblad. The very impressive Polish rider
Michal Kwiatowski, who can win monuments and stages races and also
leading team Sky in the Vuelta at the moment, has won the monument
Milan-San Remo before. Team Sky is packed with talent not
only at the moment but also for the future. The young Columbian
Egan Bernal who rode the Tour de France this year and was
arguably one of the main reasons that Thomas won, is only
20 and has already made a huge name for himself in the pro peloton.
One of the reasons Team Sky is so good is their attention to detail. They have the best possible nutrition, kit, technology and mindset for their riders. Their skin suits (for individual and team time trials) are tested and fitted with extreme precision to ensure that the riders are as aerodynamic as possible. The Team principle, Sir David Brailsford goes right to the line with gains whether it be on perfecting the riding style of the rider or making a bike as aerodynamic as is physically possible, Brailsford takes it right to the limit and that is why Team sky dominates the Grand Tours every year, especially the Tour de France.
The Sky Fleet:
Sky is the richest team in the pro peloton with their top riders like Chris Froome
earning around 3 million pounds a year. Their wealth is often shown by the shear
amount of buses, team cars, transport cars, vans, trucks and many other vehicles
they bring along to support the riders before, during and after race day. They bring
along their own kitchen and team base to stage races and Grand Tours to ensure
that the riders have the most comfort after a race as possible. They have cars to
transport riders who have been in the podium presentation to the hotel for that
night and the team bus is an enormous converted coach that is luxuriously decked
with leather seats, food and drinks, bike storage and even more. The amount
of money poured in to the team has obviously worked as the team has had
so much success over the years and all credit to Dave Brailsford who's
also be the man behind the scenes behind Great Britain's track cycling dominance
at the past few Olympics.
Vuelta a Espana:
After 3 weeks of tough racing around the highlands and lowlands of Spain, the race concluded in Madrid and Simon Yates was crowned the champion.
The race began with a short time trial, however it was
2km too long to be classified as a prologue. Rohan Dennis of BMC,
in his preparation for the World Championships this year took the stage
by a comfortable margin of 7 seconds over Michal Kwiatkowski.
Dennis therefore took all 4 jerseys and went into the following
day wearing a grand tour leaders jersey, not for the first time this
year after taking the pink jersey in the Giro. The next day was won
by Alejandro Valverde with Kwiatkowski coming in close second.
Dennis was way down the road and lost all jerseys, not that it really
mattered to him. Kwiatkowski took all jerseys but one, the
mountains classification which was picked up by Luis Angel Mate Mardones
after being in the break for much of the day. Stage 3 was one for the sprinters
and with the slightly below par Peter Sagan, who was still racing the Vuelta,
it provided chance for other sprinters to take stages. Elia Viviani added to
his grand tour stage win tally, comfortably beating those around him.
Viviani enjoyed a fantastic Giro d'Italia this year, picking up 4 stage wins.
Kwiatkoski remained in red (the leaders jersey).
Stage 4 was the first mountain top finish and it was won Dimension
Datas Ben King from America. This saved an incredibly disappointing
season for the South African Team Dimension Data who are used
to multiple victories every year. However up to this point they
had not won anything yet this year. Kwiatkowski (team Sky) remained
in the overall lead however Simon Yates made a small break from the
group on the final ascent, snatching a handful of seconds on his
rivals. The next day, Stage 5, was won by Simon Clarke of EF
Drapac. However the biggest story of the day was break away
rider Rudy Molard stealing the red jersey from Team Sky.
It seemed that Team Sky were content to allow Molard
to take the race lead for a few days, meaning they would not need
to control the race, saving themselves for when it mattered. Molard held
onto the race lead for 3 more days, stage 6 won by Nacer Bouhani,
stage 7 by Tony Gallopin and stage 8 won by Valverde, picking up his
second stage of this years Vuelta. However, Molard could not hold on
to the lead, which was expected, when the profile kicked up. On stage
9 another summit finish saw Ben King take his second stage win and the
GC favourites were slightly tested against one another. Yates,
despite loosing a few seconds to his main rivals took the race lead,
but by only one second over Alejandro Valverde.
Stage 10 was another for the sprinters. Bouhani
got the better of everyone on stage 6 but it was again
Viviani who took the stage win, proving that he is the fastest
in the race this year. Stage 11 was of rolling terrain and
was played by the BMC team beautifully, having 3 riders
in the break, Allesandro DeMarchi, Dylan Teungs
and Nicholas Roche. With 20km to go the BMC
trio shot of the front one by one and eventually there
was only one left, DeMarchi, riding with Katusha Alpecin
rider, Jonathan Restrepo. DeMarchi dropped Restrepo
on the final ascent and took the stage win. Stage 12
was another day where we saw a break away rider
manage to nab the leaders jersey of one of the GC teams.
This time it was Jesus Herrada of Cofidis who got in the
break and gained enough time to take the race lead from
Simon Yates. Yates will not have been to dispppointed about
loosing the red jersey as in a post race interview on stage 9,
he did not seem to keen on having it at that point in the race.
The stage was won by AG2R's Alexander Geniez over Team
Sky's Dylan van Barle. Van Barle had to end his race
the next day when just after the finish of stage 12,
an official stepped out infront of him, causing damage to van
Barle that prevented him from being able to race the rest of the Vuelta.
Stage 13 was the big mountain stage. La Camperona, one of the steepest
climbs in cycling was the climax of the day. The stage was won by
Oscar Rodriguez, a man who had never been heard of since, beating
well known riders, Rafal Majka and Dylan Teungs to the top. The
GC battle showed a sign of who may be the strongest in this years
Vuelta with Nairo Quintana and Simon Yates riding side by side
up the final slopes of La Camperona, ahead of their closest rivals.
Stage 14 saw Simon Yates reclaim the leaders jersey and take a
fantastic stage win. Herrada, after losing much of his lead on stage
13, completely dropped out of overall contention, losing minutes to
Yates on the final climb. Like with Molard, this was completely
expected. Stage 15 however was the most anticipated of the race with
the final summit being Lagos de Covadonga. The race at the front
was limited to only a small number of GC riders with Thibaut Pinot,
not an immediate threat to GC after losing time on a previous stage,
took the win with the rest coming in only a few seconds apart. The
GC podium at the moment was Simon Yates on top, and the
Movistar pairing of Valverde, second and Quintana, third.
However stage 16 was the day of the individual time trial. This would
prove to be a good day for Lotto NL Jumbo rider Steven Krijswijk.
He managed to time trial his way into third place overall and Simon
Yates managed to gain around seven seconds on closest rival
Alejandro Valverde. Quintana struggled massively and dropped out
of his podium spot. Undoubtably Rohan Dennis won the stage and
the next day flew back home as his pre Worlds preparation at the
Vuelta was over. Stage 17 was a dat in the Basque Country and it
saw EF Drapac take their second stage win of the Vuelta this year with
Michal Woods. Yates lost a handful of seconds to Enric Mas of
Quick Step and Valverde but the biggest losers on the day were
Quintana and Krijswijk, both losing over a minute.
This meant that Mas was now on the 3rd step of the podium.
Stage 18 was meant to be a day for the sprinters but they
were brutally denied by the break away rider Jelle Wallays
of Lotto Soudal. Sagan very nearly caught Wallays
at the line but but it was too little to late as the break was
given too much time coming into the final kilometre. Stage
19 and Stage 20 were the final mountain days and they
headed into Andorra, home of Simon Yates. Yates, Pinot
and Krisjwijk broke away of the final climb leaving the rest
of the GC favourites in their wake. Yates extended his
overall lead to over a minute, Pinot won the stage and
Krisjwijk rode himself back on to the podium. Stage 20
saw again Yates going up the road but this time with a
different pairing, Miguel Angel Lopez and Mas. On the
final climb Yates could not live with the pace but that didn't
matter, Mas and Lopez were already too far away from
him on GC to cause him any problems. Mas took the
stage, riding himself onto the overall podium in
second, and Lopez rode himself onto the third step of
the podium. Valverde and Krisjwijk lost lots of time and
were therefore of the podium. Yates came over the
line in third but he had won the Vuelta with only one
more day left, a procession around Madrid with a fast
finish for the sprinters.
Viviani won the final stage, narrowly beating
Sagan to the line. Simon Yates, winning his first
ever grand tour, Enric Mas second and Miguel
Angel Lopez third. If it was any consolation
for Valverde dropping of the podium in the
final few days, he managed to secure the
sprinters jersey. Simon Yates took the combination
jersey and Thomas de Gendt took the mountains
jersey after overhauling Luis Angel Mate on stage
17. This year all three of the grand tours have
been won by a different British rider, Giro d'Italia;
Chris Froome, Tour de France; Geraint Thomas,
Vuelta a Espana; Simon Yates. This, a first ever in history.
Super League triathlon, established early in 2017, has become the most exiting series, and format of racing, of triathlon yet. It is not just the regular, swim, bike, run, but can be bike, run, swim or run, bike, swim. There are also multiple different formats:
The Triple mix is three different stages with 10 minute breaks in between:
Stage 1: Swim Bike Run
Stage 2: Run Bike Swim
Stage 3: Bike Swim Run
Any athlete that slips outside 90 seconds of the leader is eliminated.
The distances are short, 300m swim, 5km bike and 2km run (x3).
The first athlete across the line in stage 3 is the winner.
The Eliminator, like the Triple Mix has three stages however all three are standard triathlons (Swim Bike Run). There is a 10 minute break between each stage. After stage 1 and 2 a certain number of athletes are eliminated. The distances are 300m swim 5km bike and 2km run (x3). First on Stage 3 is the winner.
All athletes compete in either a swim bike or run time trial. Then, dependant on their times, the athletes then start at intervals in a triathlon x2 with no rest in between. Athletes start the double triathlon respective of their time trial times, ie. the athlete with the fastest time goes of first and then the rest follow at intervals dependant on what their gaps were behind the winner of the time trial. First across the line in the double triathlon wins. A good time trial can be what wins the race as it can give a good head start on others, making them have to chase from the get go. The time trial distance depends on what discipline, and the double triathlon distance is 300m swim 5km bike and 2km run (x2).
The Sprint Enduro is two different stages. Stage 1, the race is randomly split into 2 different heats. They complete a single sprint format and the top six from each race (12 competitors in total for final) then complete Stage 2, in an enduro style format (swim bike run x2, no rest in between). First across the line in Stage 2 wins. The distances for the sprint, 300m swim 5km bike and 2km run. The enduro format then consists of 300m swim 5km bike and 2km run (x2).
The Enduro is 3 triathlons (Swim Bike Run) all with no rest in between. The distances are 300m swim 5km bike and 2km run. First across the line is the winner.
Super League was first introduced in Hamilton island, early in 2017, as an opening event.
It was only available to men and it saw Richard Murray of South Africa take the first ever Super
League title. The next Super League event was in Jersey, towards the end
of the 2017 season. It was still not part of a series and just an Championship event.
This particular event was won by Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway. Also now available
to women, Jersey saw Katie Zaferes take the first Super League title for the women.
Super League now has a series which started this year.
The first event being in Jersey, then in Malta, after that
Mallorca, and then the final in Singapore. The schedule of
races for each event is over two days. One of the formats
being on one day and another being on the next day.
This makes the racing not only fast and furious
(because of the short distances) but also very
enduring and fatiguing as the athletes have to race two
days consecutively with only 24 hours rest in between
each race. The races are positioned at the end
of one season, and at the start of the other, as the ITU
World Series takes up the middle part
of each season.
Round 1 of the 2018/19 Super League season commenced in
Elizabeth Marina, Jersey. The first race was the Triple Mix
and it saw supreme tactics and ferocity in both the mens and
With three races in quick succession, only ten minutes
between each, this meant that the athletes would not only
have to be ruthless but also conserving as all that would matter
is who is first over the line in race 3. In the mens race
athletes such as Jonny Brownlee, Richard Murray, Vincent
Luis, Henri Schoeman and Kristian Blummefelt all managed
to avoid slipping outside of the 90 second barrier and had
the chance to compete and get on the podium in
race 3. Vincent Luis and Henri Schoeman were the strongest,
leaving the rest in their wake. Further behind was Brownlee
and Blummenfelt in a battle of their own and a further few seconds adrift
was Murray. Luis took the race, Schoeman second and
Blummenfelt came home strong for third dropping Brownlee during the run.
The next day was the Enduro, the toughest format of
Super League racing and the conditions, just to make
things even harder, were atrocious. It was wet windy and
As wearing a wetsuit was only going to significantly
slow an athlete down (because transition run-swim would
put athletes choosing to use a wetsuit at a loss to fellow
rivals not using a wetsuit) all they had to
wear was their thin tri-suits. This therefore meant that
the swim was freezing, playing into the hands
of more "hardy" competitors.
The enduro saw the best swimmers, Luis and Schoeman,
prevail over others. The two yet again broke away but not
alone. Richard Murray managed to make the crucial break
in the third triathlon. Jonny Brownlee, who had stayed intact
throughout the whole race had a problem in the penultimate
transition meaning he missed the leading bike group. It was
then down to a final fast 2km run between Murray, Luis and
Schoeman. Schoeman had a dig on the first lap dropping
Murray but he could not shake the fast finishing French man.
In the last 400m Luis kicked and Schoeman could not
respond. Luis won the race and won the first round of Super
League racing for this season. Schoeman came home
for second and Murray in third. As Blummenfelt had
come third the previous day and 4th the next he came third
in the overall standings and therefore bumped Murray to
4th overall as Murray had come 5th the previous
day and third the next. Jonny Brownlee, with another
disappointing race to add to his below par season,
finished in 5th overall.
In the women's race the field was packet full of talent.
Vicky Holland, coming of her recent World title was
having her debut of Super League racing in Jersey.
Also Casandre Beaugrand, Ashleigh Gentle and
Katie Zaferes were racing, all recent podium athletes
in WTS races this year. In the Triple Mix Zaferes,
who came a close second to Holland in the World
Series this year, was of to a shaky start. However
she managed to steer a clear of the 90 second barrier
and make it into the final race. Holland did not seem
on top form and unfortunately did not make the
final race after being eliminated .Along side Zaferes in race
3 was the likes of Beaugrand,Gentle, Georgia Taylor
Brown and Kirsten Kasper.Beaugrand, who had seemed
strong all race used her run that she used to win the
WTS event in Hamburg, to break away from the others
and win the race. Zaferes came in second and Gentle in third.
Onto the next day and the
Enduro where more endurance and
versatility would be required than in the
tactical fast paced Triple Mix. Early on,
the American duo of Zaferes and Kasper
broke away from the rest. Kasper, who did not seem too
keen on sharing the work load on the bike and was dragged
around by her compatriot. Zaferes despite having to pull her
potentially irritating countrywoman around on the bike,was
still much faster on the run. In triathlon 3, Zaferes pulled
away on the run with ease and took not only the win but also
the overall win for round one of Super League Racing.
Kasper came home in second and Beaugrand came
home for third and second overall after her win the
previous day. Kasper was third overall. Holland
having struggled the day before seemed to be having
a slightly better day, and made it home as one of the
final 6 not to be eliminated and seemed happy with
her overall race. Gentle however struggled a little in
the Enduro and was eliminated, this a drop of form
from the previous day. Gentle does seem to struggle
in the cold and this may have been why she was a little
below par during the Enduro.
Round two of Super League racing was staged
in Malta over the weekend (27th/28th October).
First off it was the Eliminator, where any athlete
to not finish inside a certain position in Race 1
and 2 could not progress onto the third and final
race (the scoring race). The course was a little
less technical than in Jersey as there was a hill
of average 6% lasting around a minute. The
athletes had to tackle this on every run lap
and every bike lap. The finish line was
positioned atop this hill making the final
200m excruciating and leg burning.
In the mens race there was an absence of
Kristian Blummenfelt meaning there was a
chance of scoring more points or getting onto
the podium. In race 1 and 2 there were no
surprises and all the favourites (Murray, Luis,
Brownlee, Schoeman, Mislawchuck) made
it into race 3. In race 3 eveyrone stayed intact
during the swim and no big favourites fell off
the back. However during the bike Jonny Brownlee
made an impressive break up the hill and strung
out the field. This put athletes such as Luis and
Schoeman into a little discomfort as they slipped
down towards the back of the pack. Brownlee
was reeled in and Murray led everyone into
transition after having done little work during
the bike due to the ferocity injected by Brownlee.
Murray executed a fantastic transition and flew
out seconds before everybody else. This gave
him a significant lead over his main rivals, Luis,
Brownlee and Schoeman. These 3 ran the majority
of the run together behind Murray until Luis dropped
Schoeman and Schoeman dropped Brownlee.
However no one could catch Murray and he
triumphed atop what was named "Malta Mountain"
during BBC commentary.
In the women's Eliminator Zaferes who hid
in the shadows for most of day one in Jersey
was doing the opposite in Malta. She asserted
herself as the strongest in race one and two
making her the clear favourite to take the
days win in race 3. Onto race 3 then and the
swim was taken out fast by Katie Zaferes.
She used a small gap she made on the
swim and a clinical transition to make a
break on the bike. During the bike Zaferes
stayed out infant and her compatriot Spivey
also had a small break on a chasing pack
including Rachel Klamer, Jodie Stimpson
and Joanna Brown. Zaferes stayed out in
front and Spivey managed to hold a small
gap of a couple of seconds on the chasers
coming into T2. Klamer swiftly over took
Spivey and was running in second place
behind Zaferes who was comfortably ahead
and looking to add to her win in Jersey. Spivey
meanwhile, was caught up in a battle for third
with Brown. Up the final climb to the finish for
Zaferes who was well ahead and could enjoy
the crowds and the view of the stunning bay
below as she claimed day 1 victory. Next to finish
was Klamer after a storming run. After that it was
Brown who managed to overhaul Spivey in
the later stages of the run and take third.
Onto the next day which bought the Equaliser
although in a sense, it had already started two
days before, with a 600m swim time trial.
Schoeman, undoubtedly the fastest swimmer
clocked a 6:31, comfortably faster the second
placed Vincent Luis. In doing so, Schoeman
overtook the Eliminator winner Richard Murray
who had started a considerable amount of time
before him. This therefore meant that on Sundays
racing, which was two consecutive triathlons,
Schoeman would start first with around 5 seconds
on Luis, 20 on Brownlee and a significant 50 on
Murray. During the swim Luis chased hard and
caught Schoeman who seemed happy to have
the French man to share the work on the bike
with. Brownlee was in a group further behind
containing Ben Kanute and Tyler Mislawchuck
with Murray even further behind. The gaps
between the big favourites (Brownlee group
+30, Murray +55) stayed pretty much
the same throughout the whole race
and onto the final run it was a battle between
Luis and Scheoman for the win and a
battle further back between Brownlee
and Mislawchuck. Schoeman attempted to
break Luis on the first accent of Malta Mountian
and nearly did but Luis used the decent to bring
himself back up to the charging Such African.
Schoeman would have had a sense of deja
vu as he and Luis neared the final 400m as
it was the same scenario in Jersey;
Schoeman nearly broke Luis with a push in the
middle of the run but Luis came back and used
a final finishing kick to take the win. Here in
Malta it could have been different but Schoeman
let the pain of the past dwell on him too much
and was out sprinted up the accent to the finish
by Luis who said in Jersey "if the finish line is in
sight, it is over for the opponent" and he didn't
prove us wrong. He backed up his comment from
Jersey by repeating it and finishing it of with
"...and I am not a liar". In the race for third
Mislawchuck overhauled probably quite a
depressed Jonathan Brownlee who had
now come 4th and 4th in both races in
Malta. Luis therefore took the overall win,
Schoeman in second and after his win in
the Eliminator, Murray managed to clinch 3rd
over Brownlee despite finishing way down
the field in day 2.
In the women's Equaliser it was Taylor Spivey
who had the fastest swim time trial and had a
comfortable margin of 6 seconds over
Takahashi and 7 over Zaferes. During the
swim athletes such as Zaferes, Kasper, Di
Francesco and Summer Cook managed to
bridge across to Spivey and form a strong
working bike pack. The front group stayed
together throughout the bike with drips and
drags of the back including Stimpson and
yesterdays third place, Joanna Brown,
clearly suffering from their late start in the
swim. During the first run, Spivey and
Takahashi were dropping of the pace.
Coming into the swim it was the 3 Americans,
Zaferes, Cook and Kasper with Klamer just
slightly off the back. The 3 worked well on the
bike and looked like they had comfortably dropped
Klamer but on the final lap the athlete from the
Netherlands managed to bridge back to them. Again
the three Americans managed to edge away from
Klamer and there was nothing to separate them on
the first lap of the run. Into the last 400m and the
American trio were still together and it was only
when they reached the final ascent that Kasper
started to fade and saw Cook and Zaferes
disappear up the road. Zaferes just had superior
strength and ran away from Cook with ease
and it looked like it would be second for Cook
until she started to slow up the finishing chute
and Kasper had one final surge to get herself
into second. Klamer came in 4th behind Cook
and picked up 2nd overall behind the incredible
Zaferes who backed up her dominant win from
yesterday with a slightly more dramatic and
and testing race in the Equaliser. Due to her
strong performance in the Equaliser,
Kasper took third overall, as she did back in
Jersey, meaning that at the moment America
is the strongest force in women's
Super League triathlon racing.