The Bastion, Hever Castle


July 18th, 2014 by



1st place – 9:56:54

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The ‘Bastion’ Iron distance on Sunday was my longest day of triathlon to date and I hope that it remains that way for the forseeable future! Having raced the Half distance ‘Gauntlet’ last Septmber over much of the same course I felt confident I had a good idea of what lay ahead, but 140.6 miles certainly adds a new dimension to racing particular (off road and lumpy) terrain!

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Having raced and enjoyed a number of the Castle Triathlon Series events last year including the Half distance at Hever Castle in September, I was keen to try the new challenge that they had brought to their racing portfolio – The Bastion.

Being the first edition of this race, the field size was small but this made for a ‘family orientated’ feel which coupled with the multi loop format of each discipline ensured a really friendly atmosphere throughout the day. Smiling faces greeting you at each aid station plus as you passed through the start/finish area on each run lap were a welcome sight during a long day.

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With my prior knowledge of the course profile from last year I was entering into this race very much with a conservative racing policy. Any energy I could try and save during the swim and bike ride I was certain would come in useful deep into the off road multi loop marathon later on in the afternoon!

The Castle Triathlon staff laid on an extremely smooth and efficient racing experience – from a full and imforative race brief the evening before through to plentiful marshalls out on course with lots of clear signage around the bike and run loops. This really does make a power of difference during a long day out that started with a watery departure at 6am may I add 😉

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We started off with overcast skies and rain on the way. We got a heavy downpour during our swim and sporadic showers during the bike ride but all the while we thankfully had a warm air temperature. As you can see above, by the time we were tackling the hilly and at times muddy run course, the sun was spliting the skies and sunsreen was the order of the day.

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A mere two weeks after I was cheering for her on the pavements of the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, Ali was back out and racing an Ironman once again. I can’t quite comprehend how she summoned the will and mental strength to complete this arduous race and I was so impressed (but not surprised!) with her smiles and humour out there during the day – she’s an inspiration!

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I was kindly asked by the organisers if I could be at the finish for the final athletes to cross the line, as is often a tradition in Ironman distance events. They made it with plenty of time to spare before the 17hour cut off mark – well done to Jenny & Simon as thats a very long time to be on ones feet and travelling in a forward direction!

Thanks again go to all the staff at the Castle Triathlon Series, the Hever Castle B&B and also to Colin Baldwin Photography for all of these pictures.