Post Race Report :: Alex Milne :: Bedford Autodrome Duathlon

Race 2 – 2018 ETU Sprint Distance Duathlon Qualifier taking place in Ibiza

5k – 20k – 2.5k on the traffic free Bedford Autodrome motor racing track.

A fast start in a good quality field had me into T1 in 51st place before using the totally flat bike leg to gain 36 places and back into 8th.

After maintaining my same run pace as the first leg lost 1st place on the 2nd run to the person that would finish top in my age group.

Overall finished 9th and 2nd in AG with the following splits 0.17.38 – 0.29.11 – 0.09.32 – 0.57.38.

Post Race Report :: Brighton Marathon by Becca Ashby :: 2017

I hadn’t planned to do Brighton Marathon for the second time, but I won this place courtesy of the ‘raffle’ at the ATC awards night.

I completed the course in 5hrs and 30 mins which is a PB for me! Pretty pleased with that considering it appeared to be the hottest day of the year, I stopped at every water station (apart from the 2 that ran out of water!) and stopped for a wee 4 times!

My training was pretty lapse sadly. I had over trained for a marathon a couple of years ago and ended up hating running and getting injured, so kind of went completely the other way this time!

My ‘training plan’ consisted of a 10 mile run, a 14.5 mile run and a 22 mile run! Not sure this low level of activity is recommended but hey shows anything is possible if you are stubborn and put your mind to it! lol

Probably could have gone a tad faster as well but I got lazy in middle and walked a lot more than I needed to! (Plus I enjoy chatting to people too much as I go around!!)

The last 6 miles flew by and I finished pretty strong! Enjoyed it so much that i’ve already entered for next year! Might even join my ATC team mates for some training sessions this time! 😉

Post Race Report :: Cranbrook Triathlon by Cullum Parker :: June 2017

Super Sprint Tri No 2 of 2017

So it was my second Tri, slightly longer distances this time 450m pool swim, 22km ride and 5km trail run in the woods (with hills!!). Overall times, well only professional/serious triathletes worry about those; I’m more interested in T-shirts and medals!

Quite a few ATC members took part in this Tri based in rural Kent.

They say life is about the journey and learning as you go along. So what lessons did I learn form this Tri (and apply from the first)?  Well here’s a few…

Lesson one: Gravelled/hardstanding transition areas hurt feet. A lot.  Remember to pack spare sandals/flip flops/trainers.

Lesson two: Be grateful when the ATCer in front (you know who you are Peter Heckel) is so zoomy in the pool you have a free run for you own version of freestyle x breast stroke x doggy paddle, and the zoomy ATCer behind (you know who you are Sarah Spencer) gets delayed with a missing timing chip so you have nobody behind you for a lane or two – though to be fair they quickly caught up!

Lesson three: Enjoy staggered starting positions. There is no way of knowing where you came in the ‘race’ when you all start at different times (like Hythe Bay). I like this set up!

Lesson four: Do not take as long as your last tri in transition. Having a family member or friend giving you a pensive/stern stare surprisingly reduces time spent in transition!

Lesson five: Always stop at a ‘Stop’ sign. I don’t care if it adds 20 seconds to my cycle ride. I want to complete and get home safely. Not worth the disqualification, or worse.

Lesson six: Save time on the bike ride by not saying hello to fellow supporting ATCers riding to Cranbrook. 🙂 But to be fair that gave me an extra boost! And never mind I’m only completing not competing, I’d rather be friendly when Tri-ing in ATC club colours 🙂

Lesson seven: Running. Probably best to do some actual running before the event…

Lesson eight: Never underestimate the secret weapon of triathletes. This takes the form of supporters.  Support was focused to the transition/finish areas and the extra boost this provides is immeasurable. And don’t forget those who race with you and the race marshals can also be a source of this strength. The extra ommpf having a fellow triathlete giving you encouragement is but another reason why triathlons are so great.

Lesson nine: Make sure you have family or friends to take group photo at the end – see pic!

Lesson ten: Try to remember lessons for next Tri. Especially lesson seven and eleven.

Lesson eleven: Have fun!

Lesson twelve: Go home and start looking for your next event/adventure 🙂

Here endeth the lessons.

Post Race Report :: Hythe Bay Tri by Cullum Parker :: May 2017

This was my first dip into the ‘tri’ scene, and what fun it was!

Somewhat irrationally I decided in early 2017 to sign up for a super Sprint Tri (250m pool swim, 16km and 5km run); no idea what came over me.  But as is often the case with triathletes, it is best to sign up first and ask questions later!

So in time honoured fashion I signed up with no idea what to expect except having to cycle in wet clothes.

Luckily help was at hand with the various members of Ashford Tri Club.  Not only did they run an ‘intro to tri’ session before the event, but I must say that it is one of the best Super Tri I have taken part in. Luckily the weather helped; sunny with light winds. But more than that, the Tri had what I would call a family-friendly feel to it. No showing off or feeling that you didn’t fit in.  People of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and from all over; there to take part in the best sport I know!

It was well-organised, with ATC’ers, family, friends and members of the public cheering you on. It is hard to express how important such support is when you are trying to complete your first proper 5km ‘run’ ever.

Thankfully a friendly answer to where I layout my transition gear from Alex Keenan, a stern but comprehensive talk from Julia Abbott at the swim (you know I’m only joking it was quite rightly important and you delivered it excellently), friendly ‘come ons’ from Adey Porter, Garry (I’m the Chairman don’t you know) Curley, and Paul Barron on the bike leg, and a Jelly Baby from Claire Brooker for the final leg, to name but a few (sorry those I have left out), and the cheering support along the way all helped me.

Indeed, such was the support that not only did I sign up for further Tri’s in 2017, but I joined ATC. The support, coaching, guidance from all members, whether coach, committee member, or plain ‘ole ATCer is phenomenal 🙂

And back to the main bit, if you’re thinking about giving a Tri a go, there are few introductions better than Hythe Bay – roll on 2018!  (Oh and a pretty decent medal too)

Post Race Report :: by Cullum Parker :: August 2017

Its the taking part that counts: that’s what I told myself for my first Sprint Distance Triathlon – that’s 750m (first open water swim too), 20km bike and a 5km run.

Swim was hard, I felt a bit wobbly getting out of the water and onto terra firma. Bike ride was pretty good; except for skidding on the descent from Peter’s Bridge owing to a quickly appearing van.  But recovered, straightened up and flew right.

The run? Well that was almost a disaster, the Achilles or something in that area, twinged after the first 100 metres, so was more a ‘jalk’ than run. But I got over the finish line and importantly the medal – what more could you want?

Lots to learn, improve, focus and succeed on next time. But without tri-ing we’ll never know if we can succeed!

ATC Coaching Weekend – 31st March – 2nd April 2017

ATC’s coaching weekend is being held next weekend (31st March – 2nd April). The entire weekend is packed full of training and theory sessions in all disciplines from Nutrition to transition coaching to run technique to Swim analysis that includes a video and theory session.

If you are competing this year or just want to make improvements, then this weekend is a great opportunity to take part in some brilliant sessions tailored to setting you up for a successful 2017 season.

Best of all the entire weekend is completely FREE to all members.

The sessions ..

Swim Theory Session – Lee Gladwell’s swim analysis session on Saturday is restricted to 15 on a first come first serve basis so please email to book your place!

This session will cover the basics of the stroke, common faults and drills to correct them plus brief introduction to Critical Swim Speed (CSS) and how to use it in your training.

Swim Video Analysis – The swimmer will be filmed from the front, side and rear. Individual feedback will be given to improve technique with specific drills. When not being filmed, there will be a full session running at the same time. This will involve a time trial to get your CSS speeds. The session will be limited to 15 people so it will be on a first come first served basis.

Stefan’s Transition session will take you through transition stages where you can practice each stage, find out the best techniques, with a talk on the rules and layout hosted by Alex Keenan

Adey run pacing session on Saturday afternoon will give tactics on how to increase your pace over a set distance. Be quicker without burning out or starting too fast!

Sunday will incorporate various different rides including Adey’s advanced ride which will take on Wye hill and Chartham downs at around 17mph average for approx.. 40 miles.

This is just a snippet of what’s going on during the weekend. Check out the schedule below, speak to your coaches or email us / message on Facebook for more details!

Day/Time Activity Location Lead Coach Other Coaches Comments

7:00 pm


Facilitated Discussion.

Elwick Club Paul Barron   ‘Nutrition’ is a topic many people have a point of view about. Opinions change as science changes – anyway, isn’t it a matter of personal choice?

9:00 am to 10:30 am

Transition Theory and Practice Victoria Park Stef Hayes Max (tbc)

Alex K. (tbc)

Navin (tbc)

Input about Transition and opportunity to practice, with support from coaches.

11:00 am to 12:30 pm

Pacing (running) JRS carpark and Little Burton Farm Adey Porter Amanda M. Not starting too quickly is something we all need to learn about…

May be a one-hour session but allow additional time.


12:30 pm to 1:30 pm

Swim theory Elwick Club Lee Gladwell


  Why do we need great technique?

How do we get it?


2:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Swimming analysis Ashford pool Lee Gladwell Max

Ruth (tbc)

Pool is booked, time to get it right… on camera!
3:00 pm onwards Individual swimming reviews Elwick Club Lee Gladwell Max Opportunity to get personal feedback about swimming technique from our Lead Swim Coach.

9:00 am to 9:30 am approx.

Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for cycling JRS car park Paul Barron   Emergency Action Plan, just in case.

9:30 am approx..

Group Rides JRS car park Adey Porter

Lee Gladwell

Blaine Epsley

All who can assist will support the Lead Cyclists Fast group- Adey

Intermediate group – Lee

Novice group – Blaine



Marathon du Medoc :: Mandy Cooper :: 10th Sept 2016

Back in September a few of us travelled by train to the city of Bordeaux in France to take part in the highly acclaimed 32 nd Marathon du Medoc. We were staying at a hotel in the City centre, but the marathon starts and finishes in the little town of Pauillac in the heart of the Medoc region on the right bank of La Gironde. Travel to and from the marathon and expo (for bib collection the day before) was organised by a local company Tutti Quanti.

The marathon is famed for its love of wine! The 26.2 miles actually takes you through some 21 vineyards, where the aid stations are stocked with wine, water and various food items. An unwritten rule of the marathon, also, is that participants are encouraged to dress up – this year’s theme being tales and legends.

So, the day of the marathon dawned and the hotel provided its usual buffet breakfast at 5:30, as most of the guests were actually taking part in the marathon. Most of the guests were either British, Australian or Chinese. A rather surreal sight in the breakfast room with the colourful costumes and outfits being worn by marathon runners as they tucked in to bacon, eggs, coffee. And cake (OK, just cake for me then?).

At 6:15 we boarded the coach and headed for Pauilac, Dave dressed as St George, Vic and friends wearing their “carry me” outfits and me dressed as Ziggy Stardust (despite the purple make up being “waterproof” it was already getting hot, at 25 degrees, so I did wonder if it would last even until the race started). We made our way to the start line in the centre of the town, surrounded by just about everyone in fancy dress – Cinderellas, wizards and witches, Dorothies, Flintstones, even Jesus! Gathering at the start line I thought the lady next to me was dressed as Pippa Midddleton. Then realised that actually it was Pippa Middleton, with her boyfriend dressed as French footballer Zidan (there were quite a few Zidans). Some of the costumes were amazing, there were chariots and floats and to be honest I forgot that we were about to run a marathon as I thought we were in the middle of a carnival! But suddenly the race started and we trotted over the start line some 15 minutes later.

The race took us through the town, and the first “aid station” appeared a few meters up the road, but due to the bottle neck at this point we had to miss this one. The plan was to get the first half completed and then make the most of the aid stations, as there was a strict time limit of 6 ½ hours to complete. But, I’m hopeless at sticking to a plan, and we were stuck in enjoying the aid stations by mile 2. At most of the chateaux the wine was given out in plastic cups, and there were only a few mouthfuls in each cup, but some vineyards had several different types of wine (all red) and it seemed rude to not to try a few. Some of the vineyards had live bands playing, too, so there was a bit of dancing to be had. Dave and I managed to do the first half in well under 3 hours, which was pretty good going, with the heat, the wine and the dancing.

Vic and the boys were way ahead at this point. From about 32km the food at the aid stations became a bit more adventurous than the cheese biscuits, fruit and cake that had previously been offered. There were barbequed burgers, meat platters, oysters to name a few. Then, 1 km from the finish when you were just about to flake out with the heat, they were handing out ice creams!


We managed to cross the finish line in 6:25 (with a chip time of 6:12). Very well timed to get our medals, souvenir rucksack, bottle of Cru in a souvenir box and a rose for the ladies! Just over the finish line there was a huge tent with yet more wine, and beer, as much as you could drink for all marathon finishers. We then hobbled back to our coach to get transported back to Bordeaux, where we were joined by a group of Aussies from the hotel and we finished a fantastic day in style! (“Lets go Daaaancing”!)

Battle of The Somme :: Ruth Goddard :: 18th November 2016

ruthgoddard01On Friday the 18th of November I took part in The Battle of The Somme Challenge at Samphire Hoe.

6 hours to complete as many 3.8 mile loops.

This year marks the 100th year anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles in history, of which there were over 57 thousand casualties. The first day being on the 1st of July and the last on the 18th of November. We were reminded about this at the race briefing as some of the runners had completed the same challenge on the 1/7/16 and the time between, men had fought bravely for their country.

We all stood on the slope that leads out from the visitor centre at the nature reserve and listened to The Last Post and paid our respects. I was shaking due to the cold and I reminded myself of those heroic souls. I also looked up and saw Julie and Mandy in front of me amongst other faces from my running family.

The race began with the blowing of a trench whistle and we were off.

I toddled up the hill and was faced with an issue immediately. COWS. Now they all got a fright too and started cantering all over the place as multicoloured / fluorescent runners were closing in on them. I felt like cantering in the opposite direction and getting out of there!

I spent the first lap with Louise, who I know from Ashford Run England. We hadn’t seen each other for a while and we caught up on general chit chat as I de-layered. I looked up and hoped for a bit of cloud as I prefer it cooler. There was no wind so a lovely sunny start.

After the 1st lap I had some pigs in blankets pringles and went off for the second lap. This was an out and back and the wind started to pick up on my way back in.

By the third, the clouds were looming and I could no longer see Dungeness Power Station. I also saw lightning over France. For the following three laps it was a case of covering up as much as possible so only my eyes could be seen as we were treated to stabby rain in one direction and in the other, a cold wind on the back of my neck. Like I said earlier though, no complaining and my aim was to stay cheerful and smiley.

There were lots of high fives and the cows didn’t attack me so that made me enjoy it even more. I had a cup of tea on the way round on my penultimate lap and that was lovely jubbly. I enjoyed my last lap as the sun came out and I sang and felt proud of myself and everyone else that stuck it out in the rubbish weather.

Marathon distance done and dusted.

Member Profile :: Chris Sardo


With the dark months rapidly approaching, it’s time to reflect on the year’s racing.  Usually that means what we messed up and what to do to iron things out for next year.  Most of the time, little or no credit is given for what was accomplished.

But a little discussion at home recently brought to my attention that the last 15 months or so had really gone rather well for me regarding my sport/hobby.  Given my history of injuries and having been written off by the medics on more than one occasion, it was wonderful to enjoy this period with little more than a few temporary niggles.

In 2013, I competed as a GB age-grouper at Sprint distance at the European Champs (Turkey) and World Champs (London).  2014’s qualification for the Olympic distance at the Europeans, had to be surrendered weeks before the event due to injury which would last the whole season.  So last year my aim was GB qualification at other distances too.

1)     The first step on this new journey started in June ’15 at Grafham Water which hosted the English Middle (half iron) Distance National Championships.  This would be my first full race at this distance (an attempt at the ‘half’ some weeks earlier at Bala, Wales, was cancelled near the end of the bike leg when a competitor tragically lost his life).   The unloved swim was tempered by having 2 laps with swimmers leaving the water after lap 1, running a few yards and then re-entering for another lap.  Despite this, as usual, my bike looked very lonely in my Age Group section of transition!  A good bike leg in mostly heavy rain then followed before 21km of extreme back pain on the run.  My son Luca had come over from Bath to join me for the weekend and having him cheering the old man on during the run and transitions was just brilliant!  And having him with me when the results were announced – National AG champ!! – and the thoughts of how the medics had kept telling me “forget it; no more”, left me with more than a few little tears behind the cycling sunnies!  Although I had won my AG at a small number of events in the past, they were sprints/standards, not at Half Iron distance and certainly not at the National Champs!

chris-sardo82)   A month later, we were in Geneva in scorching 35deg heat to race the European Sprint Triathlon Championships which I had qualified for over a tricky course in the Peak District. We drove down and spent a few days in this lovely city.   As always, this was a noisy, colourful and cosmopolitan affair with much going on, loads of GB supporters, top elites (a chat with superstar Xavier Gomez!) and closed roads around Lake Geneva and through the city itself.

My result of 11th in AG (3rd out of about 18 GBs in AG) was similar to my previous European Sprint experience which left me a little frustrated although I thoroughly enjoyed the race, the venue and the whole experience.

3)       Early this year I was lucky enough to have my name pulled from ATC’s hat to win a place at the London Marathon.  A marathon was not ever something I had my eye on because of my ‘glass body’ and I was reluctant to risk all the triathlon ‘fun’ by tackling the training required to do well over 42km.  But now, with an entry to London on a plate, I couldn’t turn down that opportunity and I put my mind to training for this new experience. The aim was to do as well as I could….perhaps try for a ‘Good for Age’ result and not merely to finish it.  Oh, and to remain uninjured.

chris-sardo5Part of the build-up included the Headcorn Half followed some weeks later by the Lydd 20 miler, both in the company of several ATC clubmates.  This was the first time I had raced these distances too and both went exactly to plan at 1:37 and about 2:45.  All good so far.

An offer to join the A&D coach to the Greenwich start was greatly appreciated.  It was generous of them to open the coach up to ATC too and great for me to have the company and all the advice on offer from the experienced A&D folks on board (although at the time all I needed to know was where the loos were!!

Nothing could have prepared me for the atmosphere along that course.  42km of constant wall-to-wall noise.  Nowhere on the route was ‘quiet’.  Yet I’d been warned how ‘easy’ it is to get carried along by the cheering supporters from the off and then be overcooked by the time we get to the Cutty Sark.  On the other hand, my little brain kept reminding me of certain ‘jibes’ by some ATC mates about Sprint tris vs marathon and also about ambitious target times which the KE had printed in an article that week!

Childish I know, but I have to admit by the time I reached half way and was still consistently clocking 8min miles, I was being driven by the memory of the ‘jibes’ to continue at that pace!  As it turned out, after I had caught up to the 3h30 pacer at about 4kms, he would never be more than an arm’s length away and I was ecstatic  to complete my debut marathon in 3h29m, earning a ‘Good for Age’ place for 2017 by 15 minutes in the process. Everything had gone exactly to plan and all the body had held out.  Absolutely loved it; thank you ATC!

4)    A few weeks later, in early May, Luca again joined ‘the old man’ in Copenhagen, to race the European Long Distance DUATHLON Champs, my first duathlon as GB age-grouper.   We spent a few days in a waterfront apartment close to the start/finish/transition.  Like the ‘Grafman’ Nationals some months before, it was good to spend time together, and to have his help and support.  My focus on London marathon since January, however, meant some neglect of the swim/bike training and I wasn’t as prepared on the bike as I’d have liked to have been for this race.  So after a good first run, I had to work really hard on the bike to try to ride as I know I should, but this took its toll on the second run which was a frustrating and painful affair.  The final result was a 4th in AG and 1st GB home, the best I’ve achieved at European level. But again I was left frustrated knowing that had I cycled as I am capable of, it may well have been that elusive podium. Lesson learnt!

chris-sardo45)     Lisbon was the venue in June for the European Olympic Distance Triathlon Champs.  Lynn and I were joined by family of mine living in the Algarve who came up to help make some noise.   A swim in a protected harbour, followed by a 2-lap bike course on closed but exposed motorway and a packed and spectator-friendly 4-lap run along the promenade past bars and restaurants and a great indoor arena finish, made for both extremes: the most enjoyable weekend of Championship racing and fun to date, as well as the ‘worst’ European result! (15th in AG and about 5th GB).  Maybe too many Portuguese custard tarts with the family…..!?

6)   The final race of the season was what I’d been looking forward to the most.  Early September, and Lynn and I flew to Munich and drove across the border to Austria for a week amongst the mountains to race the European Middle Distance Triathlon Championships hosted by Challenge Walchsee.  A beautiful clear lake surrounded by magnificent Tyrol mountains and table-smooth roads made for a stunning venue and again we were blessed with brilliant sunshine on the day.  A couple of blokes in Austrian traditional gear (not cycling in those lederhosen!!) fired an ancient cannon on the lake shore to set off the elites, followed by a rolling start for all the Age Groupers. By now, the early morning mist had burnt off and the day was warming up to the point that I was fearing a non-wetsuit swim.  Over 1.9km without a wetsuit and I may still have been out there right now!  As it turned out, the swim in that crystal clear lake was a relaxed and controlled race on my part, so much so that I spent longer than most in there (as always!)

The bike was a magnificent, scenic and hilly 2 x 45km lap race which kept cyclists alert all the time….no boring mile after mile on the bars here!   Was also such fun taking back 24 places I’d lost in the swim.   The run, a gorgeous 4 x 5km laps around the Walchsee lake, was extremely difficult because of the high temperatures by then but mainly for me the old ‘back issues’ returning to haunt me. Despite this, I would haul in another 3 competitors by the time the red carpet appeared, to come in 10th in AG and 2nd GB home.  Only 2 GBs in top 10 and being one of those helped confirm my National win result from 2015, in my little insecure mind!

chris-sardo3Everything about the race went as well as I could’ve hoped for.  For me a solid result, an awesome setting, brilliant supporters, great organisation and racing over an exciting course….and all without technical incident.

We met so many folks there – competitors and supporters – everyone open, friendly and helpful, no matter which nation they represent……typical triathlon community.  Great to see folks from opposing nations helping each other during bike racking (“we can kick each other’s heads in during the swim tomorrow!!”).  Even our AirBnB host was a keen cyclist who insisted on proudly (justifiably!) showing us around the area and taking me for a recce of the bike course during the week before the race, despite not speaking a word of English (and you can guess the extent of my German, ja?!).  On race day, he was a volunteer at a bike drink station while his wife was lakeside on the run course, insanely jumping about each time I passed, ringing a huge cowbell and shouting out the ONE and ONLY word she could say in English (with the help of my name on my trisuit)…..”Sardo! Sardo!!”

So from June ‘15 to September ‘16, we’ve had GB representation at 4 different European Champs:  Middle Distance, Sprint and Olympic triathlon and long course Duathlon.  Also a National Championship triathlon win and a debut marathon at 3:29 in ATC colours.

chris-sardo2Some of these European results mean there is ‘automatic’ GB selection to the same European Champs (long distance duathlon & middle distance triathlon)for 2017, as well as London Marathon.  However, there are still decisions to be made about next year.

It took a month in hospital with a broken leg and other serious back/shoulder injuries following a hit & run while cycling, to get me started in triathlon 5 years ago.  That and the prognosis that has been dished out to me so often, makes me so thankful and blessed for every step I am able to take and enjoy.  I am so aware of how important our health is and how fragile our lives are.

I love the competitive racing, especially competing abroad and I love the welcoming and supportive triathlon community. We all have our personal stories to tell of our journeys and reasons for participating.  I am grateful to ATC and the support of the Captains’ Fund as well as the support and influence of several members personally and also extremely fortunate to have the absolute support of my biggest fan, my long-suffering wife Lynn.  Hopefully my little grandson, Joshua, will be inspired by Papa’s adventures to also get to understand the many joys and benefits that our sport and its community can bring, whether as a newbie or an elite or anywhere in between.

I feel extremely proud, honoured and humbled to wear GB colours and would love to wear them on a podium at a European Championships sometime. Maybe next year……!