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Craggy Island Triathlon 2011, Isle of Kerrera

Jo-F, Fi, Gordon and Jo-T
Jo-F, Fi, Gordon and Jo-T

What a braw event! This is an unusual triathlon. Firstly, you swim to an island (the Isle of Kerrera near Oban), then there is an off-road cycling leg finally followed by a hilly cross-country run. 4 ERNs took Par; The two Jo’s (Forbes and Tennant) did the whole thing while Fi Mackenzie and Gordon Purves shared a team; Fi swimming and Running with Gordon cycling. Throw in a couple of ferry journeys and a ceilidh and you’re made! Very positive feedback so one to consider and support for next year. Link to detailed times etc at results. PS, happy birthday Jo!

Place/Category Swim T1 Bike T2 Run Time
Jo Tennant 75/Senior 15:09 03:39 55:18 01:07 35:51 01:51:04
Jo Forbes 78/Senior 13:31 03:43 54:36 01:57 38:11 01:51:58
Fee & Wee G 4/Relay 14:21 00:54 40:36 00:25 38:09 01:34:12

Jo Forbes said: “Hey, amazing weekend, need to get more folk next year as it made for a lovely weekend away!

Here’s my report:

“What a better way to spend my birthday weekend than by signing up for the first ever Craggy Island Triathlon consisting of a 550m sea swim from mainland Oban to the Island of Kerrera, a 15km mountain bike round the Island finished off by a 4km hill run! It would be an event that would be a new experience to me, Fi, Jo & Gordon so once we had persuaded each other that it would be a great event & signed up we had a whole new training regime to get used to. Regular sea swims, mountain biking up the Pentlands and running around/over Arthur Seat were all part of our training. Me & Jo had signed up to do the whole tri and Fi & Gordon signed up as relay team (Fi swam & ran while Gordon did the mountain biking).

We all headed up to Oban on the Saturday with my boyfriend Andy as support & chief photographer. Checked into the newly refurbished youth hostel which cost us £20 each for the night in a 5 bed room we all shared.
Saturday evening we drove to where the swim starts at the ferry slipway to check water temperature and view the island opposite to see how hilly it was! We then went for fish & chips followed by a ceilidh that had been organised for everyone which was a lovely event, home by 9:30pm though for an early start!

The 6am start brought us a gorgeous sunny morning with clear skies & calm water which we were all very happy with! The logistics with this triathlon were a challenge for the organisers as we had to get a ferry to the island with bikes & kit, register, set up transition, get changed into wetsuits etc and get back on the ferry to the mainland for the start & race briefing. The Adventure Show were also there filming so were interviewing folk as they changed & set up transition, it was interesting to see how they pull the program together with the various parts.

All in the water for a deep water start then we were off, the water was cold but lovely & clean so I really enjoyed the swim, soon I was getting out of my wetsuit & prepared for mountain biking. The bike ride was pretty hilly to start & became quite technical; a bad crash on a steep stoney path saw one guy get taken away in an ambulance. I did feel you had to have a good level of mountain biking skills for the bike ride. It was very muddy & wet with a few hills you had to push your bike up but lots of fun & amazing views! Soon I was back and getting ready for the run which was like running up Arthur Seat through fern & mossy sections, very steep in sections saw everyone reduced to walking pace. Once at the top the views over to Oban & Mull were breathtaking & The Adventure Show were there filming & asking how you were enjoying the event etc. The downhill was very steep, slippy & wet which I don’t particularly enjoy due to the risk of falling! Great feeling though that the end was near and great support at the finish which was at the far end of the Island next to the castle ruin.

Such a fantastic event which we celebrated with bubbly Fi had brought with her for the end, a fantastic achievement for us all and an event we all hope to be back for next year, definitely one we could get some more ERN relay teams together for. Thanks to Andy for the photos & calm support!”


Stop Press: ‘tache Gordon’s missing ‘tache found immediately after Craggy Island triathlon!

OK so it was a furry caterpillar by the side of the road but Gordon seemed quite taken with it!

Small race report as follows; From the Fi & wee G team-here goes;

“Why is the worst bit of an event just before you actually get on & do it?
We were up bright & early to prepare for this first ever Craggy Island triathlon. It was sunny, almost windless & cloudless. Sometimes the weather can change on the west-so fingers crossed-off we went to park, unload & in some cases build the bikes & get to registration over the water.This all went smoothly too- & it was still sunny.

Into the wetsuits, watch on the outside so I could start it & have some idea of timings. Back across by boat-next time it was up to us!

Race briefing whilst standing on knobbly cold ground. Still sunny. Wish I had tinted goggles- yes that sunny! Race brief – off into the water-still flat calm & swim to the buoys. Might have been flat, calm & sunny but it was cold-damn cold.

Then all of a sudden we were off-& I remembered to start my watch! I seemed to be wind-milling as my arms were cold too & didn’t seem to be bending at all. Managed to stay on course it seemed, sighting was good[ish] but the current must have been stronger near the other side as everyone had to climb over the wall at the side of the slipway! Run up the slip-easier to say than to do & dib the dibber & hand over to Gordon- he got to cycle around Craggy & he even stayed on his bike & came back really quickly-so I was on again for the run. More of a hand on knees stumble up the hill & then damage limitation on the way down.

I managed to take a few pictures on the move but the camera can’t really cope with the steepness of that downhill run. Every so often a camera-man /woman would pop up & ask how it was going-wish I’d had a better stock of answers.

Handing the dibber back you get an instant print-out of how you have done, & I think me & Gordon might have been the oldest team as our print-out says 1st out of 1-that was quite exciting-but we never found the prize-giving- despite asking a few marshals, so we went back to the mainland & went back to the pub for a celebratory beer.

Very slick organisation -I’d love to go back, but will definitely practice my hands on knees hill running technique!”


Photos: (many thanks to Jo-T)

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