Max Thornton mixed it up with the seniors at the weekend romping home to victory in the Olympic Distance Triathlon Windsor Tri in a time of 2:11:24.
Thornton, a Guernsey Triathlon Club junior development member who turned 17 the day before Sunday’s race, finished as first youth and 20th place overall out of a field of 1600+ athletes.
Thornton recalled his race, “At 7am on Sunday I lined up with 120 other 17-29 age group triathletes in Windsor. All the competitors were tense because we had seen some of the weaker swimmers hauled out by the safety boats because of the strong currents caused by the storms two days earlier.
“The first leg of the swim was 800m up river so I headed towards the opposite bank where the current was at its weakest. At points the river was shallower, and the weaker swimmers were making the most of it with some cheeky running when no one was looking. I managed to catch up to three waves in front of me, pushing through groups of weaker swimmers from the earlier waves. I came out of the water second in my wave in a time of 21:09.
“The 42k cycle was smooth and flat and many of the roads were closed. About halfway round I got held up by a caravan but once I overtook that, it was plain sailing. With so many people on the course, the road was very busy and many of them were clearly breaking the “non-drafting” rules.
“There was a long downhill run into transition through the glorious Windsor Great Park but I didn’t have much time to take in the view as I was averaging over 25mph and holding on tightly to my tri-bars. The bike leg isn’t my strongest discipline but my time was still a credible 1:06:58.
“After a rather sedate second transition I set out on the 10k run. The run comprised three laps through Windsor, past the Castle and over the Thames into Eton. There was a killer hill up from the river to the Castle which many of the competitors struggled with.
“By the third lap, it seemed like the whole of Windsor was on the running course, with more barging and ‘politely’ moving people out of the way.
“In the end I finished with a time of 2:11:24, a PB by 5 minutes, first in my age, ahead of some GB Junior triathletes and 20th overall out of 1630 competitors.
“I was extremely happy with my time given this was my second attempt at an Olympic length event but there’s clearly areas I can improve on”.
Thornton’s individual event times: Swim 21:09, T1 1:27, bike 1:06:58, T2 1:54, Run 39:56.
Six other Guernsey Triathlon Club members also took part in the race. Richard Stapley finished in a time of 2:14:41, Tim Andrews in 2:16:32 and Andrea Nightingale in a time of 2:49:30. In the sprint race Carol-Anne Stapley finished in 2 hours exactly, Richard Le Tocq in 2:06 and Joanna Stapley in 2:10.
Thornton’s attention now turns to the Jersey Inter-Insular Triathlon, sponsored by the Ana Leaf Foundation, taking place on Sunday 29 June in Jersey.
Mark Naftel, president of Guernsey Triathlon Club said: ‘It’s great to see young Guernsey triathletes competing on the bigger stage at UK events, particularly with Max hoping to represent Guernsey in the Jersey Island Games in 2015. This is a spectacular result for him and bodes well for his development and for the Island triathlon squad overall.’