In 2011, a year before the Olympics, it was announced that the 2013 World Championships would be in London at the Olympic venue. From this point it became many triathletes medium-term focus to aim to qualify and compete in London. It did not become apparent just how competitive it would become to qualify for this event until the qualifying events were announced. Dambuster Triathlon sold out in a matter of days, where normally it takes several months. I entered what I could, Deva and Bristol triathlons, qualifying at Deva in Chester. Now qualification was secured the main aims became the national championships in Liverpool and the the worlds in London. Liverpool went very well, narrowly missing out on a win in my age group. Preparations for London were looking good and after an easy week from Liverpool, the build towards London began.
With the build up complete, I had managed to stay fit and healthy and the start of the world championships was finally here. After watching others compete over the last few days in the sprint, para Tri and elite women’s race, I really wanted to get started. I was starting to feel that I may have tapered too much as I could not remember my last hard session! I just needed to stay positive and remember all the good results from the season.
The morning of the race had arrived, racking closed at 6.30am and my wave was one of the last at 10.10am. It was still dark on entering transition; just had to pump my tyres and attach shoes, gels, drink, etc – usually a very straight forward task but for some reason I felt the need to check again and again that everything was ok! I guess it showed that it meant a lot to first make sure the race was completed without any mechanical problems but also to perform to the best of my ability.
As the first waves went off, I was in McDonald’s, not having an egg Mcmuffin but a tea and porridge pot. I had plenty of time to offer encouragement to fellow club members and Tri Harder athletes Toby Morrell and Sam Proctor amongst others. It was not until they were on the bike that it became obvious that the ITU had taken the decision to shorten the swim to 750m due to the combination of cool water and air temperature! I had not heard of this rule change and it seemed an odd decision given the importance of the event. I was not too bothered either way as my swimming had improved a lot throughout the year with help from Paradise Tri. I thought it would probably benefit me over some of the stronger swimmers though.
By now everyone else I knew competing in the younger age groups had finished and I wanted to get going. Sam and Toby had performed well; Toby overcoming an annoying back injury which prevented him performing to the level that we all know he is capable.
There was more waiting around at the start than for smaller races and no opportunity to warm up in the water. Standing on the pontoon for a while allowed plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere. My age group was over two waves, the second starting 10 minutes behind, so it would not be possible to tell exactly what was going on.
The swim was uneventful and I felt I had swam as well as I could have. I felt l was quite high up and as soon as I got out I took advantage of the long transition. I was pleased to see fellow Tri Anglia member Matt Ellis just up ahead, he was one of my main competitors from GBR coming into the race so it was good to catch sight of him so early on. I thought transition might be a mud bath after the sprint and open competitors had churned it up but it was surprisingly ok. I had got through T1 well and passed Matt momentarily on mounting – this would be the only time I would be ahead of Matt for the rest of the race! The bike looked as though it was going to be great fun, quite technical but fast. It was also dry which was a blessing. It felt great on the bike, passing most of the best landmarks in London. I wondered whether the Queen had an interest in triathlon on passing Buckingham Palace! The first lap had soon been completed and Matt was out of sight but I was making good progress on others in my age group. Into T2 and the crowds were building and the cheers of ‘go GB’ gave you such a lift. On exiting T2 I had aimed to have a fast start and settle into the first half. This didn’t quite go to plan as the atmosphere was so encouraging that I kept the fast start going for a bit too long. I was passing lots of people and was closing in on Matt but not quickly enough. I had passed Toby Garbett who had beaten me to the national title in Liverpool earlier in the season so it was looking good for a high position. At about half way I knew I had over cooked it a bit though and was beginning to struggle; the aim was to maintain my form to the finish and try to hold it together. With just 200m to go, fellow Brit Phil Melling was on my shoulder, the last thing I needed was a sprint finish! The crowds were amazing and I just managed to hold him off by 3seconds! As soon as we finished it was announced that GB were currently in 1,2,3, Matt, myself and Phil! I thought there were bound to be some quicker finishers in the 2nd wave, only time would tell! Word was spreading that only a Mexican had split me and Matt. I had held on for the bronze, which I could not believe for some time. I felt sorry for Phil, just 3 seconds behind me, but not for long, thankful I was not in his position.
It was an amazing end to the season which was topped off by receiving my medal in Trafalgar Square. An amazing experience that may never be bettered! We will see!