Triathlon: Howard has a night to remember on long-distance debut

She was one of three Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club members who wanted to make up for missing out on their first Ironman event.

Howard (F40-49), Helen Waite (F40-49) and John Fuller (M40-49) had all hoped to take part in the Nottingham Outlaw race last month but it was curtailed by adverse weather.

The long-distance triathlon in north Kent consisted of a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42.2km run, starting on Saturday evening and continuing through the night.

Determined not to let months of training go unrealised the trio took on the added complexity of racing in the dark while being deprived of sleep.

With weather again affecting race day with high winds, the race started late and the bike leg had to be altered to 26 laps of a 7km course.

On the four-lap swim in the lake, Howard exiting the water first in 1hr 27min, followed by Fuller in 1:35 and Waite in 1:44.

On the flat and windy bike course there were more than 100 dead turns during the six hours or more in the saddle.

That was followed by a marathon run comprising eight laps of a 5.3km course that saw the athletes running through the sunrise.

Waite said: “Then the sun starting coming up, and even on a housing estate in Dartford that was quite special.”

Howard finished in first place overall, setting an impressive debut time of 11:47, with Fuller finishing ninth in his category in 13:20m, while Waite won her section in 13:41.

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