Winning at Blenheim Palace

By Matt Hammerton

Winning at Blenheim Palace, triumphing in a prestigious outdoor event.

Great to be doing my first blog post for Alpkit. I recently won the Mazda Blenheim Triathlon - the second biggest triathlon in the UK, after the London Triathlon. With 5500 competitors the competition has to be split over two days.

The event takes place in the lush grounds of Blenheim Palace home of the Duke of Marlborough, and what a nice home it is with a 6.5km bike lap (closed roads) in your back garden, a huge lake, and a 2.6 km run loop in your front garden. There aren’t many triathletes who would say “no” to a back garden like that.

The swim start, sometimes known as the “washing machine” because of all the flailing arms and legs, is critical. Stay out of trouble but not start to fast was the main aim. Found a nice rhythm and managed to pick off those who started too fast. 12.02 for the swim (a long 750m swim) was fair, and then followed by a charge up the hill to transition in the forecourt of the palace, and out on the bike. I felt quite good on the bike, and most of looked good as the motorbike with cameraman thought it was worth filming me. They caught me towards the end of the first lap and followed me for about 1-2 km… if only Alpkit made triathlon kit!

Not quite sure how the pictures of my backside will come out on TV, and I certainly hope they edit out the shot of me blowing my nose!

Had a solid bike just outside 32 minutes, and headed out on the run. Hot and hilly the run felt hard and slower than I would have liked. However my run split of 19.55 ranked highly, and overall time of 1:08:14… which ignoring the Elite race (which is held under different rules, so that the drafting on the bike is allowed and won by Stuart Hayes in 1:01) gave me first overall. A solid result and time to test myself over the Olympic distance….

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