More than 1,200 athletes successfully made the team that competed in front of friends and family and ensured that for five days of competition Hyde Park was transformed into a buzzing triathlon arena –despite the torrential downpours!
However, the journey to Hyde Park started long before September. The qualification period began with the aquathlon qualifiers at Box End Aquathlon, Crosby Lakeside Aquathlon and Tri-it Aquathlon.
Each of those races, had a strong turnout and aspirations were high, as Great Britain Age-Group Team Manager, Peter Hallatt said: “The ITU Aquathlon World Championships will kick start what will be an iconic event in Hyde Park with a once in a lifetime opportunity to compete at a home World Championships in front of your friends and family. We want to have our largest ever Great Britain Age-Group Team competing in the aquathlon and get the Great Britain Team off to a winning start.”
The team didn’t disappoint as they kick started the racing in style winning ten gold, ten silver and seven bronze medals.
The first British woman across the line and one of the ten gold medallists was Johanna Gascoigne-Owens in the 30-34 age-group. Johanna was competing in the Great Britain Age-Group Team for the first time and loved racing in Hyde Park commenting: “It was great actually, really good! It was a really busy race, great atmosphere, loads of supporters out on the course and it’s just a brilliant event and a good place to perform at your best.”
The sprint and standard distance teams had an equally tough qualification process with sprint distance qualifiers at Nottingham, Bristol and Llandudno and Deva, Dambuster and one of the highlights of the domestic season, the British Triathlon Championships Liverpool hosting standard distance qualifiers.
Well-known GB Age-Group athlete, Arnott Kid, 78, of Edinburgh was one of those competitors racing in Liverpool and was impressed by the course and wider event, which rounded off the qualification journey races: "I have raced on many courses around the world and I think this course has huge potential to be considered for European recognition. A massive well done to all the people of Liverpool for supporting and putting on a brilliant Championships,” said Arnott.
Arnott went on to medal in the standard distance race in Hyde Park adding a world championship silver medal to his palmares, Alongside Arnott, the Great Britain Age-Group Team won an incredible 8 gold, 9 silver and 10 bronze in the standard distance race and 12 gold, 12 silver and 5 bronze in the sprint distance event.
It wasn’t just about the medal-winners though as many of the athletes competing had great stories to tell, including Ellen Greaves (25-29) who was joined by her Mum, Sarah racing in the 55-59 category.
“I loved it, it was beautiful. We have loads of people down from the club, loads of family, loads of friends all cheering, all the way round; everyone else was shouting ‘GB’ – it was an amazing experience.
“My mum is competing today, I think we may be the only mother, daughter combination. I am so proud of her; she is the one who introduced me to triathlon,” said Ellen.
Malcolm Westwood, British Triathlon Director for Age-Group Teams rounded off the event well saying: “It’s been a fantastic event here in Hyde Park for the Great Britain Age-Group Team; each of the teams have delivered so much medal-winning success, and every athlete should be proud of their achievements. I hope that the performances of our athletes will inspire even more triathletes and newcomers to the sport to take up the Great Britain Age-Group Team challenge.”
It wasn’t only London where the Great Britain Age-Group Team had success. Every event where the team travelled, athletes returned with a medal. From the ITU Winter Triathlon World Championships to the ITU Duathlon World Championships in Ottawa - it was medals galore!
Are you inspired to take on the Great Britain Age-Group Team challenge? The qualification events
have already been announced for 2014, so get those races booked in and good luck with your training. We hope to see you pull on your ZeroD GB tri-suit in 2014.