In June 2017 the International Olympic Committee announced that the Mixed Triathlon Relay event would feature at Tokyo 2020. Mixed Relay’s have only recently been introduced into the sport of Triathlon and are still a rare occurrence. However, with the Olympics approaching, young athletes needed events to use as training and Beachborough School decided to stage their first Mixed Relay event alongside their annual triathlon.
With a number of our kids already registered for the Beachborough individual triathlon, club coach Adrian put out a message to see if anyone fancied entering the Mixed Relay event. After a string of messages between parents and a couple of hasty emails to the organisers, NTri entered two teams into our first mixed relay event.
Beachborough hold their Triathlon event around the cricket pitch at the magnificent Stowe school. You’ll struggle to find a finer setting for a triathlon and we were lucky to be blessed with a glorious warm sunny day to match.
As this was most peoples first relay event (including the organisers) everyone was packed into the briefing to carefully listen to what was involved.
A mixed relay triathlon involves 4 team mates in the same age group – two boys and two girls. Each competitor completes a fast paced, mini triathlon, before passing their timing chip onto the next member of the team. The sequence of race order is girl, boy, girl boy.
The event kicks off with the first female competitors taking part in a mass start swim. This was a big change from the staged starts normally found in pool triathlons. There was a real sense of excitement and quite apprehension around the pool, waiting for the starter orders. Nervous competitors jostled for the best position in the pool as their equally nervous parents jostled to get a good view.
The shrill sound of the whistle blew and the water was suddenly alive with a melee of white water and thrashing arms and legs as the kids tore into their first lap of the pool. Two quick circular laps round the pool (as opposed to lengths) and it was out into the sunshine and a short run to transition.
The bike section skirts round the outside of cricket pitch at Stowe, following the towering old oak trees. Another quick stop in the transition and it was onto the run section. The mixed relay is supposed to be a short super sprint, but eagerness in the first two events and a beaming sun, soon meant that all competitors legs were starting to get a little heavy. The organisers had anticipated this and handed out cups of water and wet flannels as the competitors finished each lap.
As the first weary competitor finished, they had to hand over their timing chip to their next team mate who was stood waiting in the sheltered handover area. This was easier said than done at the end of a hot and fast leg and real teamwork was required just to get the timing chip off the first persons leg and securely fastened round the next.
Then bam, next team member exploded into action, racing off for the pool to start their own swim to cheers of encouragement from their team mates and parents.
There was a real sense of club camaraderie here. As a parent, at some events it can be easy to get swept up in what your child is doing and not have a chance to follow what is happening elsewhere. However, with the mixed relay, all the parents managed to stand together, cheering and ringing cow bells as each team mate passed!
All in all it was a glorious day, in superb surrounds, with great company. Roll on the relay’s next year!