Tri Club planning for every eventuality

THE Guernsey Triathlon Club are gearing up for a best-case scenario of resuming racing in under a fortnight.

The wave start being used in last year's Grandes Rocques Super Sprint Triathlon, which was the first held post the island's first lockdown. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29269623)
The wave start being used in last year's Grandes Rocques Super Sprint Triathlon, which was the first held post the island's first lockdown. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29269623)

While club president Mark Naftel feels a virtual race is the most likely replacement for the Pembroke Duathlon, dated Sunday 7 March, he knows an early onset of lockdown exit stage two will allow for a specially-adapted outdoor event.

Triathlon trailed cycling by one weekend last summer in sport’s post-lockdown comeback, and with Velo Club counterpart Mark Smith also eyeing stage two, swift returns are again possible.

Naftel and his committee are prepared to move quickly based on official guidance.

‘We have got plans in place to either go through the route of a virtual event where everybody runs, rides and runs from their own house or wherever they choose to do it, but on their own – that’s plan B, if you like,’ Naftel said.

‘Or plan C – if we go to phase two, that will allow us up to 30 people, and we will run the event very similarly to what we did at Grandes Rocques [last June].

‘It would be two events, two hours apart – 25 in the first and 25 in the second. That allows us four or five officials.’

Last year’s Grandes Rocques Super-Sprint used wave starts across two events, split into ability groups dubbed ‘competers’ and ‘completers’, to become the first post-lockdown triathlon race in the British Isles.

Social distancing rules also applied throughout the swim, cycle and run.

A similar approach is in line for the Pembroke Duathlon if Guernsey transitions quickly between stages one and two.

However, Naftel remains a clear advocate of virtual races, which last year attracted high turnouts that included complete newcomers to Triathlon Club events.

‘The virtual events worked well last year,’ he said.

‘It keeps people ticking over and it keeps the interest there.

‘There has been a fair amount of new interest over the last month or 10, however long we’ve been in lockdown.’

He added that holding out longer for stage two remains a possibility, but that could cause clashes with events organised by other clubs.

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