Over 500 athletes prepare for Norwich Triathlon

Norwich Triathlon 2014, olympic distance, taking place at Whitlingham. Photo: Steve Adams

Norwich Triathlon 2014, olympic distance, taking place at Whitlingham. Photo: Steve Adams

Over 500 athletes will take part in the 11th Norwich Triathlon this weekend.

Whitlingham Country Park and roads south of Norwich will see competitors take on the sprint distance on Saturday evening and the Olympic distance early on Sunday morning.

Competitors from as far afield as Durham, Manchester, Surrey, Portsmouth and even Stockholm are entered into this year's event – with 220 of the participants being new to the sport.

Race director Mark Philo said: 'With the event's growing reputation the standard required to take top honours is improving. Last year's winners in the Standard Olympic distance race, were both European age group champions.

'This year's sprint distance race sees two male pro triathletes using the event as a warm-up ahead of Ironman UK. One of those being Norfolk's Joe Skipper, recent bronze medallist at the ITU Long Distance World Championships and is targeting the win at Ironman UK to secure his 2015 World Ironman Championships, and Simon Brierley, a local triathlon coach who represents the Seychelles at pro level.'

Both races start and finish at Whitlingham, with the sprint race due to get under way at 6pm on Saturday, made up of a 750-metre open water swim, an 18km bike ride and 5km run.

The Olympic distance is scheduled to begin at 8am on Sunday, consisting of a 1500m open water swim, 38km bike ride and 10km run.

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The Olympic distance races also double as the Eastern Regions Standard Distance Championships, where participants' results will count towards an accumulative club result within the Regions Club League, currently being led by weekend hosts Tri-Anglia.

Tri-Anglia communications officer Rob Lines said: 'Names to watch out for in Saturday evening's sprint triathlon are Durham University's Finn Nurgent, Simon Brierley of Paradise Tri and Tri-Anglia's Joe Skipper.

'Amongst the ladies in the sprint, attention will be on the showdown between Tri-Anglia's Becky Schofield and Team Tri2Aspires Zoe Cresswell, who are both GB age group athletes.

'In Sunday morning's Standard Olympic distance triathlon, Tri-Anglia's Kimberley Morrison is firm favourite to retain her title. Kimberley has just secured a place at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships winning her age group at Ironman 70.3 Haugersund, Norway at the weekend.

'Other women looking to challenge the top spot are Nicky Roger from King's Lynn Triathlon Club and East Essex Triathlon Club's Emily Spray.

'Tri-Anglia's Iain Robertson who races for Torq Fitness is the reigning men's champion and he faces very stiff competition from Tri Harder's Sam Proctor, Rock Estate's Liam Gentry, Benjamin Eastman of Hornchurch Swimming Club and Dan Blackman of TRiIQ.'

For photos and results from this year's Norwich Triathlon, see Tuesday's EDP.

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