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London triathlon - great way to get into triathlon?

jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
IMHO the London Triathlon has gone the same way as the London Marathon,it becomes ,'The Marathon',to do,you don't do it for the time or PB,it could become that tick on your list.There are better value races out their,but people do it because thats where the beginners see it start for them.Beginners get tv interviews and so can relate with other newbies who want to give it ago,and so will pay through the nose to do it because they have little knowledge of the tri world outside The London Triathlon.
If it gets people involved then I am for it,reluctantly,as people can get better value,particularly in this recession filled time.
Knowledge is power,and hindsight is exact,but to get there we may falter.


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    When I signed up it was purely because of the marketing I guess.. in that.. I decided I wanted to do a couple of Olympic Distance events and the only 2 knew about as a complete novice were Windsor and London..

    From everything I hear, I will probably only do it once.. it's an event to be ticked off once, not returned yearly like I suspect Windsor will be..

    I must confess having not done it yet I'm somewhat concerned with the logisitics.. bikes aren't allowed on the DRL - the very line designed to service the EXcel centre...

    Still I will have a more formed opinion in 4 weeks time

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    md6md6 Posts: 969
    I'm not sure about the London tri but it is very well marketed and if even only a small proportion of the 12,000 who do it remain doing tri, surely that can only be a good thing? I think part of the appeal is the location (no not he excel centre) but that it is IN London. I live in london (Greenwich) and the next nearest tri after London is Crystal palace, which is a sprint there is no Oly distance, the next one I know of it the one in Hyde park which if you are talking about money making at £75 for a sprint certainly fits that bill. WHat other tris are there in london? I know there are ones in the surronding areas but none actually in London. That is where I think it has a large part of the appeal. That and it gets on telly so people have heard of it. After all, if you are going to do 1 tri and 1 tri only (or marathon for that matter) people will want to do the one people have heard of so when they say 'I di X tri' other people know what they are talking about.

    That all said, i think that they should have limited the numbers a lot lower than 12,000 at say 5,000 over the 2 days that would be much better
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    md6md6 Posts: 969
    Oh and scott, the DLR doesn't allow bikes, its a bit crap like that.
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    risris Posts: 1,002
    i agree with jon that the london tri is a bit like the london marathon - seen as the one to do. i suspect lots of people take it one because of that, tick it off and maybe not continue with triathlon afterwards. i'm sure it is a great venue, atmosphere, etc blah but it barely raises any interest from me i'm afraid.

    i'm more interested in the smaller events where you get to meet people in a relaxed environment. for me the camaraderie of a smaller sport is more evident at these events - helping each other out in transition, nice cake stall afterwards, that sort of thing.

    enormous corporate event for 12,000 people just leaves me cold, and i have the same feeling toward the london marathon. there are loads of great marathons out there but the only one that runners i've met want to do is london.
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    The only reason I got into triathlon is b/c a charity asked if I wanted to have a spot in the London one. Seemed like a really big challenge, and I am finding it is To be honest I don't even like being in crowds so am a bit nervous about that but at the same time at the time I agreed I thought, 'well, if you are going to possibly do one in your life go big' (I'm doing the Oly). However, once I got into training I realised it was possibly something I'd want to carry on with, after all this training I don't want to let it go to waste! I have done one sprint as a sort of practice and hope to do more after London-if I don't died doing it I'll let you know how I feel about possibly doing London again afterwards!
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    moonshinemoonshine Posts: 335
    I'm doing the sprint to raise money too as asking for sponsorship for doing an event others of heard of helps on the penny raising front - having said that I'm glad I've done 2 others as the more I hear about London the more sure I am that if that was my only experience I would not have tuned into the addict I have now become
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    maltesermalteser Posts: 25
    I signed up for London last January as a complete newbie looking for a challenge. It will be my 'A' race and I'm doing it for charity but I must admit that as a complete newbie I'm apprehensive about the amount of ppl there and the crowds.

    That being said I love the training and I'll be sticking to triathlon after the race ... I've bought all the basic equipment and intend on buyin more as well as signing up for more races ... I'll probably be doing London again (uppin the distance from Sprint to Oly) but I don't think its a race in which I will be holding on to a PB in ... looking forward to more 'tri oriented' i.e. less commercial races in which to do that ... even if I do come last in those

    if it wasn't for London I would never have gotten into it so thanks to London I'm fitter, healthier, have lost some weight and have been introduced to a fantastic sport ... for that alone London'll do it for me
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    WDFWDF Posts: 1

    As a 'slower' triathlete, I think one of the benefits of London is that it anonymity - its such a big event that you are unlikely to be last.

    I am very slow - particularly on the swim - and that puts me off smaller, local events. I worry that everyone else will be really good, and I will still be plodding around when the marshalls are packing up and waiting to go home (sometimes, when you are blowing out of your a** at the end of the run, having totally losty your sense of humour, it can be difficult not to find the encouragement offered to the back markers patronising). No such worries at London. Once you are out of the water, you can blend in to the crowd (and other waves) and do your own thing.

    I will be doing london (slowly) again this year. After coming to cheer me on last year, my wife and my best mate decided that they wanted to give tri go, and are also taking part with me this time. I only do a few races per year, and so I'm happy to pay a bit more for London. For me, it involves a weekend away (I live in Manchester, and is an excuse to meet up with ny London dwelling mates after) and somehow it makes it a bit more 'special' than the smaller local events, and makes me train that little bit harder.


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    moonshinemoonshine Posts: 335
    I am very slow
    that will make the 2 of us at the back then And know what you mean about the swim and the marshall thing but now work on the principle that hey at least I got off the sofa and gave it a go and finished - slowly
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    risris Posts: 1,002
    i'm glad that lots of other people find london attractive as a starting point, although it does make me wonder if i'm missing a chunk of my brain because i don't!

    anonymity has it's place and if it works for you then great but running with 12,000 others at bath half this year i just felt like another number doing the 13.1mile grinder. i think with tri i was worried about making a tit of myself in front of thousands. hundereds of people seeing me mess up i can handle, but not thousands.

    when i did my first tri at highworth last year there were about 150-200 there, so pretty small. there were 8 to a wave, so before the race we were all chatting away. the organisers did a really simple thing - each marshall had the runners names and numbers so when you went past them they all gave you 'individual' encouragement.

    i had no family or friends there, i'd rocked up to it on a bit of a whim. someone shouting 'nearly there nick' or 'nick, you're doing great, keep it going' was fabulous. probably not something i'll find anywhere else but i thought it was clever.
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    Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    The mass events have little or no appeal for me. Actually, they have negative appeal. I've never wanted to do the London Marathon, and the same would be true of large triathlon.

    I'm not that keen on big crowds

    But I like to race! It doesn't matter that I'm not very good - there are invariably people around at the same level.. So the smaller events suit.

    I always have a race plan. And hanging around at the start doesn't really suit me.

    I'm sure the London Tri won't be as bad as the marathon - with more waves.. but... the mass start swim is pretty terrifying!

    I'm booked in on the Ilkley Triathlon - which has about 300 starters, and has a very good reputation. I just hope that I'm fit enough to do it!

    The largest event that I've done - and I wouldn't want it to be any bigger, is the Leeds Abbey Dash 10K run. This has about 5,000 starters (out of 7,000 entrants). However, the field is usually of terrific quality as it is such a good course for PBs (typically, around 300 will be sub 40 minutes). Last year, the start was good (I was pretty near the front, so it was quite easy to get through the bottleneck and get running - I did the first K in about 3:30 - 3:40, so didn't get too held up once I had crossed the start line). There are so many people, you almost get slipstreaming benefits as you are pulled along in the vortex
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    huwdhuwd Posts: 228
    WDF wrote:
    ...I think one of the benefits of London is that it anonymity - its such a big event that you are unlikely to be last. ....
    Hit the nail on the head there - I'm entered for exactly the same reason. Add to that the investment for a tri and I'm hoping the event will be a great motivator and a good way to gauge an estimated performance. I'm not a serious competitor but from running I know I will only enter events where I know it's not only going to be club athletes that will leave me for dust, part of the enjoyment for me is being alongside other people
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    diddsdidds Posts: 655
    interesting points...

    * when i did my first 10K (which was my first race ever unless you count a 3.5K fun run in a blizzard in Austria) it was a local event to where I lived on an airfield (ie closed circuit). Small field, couple of hundred runners maybe. I really had no idea what I was doing or what it was all about so just picked something close by.

    * my 1st triathlon was picked for much the same reasons... it was an event not that far from me and I was able to prepare by racing the actual swim and run course in some aquathlons prior to the event as well. It was a "titchy" event I perceived although it was no means a "small" event in terms of the infrastructure supplied for it. But my raison d'etre for that one was the distance seemed right when i booked it as my starting point and it was local.

    *I don;t like London generally, and the idea of doing the LT leaves me cold. I don;t have much interest in being in a wave of 450+; not because I am afraid of a mass start at all, it just doesn;t appeal to me to be trying to get past those that bless them are even worse than me where there is little room. let alone the prospect of swimming in the thames at docklands. I like o/water starts and the biff; I get a big kick out of them. To behonest I can;t quite fathom why I don;t want this one, cos if I had a similar sized wave at say Blithfield later this month it wouldn't bother me. maybe its just London, and the Thames? I certainly don;t fancy the stories I hear of tight corners and too many riders and the potential for mishap; I certainly dont see the attraction of fighting your way through a transition the size of Rutland. I dont do big crowds particularly well I now find - though am quite happy to visit Twickenham/Wembley so I'm not sure where that leaves me there either. Overall, for whatever reasons, being part of 12,00 others in London doesn;t appeal, and FWIW nor would it (dunno why) if it were in Swindon or somewhere closer nearby to home either.

    *That all said I wanted my first half marathon to be somewhere "big" and I did paris this year - 24,000_+ runners or somesuch, and it was great. I could have chosen bath as its is close by me but heave heard so many rubbish stories about the infrastructure there that i just didn't want it. I had heard positive reports about paris FTR 9and would echo them).

    So - my reasons aren't really defendable at all. BUt for me... London Tri? nahh... just dont; need it and am not at all interested.

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    SwizzlenapSwizzlenap Posts: 160
    I'm planning on doing London as my main race next year for a variety of reasons. I've not done any triathlons yet, it'll be two sprints then hopefully London OD next year. As I've not done any smaller ones yet I don't really have anything to compare it to but the reasons I've chosen it fully knowing that in many ways it's an overly corporate, faceless event are;

    I live in London so the chance to race "my" city is fantasic.
    I've done a few Nike 10k's in London so I'm used to large participant numbers; it doesn't really bother me.
    My friends will be able to come and cheer me on, even if they have to try and pick me out from thousands of other people!!
    I'm planning on doing it for charity, I lost a friend to cancer recently, and it'll be easier to "sell" it to non triathlon people.

    It's quite possible that once I've done it I'll move on to smaller events but it does have a certain draw.
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    BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    London 2006 was my first ever OD. I'd been bumming about at sprints and odd-distanced local events for years but finally decided to go big. Looking back, it was a total pain in the arse. Organisational nightmare, personally speaking. We stayed with friends in Clapham, I woke everybody up at about 5:00am, may mate gave me a lift across town to the traffic jam that is Excel. When we arrived the car-park attendants hadn't started work yet (despite transition area being open already). The transition area was stupidly big, and going up two flights of stairs after the swim? What a stupid idea! You have to walk about a mile in your wetsuit when going to the prep area, crossing a metal bridge made of cheese graters in your barefeet. There are too many people in a wave (450?) with a start line about 50m wide, the turn point is too narrow. It is IMPOSSIBLE not to draft on the bike in the areas around Excel and on other bits of the bike course.

    On the other hand, the water is fine (Blue Flag), there are loads of helpers to give you a bin liner for your wet-suit, transition is roomy with decent floor coverings. The bike course outside of the crowded bits is great fun.... closed roads and that fantastic tunnel. I have a vivid memory of zipping along the (closed) Embankment with Parliament dead ahead, the river on my right with the Millenium Wheel across the water, just loving it. The run is ebough to make anybody feel like a superstar, total strangers bellowing at you. And the finish line is deafening no matter who you are. I even got a name check from the announcer, who gets as many names out as he can. Wonderful memories.

    Did it the following year. Had to lock bike in the day before, and with my mates away and no money for a hotel I drove Southampton to Excel on the Saturday AND the Sunday. Got the Tower Bridge bike route, so no Embankment, just two boring laps. Also was injured at the time so never really worked up to it. I had a bad time, the magic was gone.

    Probably won;t do it again.
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    JulesJules Posts: 987
    I read the article in 220 about it this month. It looks horrible. Running two flights of steps to T1? Nice.

    Traffic will be horrible as the only realistic way to get there apparently is by car and the whole event looks just too big to be fun. I guess the flipside is there would be a big crowd.

    A friend used to live in the flats opposite Excel, if he still lived there I guess I might give it a go, but I can't say it's one I'd want to do otherwise.
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    I'm in the OD relay this year with a couple guys at work, we got a golden charity bond place with Sportsaid so this ones all about the chariddy mate .. I've got my own OD 2 weeks later so it'll be a good swim practice for me, and i like the atmosphere of the big events.
    Did the LT swim training day on Saturday which was pretty handy, i've been doing some OW swimming anyway but it was well organised, and the coaching was simple and to the point, preparation, sighting, drafting, mass start and a 400m race to finish.
    One good tip was 'learn to swim the distance', by that they meant learn to swim only the distance, in a simple drill we swam 20strokes toward a marker without sighting .. many had veered off course by as much as 15m. Saying that i will swim the extra bit to get wide of the crowd as i swim better in a bit of clear water. Am still slow compared to the rest though
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    FlavadaveFlavadave Posts: 749
    The London triathlon has definitely been my way into this fantastic sport.

    As people have pointed out, the marketing drew me in and I thought 'What the hell!' so signed up for the sprint last year. Then the date just seemed to far away so I signed up for a couple more that were sooner. Only then did I start to learn more about triathlon in general, searching online and buying magazines which is how I stumbled upon this forum.

    I have to say that the London Triathlon drew me in, but its this forum, and in particular the support and advice I've received since joining, that have turned me into what I can now call myself... A triathlete!

    I'm trying to reserve judgement at the moment on the London event itself, but I'll be racing a few friends and will have loads more watching so I imagine the experience will be great, plus its local for me too.

    Would I have started triathlons if not for the London Tri? Probably. But then again maybe not. Mass participation events can be soulless and seem to be money grabbing, but they do raise public interest and awareness. If they encourage a percentage of the population to enter then it can only be a good thing!
    Once people get the bug though they'll look for alternative events so I believe the smaller events benefit indirectly.

    So in short, yes a great way to get in but staying in is down to the individual.
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    IronABSIronABS Posts: 66
    I'm doing the OD this year, if i'm honest primarily because i can say i've done it, but also it's falls at a time that i can use it as a stepping block to my main race this year The Little Woody Half Iron Distance.

    However, the more i hear about the London Tri the more i'm dreading it. Not the racing, but the logistics. You see i'm based in Manchester, so i've had to book a hotel for Saturday and Sunday, on advise (from another forum) just outside London in Chelmsford, which i was told had good rail links. However, it seems that the only way to get to the event is by car, which will mean me driving down Saturday direct to the Excel to rack my bike, then off to Chelmsford to check into my hotel then drive back in on Sunday and out again after the race.

    Not the best preperation...
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    brizzichickbrizzichick Posts: 166
    i did my first baby tri last year and loved it...a mate of mine decided he wanted to do London and I thought...hey why not so registered at the start of the year?! i'm only booked in to do the super sprint and kinda regret that now cause i've done a few sprints already....so which I was doing the sprint instead...

    was looking forward to doing this with a few mates but am slightly concerned from the comments on this forum that it's going to not soo fun....oh well...will give it a go and will probably not go back. Next year I need to be a bit more tacticle about which races I choose...I guess I'll chalk this down to experience and hopefully fun...

    i do prefer the smaller races...and I've also had my names called out whilst doing the thames turbo..it's a real encouragement boost!
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    TesseractTesseract Posts: 280
    I love London.

    This will be my third year, and I just think the buzz of so many people there, to do what we love, more than compensates for dull scenery. Hey, I don't stop to look at the scenery anyway!

    The swim is manky, but it's a good fast bike and run course.

    Getting there can be pain, and the travel/ hotel costs are the only thing making me think about whether I do it again. (this year's my third).

    In terms of the numbers, size of transition etc. that have been commented on, I've never found it a problem, and the organisation is superb. I've never had a problem in transition, but yes you can expect longer T-times as you've more distnace to cover. The crowds cheering you on are great too.
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