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The Sixteenth Yorkshire Dales Triathlon
Tough Choices

by Nigel Farrow

Reproduced by kind permission of Runner's World (November 1999) - for all that you need to know about running and allied sports

The Yorkshire Dales Triathlon proudly claims to be Britain's toughest and oldest triathlon. For those who wanted more of a challenge, there was a quadrathlon with a kayaking section and, for the benefit of non-swimmers, a duathlon.

Approaching the summit The triathlon starts with a fairly gentle 1200-yard swim at scenic Semer Water, near to the town of Hawes. The 42-mile bike leg begins with a steep climb: for many it was too much, with some competitors either descending to make another attempt - or simply falling off. A glance over the edge of the climb disconcertingly reveals the corpses of vehicles which had missed the road, strewn all over the sides of the valley.

Arriving at the run transition at the Helwith Bridge Hotel, your eyes fall upon the scene for the next challenge, Pen-y-Ghent. At 693 metres above sea level, the summit is the turnaround for the 11-mile run. The track is mostly loose stone, climbing gently to begin with, but soon becoming steeper. As you approach the top, only the leaders are capable of running; the rest make whatever progress they can with their hands and feet, moving one foot, and then one hand, painfully in front of the other. Finally, at the top, a marshal sitting in the shade of a stone wall notes your number and then you begin the equally painful descent. First to finish were Jim Thorn (4:28:47) and Jenny Ransome (5:19:35).

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