Tuesday, January 15, 2013

1990 Issues 9 - 20

Biathlon Series Stuff

The concept of the  220 Turntec - Bill Rodger -Biathlon Series was to create some events that we could report on during the off season and so not be obliged to have to spend the winter in Barbados.

We loaded our 220 transition racking and finish gantry on to  the trailer and set off on a tour of the UK, co-operating with local organisers to make one big series.

We went to Bedford, Preston, somewhere in Surrey, Swindon (the event Julian talks about), right up to Hexam, Leicester, Sittingbourne, the Wear Valley with the final at RAF Cosford's indoor arena. There were 1086 finishers over eight races and £1000 in cash was distributed to the various winners - not bad in those days.

Dave Littlemore narrowly escapes being blown over the fence by a farting horse.

Man in Restaurant: Waiter! this meal is terrible.
Waiter: But Sir, you had a five course meal with wine and it only cost two pounds twenty.
Man in Restaurant: In that case, waiter, the meal was excellent.

A similar conversation was heard at the Ball Busters Duathlon at the top of Box Hill (nearly two miles of ascending). 

Cyclist: Those riders aren't going very fast, are they really racing?
John Lunt: Yes, but first they ran eight miles which included coming up this hill. Then they have another three laps on the bike, each time coming up this hill. When they have finished all that they run another lap, and yes that makes five ascents in total.
Cyclist: . . . . pause . . . . In that case, they're going very fast indeed!

220 Contributor Dave Bellingham duathloning.


Julian Jenkinson.

The 1989 Swindon Biathlon was my first ever duathlon after my first season in triathlon. I remember spotting Richard Hobbson who was the "star" and thinking he was twice my size and appeared to have all the kit. I rode in trainers. I recall an indoor transition and quite a buzz about the place. Coming from cross country running this felt like the big time; people watching and prizes!

I was completely unknown and ran with Hobbo. I beat him out of transition because of my trainers. I think it was an out and back  course and I got caught on the way home, a few other runner types were quickly over hauled ; a very young Julian Bunn and this guy called Trees who had run a 4 min mile or nearly. Hobbo led off bike and I took second. It was a massive surprise to me and everybody there. I loved it.

Why did I love it? Atmosphere, Exciting, Buzz, Cool. I was young cocky student and the girls and beer and everything was perfect. I did number two at Leicester meeting Dave Bellingham - mad as a hatter. I had almost learned to cycle and won the race from Steve Meads. Never won much at running, got the bug now, found something that I was half decent at.

British Ironman record holder for 13 years in 8:15:21. National titles at long distance triathlon and long distance duathlon. Represented GB elite at all distances in both triathlon and duathlon, Later (40-45years) turned to time trialling and won the BBAR in 2010, National 12 hour champion in 2010, including a best 100 miler in 3:28, 50 miles in 1:40 and a 12 hours 297 miles.

All Abroad Swindon Triathlon

Richard Hobson and Sarah Springman won their respective adult's categories.
Harry Webb was Men's Vet winner with Steve Trew second.

Round Robin Interviews

One of the really nice things about triathlon back in the day, was that the top guys, usually,  didn't have delusions of grandeur. They all knew it was a niche sport and they weren't going to get rich quickly. They were just geezers, and whatever the female equivalent is, so very approachable. When we went round asking some of the National Squad members to write a bit for the mag they all said OK.

When we said, "but you have to write about another squad member", they said . . . . . . . OK. That's how we got Glenn Cook to write about Robin Brew, Robin on Ken Maclaren, Ken on Bernie Shrosbree, Bernie on Tracey Harris, Tracey on Richard Hobson and Richard on Glenn Cook. We said "don't make it a love-in" and they didn't :-)

Commonwealth Games in NZ

The 1990 Commonwealth Games in Aukland NZ, I notice we used to spell Auckland various ways; sometimes Aukland, sometimes Orc Land (is that somewhere in Middle Earth, seems to have that ring about it). Anyway, they had The Games and also two Demonstration Sports, one of which was Triathlon.

I still don't really know why the BTA wouldn't select a team for the event, Scotland, Wales and Ireland were organised but no English team. I think there was political maneuvering somewhere between the BTA and the Sports Council, there was no logical reason not to enter as far as anybody could see.

So a swimmer turned triathlete called Mick Flaherty came to me with a list of people who wanted to go and were prepared to pay their way. Without the BTA's agreement 220 made contact with the NZ race organiser, he accepted the team and laid on homestay accommodation for everyone.

We bought a load of matching kit from Reebok and passed it on at the same price. If I remember there was one person who didn't send a cheque but every one else supported the whole venture. They all went off and apparently the race was a great success.

Funny story about Mick (Fish) Flaherty, he was in the military and in 1982 he was entered into the very first Nice Triathlon. He was told he would have to swim, ride and run. It was only later he found out that the riding bit was not on a horse but a bicycle :-)

220 Marathon Triathlon = Entry Fee £2:20

220 Marathon Triathlon T-Shirt (detail).
We wanted to put on a race that people could aspire to - a long, hard, tough race. Obviously it had to be an Ironman, without using the word Ironman which is owned by the World Triathlon Corporation. After much scratching of body parts we decided on The 220 Marathon Triathlon.

There had been a couple of long triathlons in the UK but this was the first with the exact (can't mention the name begining with I) distances. We found a lake big enough at Cotswold Water Park near Swindon and a  triangular bike route of three 60km loops, not that difficult it seemed, but actually the road surface was pretty crappy so it became a bit of a slog (I know because I raced the event as well as partially organising; reorganising a drinks station on the run can be a bit stressful). We got hold of an official AAA course measurer and triathlete called Dave Cerqua and he made sure the marathon course round Cirencester Park was accurate to a spit.

Having been to Hawaii and seen how it's done properly, we knew we would need lots and lots of volunteers. So we said every competitor, who was also a subscriber, could enter for the reduced fee of two pounds twenty if they brought along a volunteer. If they were Johnny Nomates they would have to pay the "proper"  entry fee of twenty two pounds (and twenty pence).

We expected fifty or sixty entrants but ended up with 220 . . . . . and even more volunteers!

"You can't come in here dressed like that" - our transition security came straight from a local nightclub. Winners Mike Lockwood and Sarah Springman receiving their framed cartoons that Tracy Harris sketched for the prize giving ceremony.

220 knew Dave Loughran as Tritech the Power Bar Man. Now he’s much more refined and can be found bossing the chaps at On-One and Planet X Bikes.

Do you remember the early 1990’s ?
Yes, very much so, was mad keen into triathlon, Warburton’s Big Bread, Rother Valley Half, Canterbury in the big waves, 220 Marathon Triathlon, Bedford Long Course in 37oF with a homemade plywood disc wheel weighing 3kg, 220 at Swindon, Kewswick, Ripon.

How did you get into the Powebar business?
I left university and didn’t want to get a proper job so I set up a business importing triathlon products which was really a front for getting faster. It turned out I was pretty good at buying and selling; Barracuda swim goggles, Scott Tinley Performance clothing, Mark Allen’s book, Scott Tinleys triathlon training video.  I cut and pasted a price list, sent it to Duncan Robb (then the British Triathlon Association’s secretary, he sent it out with the BTA newsletter and I received a load of postal orders. Powerbar came in 1989, I was their first export customer. I only bought them because it said in their advert that I would go quicker.

 Did you give Powebars to 220 to go in every goody bag one year?
Yes but we also did a cover-mount, I recall they were out of date and 220 were a bit pissed.

How cold was the swim in Coate Water in the 220 Marathon Triathlon?
I had a great swim until 200 metres to go when I got a horrible calf cramp and had to just sit there for 5 minutes. At the end of the bike a motorbike making the race video started filming me so I and smashed the last 15 miles, riding 53 by 11 at 28 mph thinking I was riding the final stage of the Tour de France.  

I wobble out onto the run wearing the first ever Camelbak in the UK. I’d blagged it at Interbike the previous year. Every lap Ken Mclaren, who was commentating, would shout “Here comes Jack with his knapsack on his back”. I ended up 7th and was featured on the Channel 4 TV programme with the infamous closing line “And for some the day was too long" as the camera zoomed on to my contorted face as I cramped-up crossing the finish line.

That was my one and only Ironman distance race, being tight-arse Yorkshiremen my mate Rod Dyer and I only entered because the entry fee was £2:20 - now that was good value!

Have you sold all your Hawaiian shirts?
Yes finally, I think last year, that was not my best purchase.

Sarah Coope

 Keevil Duathlon

"Good Morning - Announcing Flight 220 from Keevil Airfield, Our duathlon destination is ten kilometers, sixty kilometers and a further ten kilometers away.

Competitors are asked to fasten their helmet straps and ensure their saddles are in an upright position with spare tyres stowed safely away.

Please take a few moments to familiarise yourselves with the emergency exits. We would remind you that smoking on the runway and in the portaloos is strictly forbidden.

In the event of an Oxygen Failure you are advised to present yourself at the St John's ambulance before lying down.

We will be flying at an 30,000 feet with an estimated time of arrival, for the winner, of two hours and thirty minutes.

Thank you for flying 220, we hope you have a pleasant flight and look forward to welcoming you back to further events in the 220 Series. Have a very pleasant journey".


Did you know, The village People started life as Triathletes!
You couldn’t make it up! (well, actually I just did).

The London Fire Brigade trip team are sponsored by Condor Cycles (the bike shop in Greys Inn Road, London where Mike Jagger and Eric Clapton go to have their punctures repaired).

Jasmine Flatters

Jasmine Flatters was one of our Super Volunteers and she quickly became Managing Director of our Volunteers Division. Jasmine found, organised and directed the hundreds of volunteers that we needed at all our races. Not content with working for free for 220, she went on to be a tireless worker for the British Triathlon Association, she organised the age-group teams and eventually became Chairwoman (I refuse to call it Chair). I think she was one of the few, if not only, altruistic Chairpersons the BTA ever had. She wasn't interested in vanity or ego or wearing a nice blazer (unless she had ear rings to match), she just got on with the job and enjoyed doing it.  

She also held positions for the ETU on the Executive Board and the Technical Committee. For the  ITU she was a Credentials Committee and Technical Committee member. Even more importantly she was the power behind John Lunt's throne organising the 2012 London Olympic Games Triathlon. Why she hasn't been called up to Buckingham Palace for a sack full of medals I find it hard to understand.

We asked her how it all began:
I first came into contact with you all at 220 when my husband Mick entered the 220 Marathon Triathlon and I was his £2.20 volunteer in 1990! Even though Mick never actually finished that race - he was hauled out of the swim in his ill-fitting wetsuit suffering with hypothermia - we went on to do lots more 220 races (Mick competing, me volunteering) and soon you asked me to co-ordinate all the volunteers for the whole series of events. I remember that I had a database of around 700 people in the end, which is amazing as there were no emails and online registrations in those days! 

I must have been on the phone all day long. Then when both my children were at school, I started coming to Swindon two days a week to help Lorraine Ferris with all the race administration for the series and by the late nineties I was very involved in the race-day management and even acted as Race Director on the last few events.

Some things I remember:
It was great going to Ardres in France for a race, but the pasta party was not good for vegetarians - it was meat sauce for the pasta or no sauce! Dry pasta is not that appetising.
220. Yes, well, we were in France.

Going to Eilat was great fun and I remember Richard Hobson entertaining us all at the local bar with his magic tricks. I fell off a camel in the desert and had the biggest blackest bruise you have ever seen on my ample behind! But it was mainly my pride that was hurting. 
220. At the end of the season we wangled some free flights to Eilat as a thank-you for our Super Volunteers, Richard Hobson was racing and doing tricks, sometimes both at the same time.

Spencer Smith in the changing tents helping the athletes in T1 at the Ironbridge Ironman. 
220 And Coopie and Richard helped too, more than one cold and wet swimmer was flabbergasted to find Sarah Coope helping him off with his trunks.

Amazing fireworks at Ironbridge. 
220 We had to wait for last man George to finish before setting them off. Trevor Gunning borrowed a butcher's bike to go out and escort him in.

Handing some of the athletes (well, Mick and John Lunt) ice-creams on the run at Ironbridge. Oops - that's outside assistance!
220 I'll go back and revise the results.

The greatest timing system in the world - Tabs on the Table!
220 Yes it was brilliant, those were the (analogue) days.

The finish gantry almost collapsing at Bath.
220 No, don't remember.

BUPA and Gatorade at Bath.
220 Big help to get some top level sponsorship at last,it helped enormously.


I remember my introduction to 220  “We're starting a magazine why don't you write  a column?” It was a cold winter's evening early in 1989 (blimey was that really 25 years ago?) and dinner at the the Lillie household in Swindon. From memory there was also Sarah Springman, Duncan Robb, and Trevor and Debbie Gunning.

"You've always got something to say and we need a bit of controversy so why don't you write something for us? and it could be called Kentroversi", which I'm pretty sure was a line Sarah Springman came up with, and so it started. I had a small part in the 220 journey for 200 issues and sure enough Kentroversi was the early title given to the column.

Here is part of one:
Some time in 1994 under the British Triathlon Associations accepted a sponsorship package which involved sending a group of junior boys to a training camp in Saudi Arabia funded by British Aerospace. To me accepting funding from an arms company and going to a country where girls and women were not even allowed to ride bikes fell short of what triathlon was all about on a number of issues and I said so in the column.

The postbag to the magazine as a result of that article was way in excess of the occasional letter the column generated generally. The thirty responses were pretty well split equally down the middle with some writers incensed that I dared criticise any form of sponsorship and others agreeing with my stance.

Drug testing during the 1990 Hawaii Ironman  
American triathlete Rob Mackle is seen here giving  an in-competion urine sample.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for putting this together John. I now have evidence to show my daughter that I was once a centrefold in 220 Magazine!
    I have my own story from the Commonwealth Games. I was helping put together the Welsh team and contacted Viga, Wales' kit sponsor, for some suitable kit. They were happy to oblige if I could provide them with a letter from the Welsh Commonwealth Games committee saying we were both Welsh and something to do with the Games.
    On contacting the chairman of said committee (who was also president of the Welsh Weightlifting Federation) flatly refused. This act of mean spiritedness was quickly rewarded when I next saw him on TV having to explain why several Welsh weightlifters had been busted for drugs.


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