A clear, bright morning greeted competitors for the 2007 Accelerace Extreme Triathlon as they arrived on Teignmouth seafront. Of the 40-odd signed up, 28 brave souls arrived on the morning to take part – and spirits were largely high, buoyed predominantly by the lovely weather, and the pancake-flat sea. People seemed to be trying for the most part not to think about the distance and amount of hill-climbing to come during the day.




The swim was quick and conditions were perfect, with warm water and little swell, and Nick Holmes led the field into T1, with Charlie McNeill, hot on his heels. Scott Thompson made T1 in third place, but it was Laurence Pidcock who showed his intentions early by taking a paltry 34 seconds in T1, and, despite finishing the swim in 6th, a minute after the leaders, headed out onto the bike course in first place, a position he held onto till T2.

1. Nick Holmes 17:40

2. Charlie McNeill 17:55

3. Scott Thompson 18:10




The bike course was at its imposing best on race day, with Dartmoor looking glorious bathed in sunshine. The competitors tackled 6,830ft of climbing, and a further 6,610ft of descent over the 54 mile course, with a new course record set by Jason Darke of 3hrs and 3 minutes, enough to take him from 14th out of the water to 2nd overall into T2. Pidcock hung on in front, with a similarly storming bike time of 3:04, and hit the run with a 5 minute lead over Darke and a 7 minute lead over Matt Cartailler in 3rd, who, with a great bike time of 3:07, was unlucky to suffer from mechanical issues and not improve his position still further.


1. Laurence Pidcock 3:04 (3:24)

2. Jason Darke 3:03 (3.29)

3. Matt Cartailler 3:07 (3:31)

4. Nick Holmes 3:10





With only 7 minutes separating the top 3 out of T2, and less than 10 minutes separating the top 4, the runners had a competitive challenge on their hands quite apart from the 14 miles of brutal on and off-road running to contend with. In the end, Pidcock held on magnificently from Cartailler, to win by less than a minute, Cartailler having clawed back over 6 minutes over the run, to put in a brilliant time of 2:04. Jason Darke was extremely unfortunate in getting lost on a variety of occasions, and despite honourably withdrawing himself from the race on these grounds, still returned via a slightly alternative route in a time of 2:12. Pidcock won in 5:34:13, with Cartailler 2nd in 5:35:02, and Nick Holmes 3rd in 5:53:19.


1. Laurence Pidcock 2:10 (5:34:10)

2. Matt Cartailler 2:04 (5:35:00)

3. Nick Holmes 2:22 (5:53)



In the women’s competition, Helen Whitley won before the starting whistle, since she was the only female competitor to arrive on the morning. Especially admirable, since she’d only signed up at 6pm the previous evening! Helen put in a storming performance, to complete the race in 8:43:07, after falling foul of some thoughtful sign-movers in Hembury Woods on the run course, which left her lost in the woods fro over an hour – and adding over 4 miles to her run distance. Given this, and the fact that when two of the event organisers eventually found her she was still able to outrun them to the finish, Helen probably deserves the biggest congratulations of all the days competitors.

Helen Whitley

Swim 26:00

Bike 4:00

Run: 4:11 (18.5 mile run)

Overall 8:43



The remainder of the field was incredibly competitive, with tough battles fought across the course, and some brilliant individual performances. Finish line quotes of “Well, it lived up to its name”, and “Tougher than any IronMan I’ve done” were memorable, and the collective sense of achievement was palpable. Hopefully this won’t wear off!


Special mention must go to David Hardy, who, having blown his front tyre before leaving Teignmouth and borrowed a spare wheel from one of the organisers, then was unfortunate to have the rear wheel blow on one of the steep downhill sections near Moretonhampstead. After slinging his bike behind a hedge, he got a lift with a marshal to where his wife was waiting in the car, and returned to the bike to pick it up. There, he found a local man who happened to live round the corner, and who, upon asking what had happened, suggested lending Hardy a bike to finish the event on. David finished in a total of 8:05:23, having done the bike in 4:33:31, and was accompanied across the finish line by his dog, who similarly became Accelerace’s first canine event finisher.


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