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Sea, Sand and Suffer 19/09/2011

Yesterday's inaugural Anglesey Sandman triathlon at Newborough, proved a great success, with even the weather gods smiling on the event. The heavy downpours of the morning came to a halt just before the triathletes walked along the beach to the start of the swim for the sprint and full-distance triathlons.


Individuals or teams took part in either the Full Sandman (1 km swim, 60 km cycle and 10 km trail run) or the Sandman Sprint (400 m swim, 18 km cycle and 5 km trail run). The swim was parallel to Llandwyn Beach with a transition to bikes in the car park before heading out towards Llanfairpwll. The running at the end was on forest trails, with a memorable section up and over the sand dunes a couple of kilometres from the finish, to reach the beach.

Paul Skipper, from Manchester Tri club, won the men's open in a time of 2 hrs 36 mins 15 secs. At the finishing line he said: "On the swim I just tried to keep the leaders in sight. Then going on the bike ride I gave it everything knowing I'd either 'blow up' after two kilometres or the adrenaline would take over. Luckily that's what happened."

He added: "For the bike ride there was a big headwind on the way out so I turned the speedo off. It was demoralising looking at it but on the way back it was like lightning. The last 30 kms were joyous. A great course."

Winner of the women's open event, Jen Dickson from Llandudno, in 3 hrs 4 mins 8 secs, said at the prize-giving: "I'm over the moon. The swim was amazing. My legs were burning after the 60 km bike ride and running along the beach at the end was hard. It was challenging but I think the challenging triathlons are always the best ones. This is the first one my Mum and Dad have missed watching me so I'll be coming back to do it again next year."

Tim Lloyd, a Director of Always Aim High Events, who organised The Sandman, said: "I'm really pleased with how the day has gone. This was our second event in the series after the Llanberis Slateman back in May. We're all about putting on amazing races in amazing places. Surf-Lines once again did a great job providing the water safety cover for the swim."

In the morning there was series of junior duathlons (run/bike/run) for the 8 - 16 yr olds. Always Aim High Events is a social enterprise and Tim explained: "Trying to do what we can for the local communities, where the events take place, is an important part of what we are about."

Always Aim High's Nigel Kendrick, said: "The standard of competition has been very high, but perhaps most important for us is the fact the whole of the community on Anglesey got behind the event, and without the superb work of the Council and Forest Commission Wales here on Anglesey we simply could not have put the event on."

Next year as well as the second Slateman and Sandman, there are plans for some new events, such as The Snowman winter triathlon and a major road cycling event - the Etape Eryri - details can be found here. They'll also be reintroducing the Anglesey Marathon Môn in the spring.

Photos: Action from the Anglesey Sandman. © Ray Wood

Topic: Anglesey Sandman, Triathlons in Wales, Events in North Wales.

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