Rubicon Middle Distance 2024 - Race Reports
The Rubicon Triathlon took place on 1 Sept at Newby Hall in North Yorkshire. This event is rapidly growing in popularity. Now in its second year the number of entries more than doubled from 2012, a testament to the dedication of the Functional Fitness Team who strive to deliver a race focusing on the athlete and their family and friends.
Newby Hall is an iconic venue near Ripon. The private hall and gardens provides the perfect setting for this middle distance event. With race favorite Jo Skipper dropping out at the last minute – the men’s race was looking likely to feature Rich Howarth (Tri England National Champion 40-44) and perhaps his brother Eddie, with Brian Fogarty, Craig Stevenson and Thomas Hughes all in great form as well. The 2012 Rubicon female winner Louise Venables was on the start line once more and hoping to defend her title.
The wind died down slightly for Sunday morning, and as the dawn broke on an already busy transition the athletes were buzzing with anticipation. A short walk to the swim start at this race means that the river swim is almost all downstream. This is ideal for those who are tackling their first middle distance race, but also leads to some quick times from the lead athletes.
Rich Howarth was predictably out of the swim first and looked in great shape as he ran through the gardens of Newby Hall to T1. He had a lead of just over a minute on the second pack of men containing Stevenson and Eddie Howarth. The wind picked up as the men headed out on the bike where Stevenson made his move, coming into T2 just ahead of both of the Howarth brothers. It was during the run that Rich Howarth showed his strength, charging into the lead with the first 5km, and holding off the field throughout. Hughes stormed through the field on the run, with the fastest run time of the day (1:17:38) coming through to take second place behind Haworth. Brian Fogarty (14th overall at IM Bolton & Kona Qualifier) had the fastest bike split of the day, this coupled with a solid run moved him into third place.
In the girls race Amy Handford led out of the swim with just over a minutes lead on Helen Stout, who was a further half minute ahead of Venables. However, Venables was strong on the bike, and arrived in T2 with a lead of just over 1 min from Handford and a further 4 mins from Stout. Handford came to within 30 seconds of the win on the run, but Venebles put in a gutsy performance to hold on to the win and defend her title. Stout rounded off the podium.
This event is the Yorkshire Club Middle Distance Championships, so there were a number of Yorkshire Clubs in force with the largest contingent coming from Wakefiled Triathlon Club, also with large numbers was Leeds & Bradford, Harrogate Triathlon club, Craven energy and York triathlon club. There was also massive support from Preston Triathlon Club.
Richards Howarth’s York based team Rock Racing achieving 3 places out of the top 5 securing victory. Harrogate Triathlon club put in a strong performance to take the relay team victory.
There were many athletes completing their first middle distance race at this event and the fantastic atmosphere, easy course and great venue lend themselves well to this. With plenty for the family to do while the race is unfolding, and free camping right next to the course, this event is bound to grow in the years to come.