This weekend’s Toshiba Windsor Triathlon has been forced to change its format to a duathlon for the first time in 22 years. Event organisers, Human Race, have been closely monitoring the high river levels and the speed of the current in the River Thames, as well as taking regular advice and guidance from the Environment Agency over the last few days.
The recent exceptional rainfall and unseasonal weather has meant that the river flow is still increasing and further significant rainfall in the River Thames catchment area is expected over the coming days. Although the weather forecast does look good for Sunday, this nice weather will come too late to affect the flow of the Thames this weekend. The Environment Agency is advising users of all boats (both powered and unpowered) not to navigate the river because the strong flows are making it difficult and dangerous. There is also a considerable amount of debris coming down the river.
With the safety of competitors uppermost in their thoughts, Human Race have made the difficult decision to switch to their contingency plan and have therefore cancelled the swim element of the triathlon and replaced it with a 1000m first run. This will be the first time in twenty-two years that they have had to do this.
Nick Rusling, CEO of Human Race said “We have not made this decision lightly, but the safety of our competitors is paramount. We value all our triathletes and appreciate that some of them will be disappointed, so as a gesture of goodwill, all Windsor competitors will be offered a free place into our Speedo Windsor Swim in the Thames on Sunday, July 8.” The entry procedure and details of this free entry will be emailed to competitors next week.
In the meantime, the race on Sunday will go ahead as a duathlon with the following distances:
Sprint: 1000m run; 30km bike; 5km run
Olympic (full): 1000m run; 42km bike; 10km run
The first run will be the same for both Sprint and Olympic events. The start times remain the same as published for all categories, but Human Race will send athletes off in small batches of five every 5 seconds. A map of the new first run will be available at registration and on the website.