Ahead of the 51Fiver, I thought it would be good to do a Sprint to practice transitions and the feeling of doing all three sports together. This Birmingham tri fitted the brief in date, location and distance – great!

A friend who is also doing the 51Fiver with many of us, also signed up to the race. So we put the bike rack on my little polo (eek) and made our way to Wombourne Leisure Centre. Thankfully we were both starting late in the order as it was over an hour away and the race started at 8.

I had a few goals in mind in relation to the training I have done recently in the swim and bike sections. These being 8 mins for the swim and 30km/hr for the ride.

Arriving at the race and there were lots of friendly marshals to help direct. It had very similar vibes to our own upcoming race. Bike racked up and changed ready for the swim, I’m poolside doing a few stretches and thinking it’s still not too late for a mystery injury!

In I go and thankfully had only one other in my lane, near matching my pace at different ends, so I had clear water. I wanted to push myself but in a sustainable way with a good stroke, bearing in mind the bike and run after. I hopped out and stopped my watch at exactly 8 minutes – result! A brisk walk around the pool turned into a run going on up to transition. Quite a gritty and painful surface for 70m (mental note for our own tri to sweep up!)

Out on the bike and hmm… a little bumpier than expected making it trickier to get into a good rhythm. I also wrongly thought the distance was 30km (I don’t know why!), so was pleasantly surprised when I saw the turning point at 10km. Back I go and got stuck at some lights which was annoying but never mind. I felt strong in the swim but the bike was more of a slog, I was wondering how I would feel getting off the bike.

Back into transition and all the bike gear off, road shoes on. The majority of the run was up and down an old railway line that was surprisingly dry. I had packed trails in case. Out I go and the legs felt okay. What I hadn’t realised was that the railway line was 2km slight incline, back to a 2km decline, with a small lap of a field to finish. After the first few minutes on the out I felt I had started a little too strong. I started getting heart burn and could taste the gel I had taken at the start of the ride – oh oh!

Thankfully a temporary easing of pace made this mostly go away. It was a live footpath with dog walkers, cyclists and even horse riders at various parts which made it a little tricky at points, but it was very wide and so felt safe.

Coming back down and it was nice knowing the end was soon. The last 500m was around a football pitch that had a live match on(!). I didn’t stop to offer advice as I had just one goal in mind, the finish line!
Over the line I go and boy was I pleased it was done. The classic spaced out feeling hit, when the offer of water in one hand with someone else removing the chip from my ankle.

My friend had started 15 minutes after me and we passed on both the bike and run. But would I finish 15 minutes ahead of him…

Of course not! He’s far fitter than me and I think shaved 7 minutes off between us. So just enough time for me to recover and cheer him across the line.

All in all, a great local(ish) race with good weather. The rest of the day was spent flopped on the sofa watching the F1 and FA cup match between Coventry and Man United (wow!)


  • I averaged 28.7km/hour, so off the pace I wanted but I hadn’t accounted for the hills, so happy overall
  • Make sure you thank all the marshals at the end. As many of us know it takes a lot to put on a race and they all really appreciated it when I went over afterwards.
  • A home cooked pork roast dinner tastes even better after a sprint triathlon!