Hampton Ladies Triathlon – Covid Version

It was a bit of a gamble moving the Hampton Ladies Triathlon from June to August which led to an almost compulsive  daily viewing of any new Covid cases in NB over the course of the summer. By the start of August it started to become clear that the race would go ahead in what I would call a no frills manner but the main stresser became the weather with between 35-40mm forecast for Saturday night into race morning.

 

As Helena will confirm my stress levels were in the red zone and in truth on Friday I came very close to canceling but the 4.00pm forecast gave a glimmer of hope with rain scheduled to stop by 7.00am on race morning. Oddly enough for me when I can walk away from my computer and actually start to work on the race (collecting the van, the chocolate milk, building  transition) my stress levels start to drop.

 

As an example of how weather can wreak havoc, racing was just underway and male pro triathletes were only two kilometres into the bike section at this weekend’s Challenge Davos in Switzerland when pouring rain developed into a heavy thunderstorm. At this point the event organizing team concluded that athletes’ safety could no longer be guaranteed – and cancelled the race.

 

Organizing a race in a pandemic is a tricky business with so many unknowns, we weren’t sure if people would volunteer, would athletes want to race, would our luck hold out with covid, did I mention the weather?

 

In a normal race year the race is humming a 7.45am on race morning, with usually 250 people attending our race briefing and prepping to race.  This year the area was deserted, which was what we wanted but it was still very odd. And then people began to arrive, bikes were racked and soon it was 9.00am and time to race.

A damp start to the day did not dampen the spirit of the athletes.

In the end I have to say a huge thank you to the Town of Hampton for allowing us to run the race. With over 110 athletes racing and a whole crew of volunteers it would have been an easy decision for them to shut us down this year (and I would not have faulted them for doing so) but they kept their faith in the race and as usual made our life very easy. Just to emphasize this as I write this on Monday 31 Aug, the Wallis Sands Triathlon just cancelled their race on 20 Sept as the Town of Rye felt they could not manage spectators or the general public in addition to the event this year.

 

TriNB also gave us early approval to run the race with a few hoops to jump through. With races canceling all over Canada and the US it was probably a tough choice to let us proceed so again thank you to the board of TriNB for sanctioning and approving our Operational Plan.

 

In the end despite the torrential rain we had 35 wonderful volunteers help out on race weekend, almost 1 volunteer per 3 athletes. It never ceases to amaze me how willing people are to come out in all weather conditions to help out for more than a few hours.

 

Of course the athletes make the race and they didn’t disappoint with big smiles all round, a positive can do attitude and a desire to come out and race. It never ceases to amaze me.

3 great athletes – 2 racing and 1 volunteering.

 

As the band Cinderella said,  you “Don’t know what you got till it’s gone” and this was true for us. I really missed the energy around the 7.30am race briefing, giving out the Ellen Watters Inspirational Award, our band – Scott Medford and the Instigators, our little Expo area, the energy around the finish line and of course all the friends and family who come out to cheer and support you. But, we will be back, hopefully next year with the full meal deal race and if you raced with us this year for the first time come out and race again with us in 2021 and see if you can spot the differences.

 

Thank you to each and every person who contributed to make this race happen, it means so much to Helena and I and we couldn’t do it without you. Thanks to all the volunteers, TriNB, Town of Hampton, Atlantic Chip, Bikes & Beans and our sponsors, but above all else thank you to you if you raced with us yesterday.

Our thanks to the TriNB officials for their help in setting and executing the race.

 

My personal highlight of the day was being told to F off by Sandy, I feel that I now belong in an exclusive club – acceptance almost – fun times – thank you everyone.

Garth Millar

Fundy Sports & Tourism

Huh!