World Triathlon Championships in Hamburg

Aug 1, 2023 | Agriculture, TC blog, TC news

Qualified accountant Jayne Emery, our Team GB Triathlete, is just back from the World Triathlon Championships in Hamburg in Northern Germany. Find out how she got on in her first team challenge.

What – World Triathlon Sprint & Relay Championships

Where Hamburg, Germany

When – 13 to 16 July, 2023

Position24/54 and personal best time in the individual race and 6/23 in the mixed team relay

Best bit – I found out part way through the year that I had been selected for a mixed relay team at the World Triathlon Championships in Hamburg and I think the excitement for the competition started growing from then, safe to say it didn’t disappoint!

Friday – The Individual Race

The individual sprint race took place on the Friday, we arrived on the Tuesday to 29-degree heat and there was a lot of chatter about a wetsuit illegal race (when the water temperature exceeds 22 degrees it is deemed too warm to wear wetsuits). It might not seem a huge deal, but wetsuits cover a multitude of swim technique sins and are a welcome comfort to many of us (including myself). It was to be declared an hour before the race start and there was an anxious atmosphere as we waited to hear our fate! At 11.59am a text came through, 21.9 degrees – wetsuit legal…. phew!

The race took place in the centre of Hamburg, after a rather balmy swim the bike course took you on a tour of the city centre streets before a run around the lake took you to a fantastic finish line back in the city centre.

The bike wasn’t technical, which meant it was very fast and big groups formed. I found myself in the middle of the pack heading towards a sweeping left-hand turn, the bike computer in front of me read 36km/h and I thought yikes, we’re coming in a bit hot! There’s not much you can do at that point – brake and you risk causing others to crash behind you, wobble and you risk catching wheels with those beside you, so you just have to fake it until you make it around the corner! I was always taught to look for the point in the road where I want to exit and have confidence that I’ll get there. I can tell you, what started as confidence quickly turned to hope and then prayer!

Jayne Emery world triathlon hamburg

I came out unscathed but there was an awful sound behind me of flesh hitting road accompanied by the sound of metal clanging and I knew those behind me hadn’t been quite so lucky.

A safe dismount from the bike and I was out on the run leg, thankfully the 5km passed relatively quickly and I came across the line with a personal best! Time for a beer? Oh no, the relay was up next!

Sunday – Mixed Team Relay

The mixed team relay runs in a 2×2 format. Two boys and two girls each do a 300m swim, 5km bike and 1.5km run one after the other and the concept is simple, the fastest team wins. I think I underestimated how competitive everything was. There was lots of team chats about tactics, cornering ability and how much to ‘hurt yourself’ on the run.

I was put on the last leg to bring the team home and whilst I was pleased not to be involved in one of the roughest swim starts I’ve ever seen, I had a ramp and diving start off a pontoon to deal with, not to mention the hour wait to take my turn.

Jayne Emery world triathlon hamburg

There was a big screen in the holding pen where you awaited your team’s number to show, this meant they were approximately a minute away and you had to get yourself to the front of the pen where an official would guide you to the change over area. All very simple, unless you’re barely 5ft 4 and realise that you’re probably not average height after all.

Each of my team came across the line and we were doing great, going between fourth and sixth out of the 23 teams. Great on one hand but I could feel the pressure building. Soon enough my team appeared on the board in 6th place and I was thrust into the changeover zone….. here we go!

Off down the ramp I went, knowing full well the next team was only 30 seconds behind me with a very strong swimmer on their last leg. I knew the pontoon was higher than normal, but I didn’t know the ramp would turn your heels into springs and I reached the end of the pontoon with far too much speed. Suffice to say I got from the pontoon to the water, but it wouldn’t be winning any style prizes! The atmosphere was intense, and the crowds were so loud, every time you took a breath you heard the crowd before returning to the sound of the water. Add to that two trips through the pitch black bridge and it was quite the sensory overload!

I knew the team behind me would make up the 30 seconds in the water and sure enough she joined me on the cycle within the first kilometre. We see sawed for a bit through the streets of Hamburg and we knew it was coming down to the run. I came out of transition first and just put my foot down and didn’t look back. I was determined not to lose the place for the team and every part of my body was screaming. The longest 1.5k run followed and I made it across the line without being overtaken. Hallelujah!

Jayne Emery world triathlon hamburg

It was an experience I’ll never forget, racing for your country is one thing – racing with your compatriots is another feeling altogether and I can’t thank Thomson Cooper and everyone else who supports me enough for allowing me to stand on the world stage (even if it is too high a pontoon)!

Worst bit – The airline lost my bike on the way home!

What I learned –  Being part of the team relay was incredible. I learned so much about race tactics and my own competitiveness rose to a whole new level.


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