|By: News Release|
At 19:11 on Friday the 13th July 2012 ninety nine of the worlds most intrepid triathletes including individuals from Brazil, Ecuador, Columbia, Norway, Italy, Germany, Belgium, South Africa, Australia and the UK smashed through heavy shore-dump before swimming the two mile length of Eastbourne Seafront on the South coast of England, but this was just the start of an incredible new extreme triathlon event called the XTRI24.
Having completed the arduous open water sea swim, participants were then required to cycle through the night to complete the entire one hundred mile length of the South Downs Way National Trail by mountain bike. Strict cut-off’s at checkpoints all the way along the course meant that anyone unable to maintain a swift pace was pulled off the course.
Those that successfully completed the gruelling ride from Eastbourne to Winchester then ditched their mud splattered mountain bikes, donned their running shoes and set off on foot to Salisbury along the Clarendon Way, another famously picturesque and ancient cross-country trail that links Winchester to Salisbury. The race finished at the spectacular vantage point of Old Sarum Castle.
Participants were required to complete this epic non-stop off-road multi-sport journey in twenty four hours or less. In the end only sixty one gritty individuals managed to complete the course, and only forty five made it within the 24 hour time limit, a fact that makes local Fire-fighter Dave Woodgate’s winning time of 16 hours and 44 minutes even more incredible. First place female Manuela Vilaseca from Brazil was no less impressive with a finishing time of 18 hours and 47 minutes taking fourth place overall.
As if the scale of this challenge wasn’t enough, weather conditions on the day made things even tougher. Event director Andrew Barker said “I guess we booked the weather when we decided to start the race on Friday the thirteenth, but to say the conditions were extreme is an understatement. An already exceedingly tough challenge very nearly became Mission Impossible.” Trails turned to streams and streams turned to rivers as the athletes battled heavy rain, strong head winds, savage terrain, pitch darkness, unseasonably low temperatures, and masses of mud, to completed this savage course.
After staggering across the line just minutes inside the twenty four hour cut off, Mark Norton a highly experienced endurance athlete from Cornwall said “I have never felt so close to quitting. It's the hardest event I've ever done, far harder than Norseman, and in my opinion, tougher than UTSW 100 mile footrace which I ran 3 weeks ago.”
Registration for the 2013 edition of XTRI24 opens in August at www.endurancelife.com