Ladies come out in force for Peebles race

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The atmosphere at the Peebles Triathlon on Sunday seemed more buoyant than ever before, writes Fiona Russell.

Some were saying that it was the unexpected spell of sunshine that had brought a smile to the faces of so many of the 157 competitors.

And certainly the parting of the clouds had encouraged greater numbers of spectators to cheer on the athletes as they took part in the event that includes a swim, cycle and run.

However, the increase in novice and female participants also added to the fantastic ambience – some 60 women signed up, compared to just 43 last year.

The Peebles Triathlon is the third in a series of six such events organised by the Borders Sport and Leisure Trust (BSLT) and on Sunday morning 117 competitors lined up to take part in the longer sprint distance event, which includes a 750m pool swim, a 20km bike ride and a 5km run.

A further 40 competitors competed in the Come and Tri class, aimed at first-time triathletes and juniors, amounting to a 57 per cent rise on last year’s numbers.

On the day it was 15-year-old Greg Chambers who took full advantage of the calm and sunny conditions to win the sprint event.

It was the Newcastle youngster’s first attempt at the Peebles Triathlon and despite his age he saw off the rest of the field in a fantastic time of one hour, three minutes and 32 seconds.

He was almost a minute faster than second-placed Robert Hume, although the 55-year-old from Ratho was competing in the super veterans’ age group for over-50s.

First for the ladies was Jane Holmes, of Duns, who came home in a personal best time of 1.11.58.

Holmes, who was one of 12 people representing the Borders Triathlon Club, was the series winner in 2010 and second at this event last year.

Despite being in the veteran class – for competitors over the age of 40 – she beat all of the younger women in the field.

The farmer and mum-of-three said: “I was totally shocked to win, especially as I’m in the veterans’ class.

“But I had a good day and I finished the race faster than I did last year so I am very pleased with my performance.”

Holmes took 21st position overall in the sprint triathlon.

There was another strong finish from a super veteran competitor as Joyce Mark came home as second female overall.

And this year, despite a personal best time of 1.17.03, this correspondent managed only third place in the lady veterans’ category.

Meanwhile, in the Come and Tri event the winner was Ian Marshall in a time of 36 minutes and 30 seconds.

The Chambers family were again celebrating after Greg’s sister took the first female place in this event. Aged only 13, Philippa Chambers came second overall, while their dad Graham came 14th in the sprint.

The BSLT series continues at Hawick on July 4, Kelso on August 8 and Eyemouth on September 26. To find out more see www.bslt.org.uk