Outstanding result for Ali in prestigious Henley triathlon
FORMER top class cycle racer Ali Robinson, who has now turned his attentions to triathlon, achieved what he described as “a bigger result than anything he ever had on a bike” when he took second overall and first in age group in the prestigious Challenge Henley-on Thames a half-ironman event.
Having recently returned to action after injury, the 29-year-old, from Dockray, followed his sixth place in the previous week’s Helvellyn Triathlon with the outstanding result at Henley.
It is a fairly high profile triathlon, run by Challenge, who organise a series of triathlons ironman and half-ironman events and this was the only one in the UK.
It attracted a field of around 1,000 athletes, including Olympic rower and adventurer James Cracknell and Team GB pole vaulter Nick Buckfield.
Competitors tackled a 1.9km swim in the area of the Thames where the Henley Regatta is held, a 90km bike ride and 21km (half-marathon) run.
As expected, Ali was strongest on the bike leg, which he won by an incredible four minutes, but was most pleased with his swim. “It was a big improvement for me I was only two minutes down on the guy who actually won the swim. Since Helvellyn I have swum every day and am just more familiar with the water,” he said.
He also produced an exceptional run, posting the 10th fastest time. “Because I came off the bike in first place, which I didn’t expect, I decided I would race the guy who won it, who was a much faster runner than me. I gave it 10km of my best and was in the lead for half of it. I was much faster than I expected.”
Overall, Ali was “absolutely delighted” with his performance. “This result is bigger than any result I ever had on the bike,” he said. He has previously ridden for bike teams in this country and abroad, and spent two years racing in Belgium after being awarded a scholarship.
Ali now turns his attention to today’s Buttermere Triathlon an event he won last year. He will be up against Olympic and world champion Ed Clancy who will be doing the bike leg as part of a relay team.
At the end of the month he will compete in the Wasdale Triathlon, which organisers are pitching as “the world’s hardest half-ironman”. The event was cancelled last year due to bad weather. It comprises a 1.9km swim in Wastwater, a 90km cycle, including 2,200m of ascent, and a 21.2kn run with 1,395m of ascent.
He will then head to warmer climes for the Lanzarote half-ironman on 5th October.