23/05/2021 | Event link

Marlow Sprint 2018
Run Cycle Run
5k 85.6k 20k
Past results: This will be my first attempt at the Marlow Classic Middle distance. And my third one for a middle distance, aka 70.3. In August 2017 I’ve clocked 5 hours 35 minutes and 9 seconds at The Gauntlet in Chantilly. A stunning event from Castle Triathlon Series. In June 2019, I completed my first IronMan 70.3 in Les Sables d’Olonne, France, in 5 hours 11 minutes, and 53 seconds. With my fastest swim ever, just over 30 minutes. Now, back to Marlow. In June 2018, I took part in the Sprint distance finishing 4th in my age category, 8th male, and 9th overall.


  1. have fun 
  2. don’t overcook the first run
  3. steady on Pishill


Age category: 5th/24
Gender 17th/55
Overall 17th/66

Race Report


We’re so sorry to have to report that heavy rainfall during this week has caused the Environment Agency to place sections of the River Thames under amber and red alerts.

Further rainfall is forecast for the next 72 hours and this means that swim conditions are certain to be unsafe on Sunday. Both river current and water quality will be too dangerous to permit swimming and boat support, so we are sadly forced to revise the event formats we can offer.

This is especially difficult and disappointing for us all when events are just beginning to return, but as you’ll understand, if it’s not safe it can’t be permitted. Our colleagues at British Triathlon, the Environment Agency and Medical and Water Safety have made their assessments, and all support this change of event plan.

Please read the following information carefully to consider your options – you will automatically be transferred to an equivalent duathlon format unless you select a different option and respond prior to the event.

Coach briefing

For tomorrow I wouldn’t personally do much of a warm-up if as you mentioned is a duathlon.

For me, the key relies on a few points:

    • A light jog before the start with some squat jumps and some dynamic stretching to only warm up the muscles before the 5k.
    • 5k with the mentality of a “warm-up” in which you don’t let yourself go with the adrenaline and with people starting as if the race was just a 5k (classic mistake when swims get cancelled) as this will be paid on the bike.
    • On the bike, the initial climb out of Marlow controlled without getting off the saddle or raising the power too much. Once at the top you can get into a good rhythm to Henley and the junction where you face Pishill.
    • Pishill climb is not hard apart from the last 200m ish where it kicks up but is a long draining incline so watch out with pushing too hard as the cost of this isn’t worth it and most of the times the time is gained on the way down.
    • Usually, slightly headwind from the junction to Pishill so also keep this in mind.

In terms of wattage, we should aim at a bike of 0.80-0.82 IF which translates into about 230-235 Normalized Power. The reason for this relies on the coasting and easy pedalling you can do on the descends so NP will be more important than average (likely lower if zeros are counted).
Up Pishill the wattage should be held about 300-310w above FTP but without going into the red consuming too much FRC.

For the second run, being 4 laps, I personally always recommend the initial stretch by the river (1.5-2k ish) at a pretty comfortable pace. From there when it turns right is a constant drag up which can take a bit out of you as the laps go through.
Also, in terms of wattage, keep an eye on your HR and RPE too because being the first one and after the run, this could be affected so always better to reduce the target 10-15w than overdo
Pacing wise for the run, I personally would aim at 4:35-4:40 for the second run with the initial part as mentioned more controlled (even 5’/km as it would be done in ironman) and then aiming at a negative split finishing hard with even a little bit left in the tank for the second half of the second lap

The race

Following Covid-19 guidance and restrictions, F3 events decided to go for a rolling start which was well organised. We all went within 10 seconds of each other starting at 6:30 am. There was no specific order, just first come first start. I’ve tried to follow my coach’s advice and not overdo it on the first run. I’ve checked my pace on the watch, which, I’ve noticed, doesn’t seem to be very accurate. Anyway, I was bang on the 4:30mn/km pace clocking 22 minutes on the first run and nailed the first transition in 44 seconds.

My old TT bike is for sale and doesn’t have pedals. I haven’t had time to ride my new TT bike. So it was a road bike event for me today. And not many people chose that option 🙂 Anyway, I did listen to the coach and didn’t push watts in the first climb out of Marlow, staying on the saddle. Having said that, despite having my Garmin Edge on, wattage wasn’t displayed. So it was all about feeling. I set at a nice pace and reached the part of the course with the 3 loops fairly quickly. I didn’t push hard on Pishill, went up nice and steady. I did have to stop 3 times though, wee breaks, I need to understand what’s going on there, it doesn’t seem to be normal. Back in Marlow, I’ve nailed the second transition in just 46 seconds.

The start of the second run was painful. My feet were frozen. The left one was rock solid and it took a good 5k to defrost. I’ve tried to keep a 4:30mn/km pace, keeping some reserve for the end and do a negative split. Which works for the last 2km with 4:21mn/km and 4:06mn/km. But again, a wee break added some unwanted time on top of my results.


In terms of fuelling, I was eating half of one plant-based energy balls every 30 minutes after 45 minutes on the bike, and taking a sip of Rawvelo electrolytes every 10 minutes. I did decide to walk for 50m at the aid station (km 5/10/15) to absorb a Rawvelo gel (blood orange), which works better for me rather than struggling to take one whilst running.

Time Chip

Run T1 Cycle T2 Run Finish
00:22:00 00:00:44 02:41:57 00:00:46 01:29:13 04:34:43

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