Triathlons 2012 – My Year in Review

Seeing as I wrote a year in review for 2011 I thought I’d better do it for 2012 as well.

2012 was really my first full year training for and competing in triathlons, and what a year it was. I now had a coach, all the gear and was a man with a plan – a training plan that is. I had been training all winter, things had been going well and I was ready for 2012. I didn’t really have any aims or goals though. The idea was still to enjoy it and get fitter in the process. At least, that was the goal to start with.


My first race of the year was once again Pwllheli Sprint Triathlon. I did this race in 2011 as well and its a good early season race to blow away the cobwebs. In 2011 my time was 1:13:34 which was good enough for 7th overall. In 2012 the course was a little different but conditions were similar and I finished in a time of  1:04:54 which was good enough for 3rd overall – not a bad start to the year and a good improvement upon the year before.

Qualifiers and a new goal.

I then signed up to some other races, first on the list was Bristol Harbourside Triathlon. This just so happened to be a qualifier for the World Championships and if you wanted to qualify you had to pay £10 to the BTF. I had no real desire to qualify and certainly no delusions of doing so but did think that I’d be pretty annoyed if I did a time that was good enough to qualify but hadn’t paid my £10 to signal my intent to do so. I therefore duly paid the £10 and then started panicking!

What would a qualifying race be like? Would I be up for it? Would I be good enough? Would I enjoy it? So many questions and doubts that the only sensible thing to do would be to sign up for another qualifying race before Bristol as a practise! That’s what I did when I signed up for the Big Cow Sprint race and now all of a sudden I was not only a man with a plan but also a man with a goal.

Maybe, just maybe I could qualify?

Before long Anna and I were checking out the other competitors, looking at their results, wondering about how fast I could be and the stakes were raised. No longer were these races just races for fun, they were qualifying races for the World Championships and I was trying to qualify. At times it felt as though the world revolved around these races and they were the most important thing there was. The bar had certainly been raised, and it was raised even more once other people started hearing of my intentions.

Big Cow.

Finally at the end of May the first of these big races came around. My training had been really good. It had been consistent all winter and spring and although I didn’t really peak for The Big Cow Sprint Triathlon because it was a ‘practise’ for Bristol I was feeling good. The race itself was probably my best of the year. I flew around in a time of 1:03:27, my fastest sprint distance race so far and managed to get the top qualifying spot (Q1) for the World Championships.

Things couldn’t have been better. I’d already done what I wanted (even if I didn’t set out to do it at the beginning of the year), we were going to New Zealand in October and I would be competing in the World Champs.

It was time for a change of emphasis. I was still signed up to do Bristol but all of a sudden that was no longer a priority race. Now all training was aiming towards peaking for the World Champs in October. Bristol became just a training race and I was scaling back for a bit.

Bristol Harbourside Triathlon

Although this was no longer a priority and I didn’t peak for it I still went into the Bristol Harbourside Triathlon feeling strong. The race itself was OK but not quite as fast as I thought I could be. My time was 1:06:59 which was enough for 1st in my age-group and 4th overall. And of course had I still been wanting to use it as a qualifying race it would have been another Q1.

So, yet another good race performance and maybe I did deserve that qualifying spot after all.

Bike Races and another Qualifier.

Next on the list of events were some bike races, the CRC MTB Marathon in Abergavenny followed the next day by the Vitus Sportive and the Isle of Man E2E mountain bike race in September. These were all purely training days for me but they went well, I enjoyed them and I’m sure they were good for me. They weren’t triathlons though and by September I was back into Triathlon mode.

This time it was another qualifier at Rother Valley Triathlon. I’d quite impressed myself by qualifying for the World Champs so thought I’d have a go at qualifying for the European Champs as well.

Rother Valley Triathlon

Rother Valley was the last race of the season in which you could qualify so I turned up having not run for several weeks due to shin splints. Preparation for this race hadn’t been great therefore and the World Champs were looming so I wanted to get fit in time for them. Because of this it was a strange race for me, I was sort of fit but not at full race fitness and although it was a race and I would therefore go hard I didn’t want to go too hard as I had a bigger, more important race on the horizon and I was nursing and injury.

I swam, biked and ran well though and I was first in my age group with an official time of 1:13:42. I was happy with that, another 1st place, another Q1 for the European Championships, and that meant a trip to Turkey in 2013.

From here on it was all guns blazing until New Zealand and the World Champs – At least it would have been if I could run, but as soon as I tried to my shins hurt so it was back to the aqua-jogging and back to hoping for the best once it came to the run in New Zealand.

The World Champs

I don’t know what to say about them really, the build up was massive, the event was huge, the competition was as good as it gets, expectations were high, nerves were jangling and I was now pretty tired after a long season.

The race went well though with me coming 11th in a time of 1:09:19. Better still, that was 2nd Brit so I should have secured an automatic pre-qualification spot to compete for Team GB in next years World Champs in London.

What a Year

So, what a year that was, from a wannabe triathlete just getting into it to a World Championship athlete – I still can’t quite believe it myself. It’s been tough at times and hard work not only for me but also Anna and Morgan but it’s been great fun. I’ve picked up a few sponsors and supporters along the way but I’m still seeking sponsorship from a triathlon related company so if you can help please get in touch. The sense of achievement this year has been huge, I’m fitter and healthier than I was this time last year and I’m already looking forward to next year.

I doubt if I can top 2012 but as long as I’m having fun trying to do so then I shall keep on ‘tri-ing’.


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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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