SIX MONTHS after the last season finished, the brand-new Healthy Life Activities Carmarthenshire Triathlon Series for 2019 saw senior Triathletes get their season up and running at the Amman Valley Sprint Triathlon over the weekend (Sunday 14th April). It took place around the grounds of Ammanford Leisure Centre and the streets of the Amman Valley. Sponsoring and supporting all the events this year are Cycle Specific and Victoria Prendiville.Dylan Morris from Cycle Specific commented that t is an absolute privilege to be a sponsor and more importantly to be a part of the Healthy Life Activities Team at Amman Valley Triathlon: “Where else can you be at an event to spectate beginners, intermediate and elite Triathletes giving it their all in the same event, from juniors 15 years through to 60+ years young.  Inspiring to witness so many people at different parts of their fitness journey exceeding their own expectations with a drive and determination that makes you want to be a part of it. No wonder that the sport of triathlon is continuing to grow. We wish to increase our support for Healthy Life Activities events and add to Noelwyn and Sharon’s already exceptional team”.

It was ideal for first time athletes and those looking to start their season with a short sprint triathlon ahead of the up-and-coming events. Having attracted up to 250 athletes over the years, now become a firm favourite with athletes and spectators alike, and this was evident in the number seen in 2019. Sold out in record time of seven weeks, over 300 athletes entered with more than 100 of them taking part in their first ever Triathlon event.

More than 50 volunteers all contributed towards the success of the day where they were situated all around the course. As well as several organisations who were helping back in HQ, local clubs Llanelli Gymnastics Club and Amman Valley Harriers as well as students and
parents of Maes Y Gwendraeth Comprehensive School Cefneithin were marshalling the swim, bike and run routes for the duration. Debutants to the sport of triathlon were looked after in transition well by the British Triathlon Chief Officials.

All finishers were rewarded with a 2019 finishers medal, which reflected the former mining
history of Ammanford and the legendary Twrch Trwyth connected with the story of Culhwch
and Olwen from the Mabinogion.

With the first wave getting underway as early as 7.00am and continuing until just
before 11am, the course facing the competitors first off was a 400m swim totalling 16
lengths inside the Amman Valley Swimming Pool. Next up after passing transition was the 16K bike ride up the main road East from Ammanford to Garnant and back the same way, followed by the 5K run which took runners along the cycle path in Pontamman on a picturesque trail.

All participants were welcomed home on the red carpet at the Leisure Centre in a grand
stand finish. The Amman Valley Triathlon was the first of five Carmarthenshire Triathlon Series events, where those wanting to be included need to complete three out of the five locations. The series positions will be determined by adding up overall finish positions in each event. Other events in the series will be at the Llanelli Sprint Triathlon (May 12th), Sospan Sizzler Middle Distance Triathlon (July 21st), RNLI Burry Port Standard Distance Triathlon and Carmarthen Sprint Triathlon (October 6th).

The overall Male winner was Llanelli, Wales and British Triathlete Liam Lloyd who has already secured the Welsh Duathlon Champion in 2019.
Looking strong throughout, the Cycle Specific athlete finished with a time of 45:50, four minutes faster than last year winning by a margin.
He said: “I always thoroughly enjoy racing at local events. It was fantastic to see and support so many taking part. It was a challenging course with tough conditions today! A big thank you to all the Healthy Life Activities and Cycle Specific Team for putting on a brilliant event! I’m looking forward to the Llanelli Sprint Triathlon in a few weeks’ time!”.

Meanwhile, in the female overall category, Jasmine Bowyer from Bynea CC made her race debut in the Amman Valley and it turned out to be a successful one. She clocked 61:46 to claim the first prize.

Also being presented by Cycle Specific representatives Leighton Davies and Dylan Morris at presentations for top three finishes in their respective categories were Sion Slymon (MS), Daniel Evans (MS), Rhys Thomas (MS) Nathanial Harries (MJ), Neo Seppman (MY), Jamie
Best (M40), Dean Johnston (M40), John Thomas (M40), Chris Morris (M50), Paul Arnol (M50), James Thomas Davies (M50), Phillip Murrow (M60), Stephen Skubala (M60), Paul Bennett (M60), Paige Horsnell (FS), Erin Maher (FS), Nia Davies (FS), Seren Everett (FJ), Eden Rae Davies (FY), Elizabeth John (F40), Caryl Williams-Ford (F40), Sarah Moody (F40), Jennifer Aylward (F50), Carolyn Williams (F50), Mandy Jack (F50) and the Ellis Banner Relay Team. Junior Male winner Harries added: "It was a great event as always put on by Healthy Life Activities where there was a great field of competition and support. There was a wide range of abilities that took part which is great for the community, to give people the opportunity to take part in an ever-growing triathlon event.

“I found the course challenging but managed to gain a good rhythm on the last 8km of the bike, leading into the run strong. I was very happy with my result and I hope to continue to achieve my goals throughout the season”.

A week Saturday (28th Apr) focus turns to the up-and-coming juniors as a sell-out is expected at the Carmarthen Junior Fun Triathlon, which takes place at the Carmarthen Leisure Centre facility in Johnstown (4pm). It is aimed at giving youngsters aged from 8-14 year olds the chance of taking part in a real Triathlon.  Entries are going fast and those interested in participating are advised to enter online before the weekend as all spaces are likely to be filled on race day.

Photos and report by Nathan Jones – Edited by Lucy Thomas

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