Sun City Triathlon

Sun City Triathlon is a sprint triathlon with a sea swim that takes place in Sunderland. I signed up to get some additional sea swimming in ahead of Copenhagen.

It was a 7:30am mass start so we drove up the night before and stayed over. Registration was in the Grand Sunderland Hotel but could have done with some signage as it took me a while to find the main entrance. Thankfully, I eventually did, registered and headed to transition to setup and eat some breakfast.

The race brief was short. Long race briefings are annoying, so that was nice. But in this case, I could have done with a few more details as the no-overtaking zone wasn’t fully explained or signed. Also, the run course was not clear because the map they had sent out was for their duathlon and the instructions also referred to the duathlon. So, even having read the athlete information several times, I was still unclear. But in their defence, they did also publish a video of the course that I did not watch.

The swim

It was a cloudy but warm day on the beach and we had the chance to acclimatise in the water for a few minutes. It was super-cold. The race information suggested it would be 15 degrees. The RNLI were saying 12. I am not sure who was right, but my face was super cold but when I put it in. I did some sprinting up and down the beach to try and warm up.

Once the air horn went, the temperature was less of an issue as it was game on. I positioned myself at the back and just like Castle Howard this was a mistake. I kept getting boxed in between people switching between crawl and breaststroke. I still think of myself was a weaker swimmer so I need to change that mindset as I’m consistently stronger and faster than the back row now.

Apparently it was just moving into jellyfish season so every time I felt something or saw something in the water I was paranoid I was about to be stung. Perhaps I should have spent less time thinking about the athlete who said she went into anaphylactic shock after being stung, and more time thinking about how Daniela Ryf was stung during the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship and still went to both win the race and set a new course record.

The sea was calm but even on a calm day, there is the constant swell of the waves. Once I found some clear water, I found it easy to settle into a rhythm where I could time my strokes and my breathing with the swell. This got a little thicker on the way back as it came from behind me. The course was supposed to be triangular but there were swimmers heading off in completely different directions so I just set a line towards the beach.

The run from the swim quite a distance: up the beach, up the steps, along the promenade, up some more steps, along more promenade and finally into transition. At this point, my hands decided it had been a very cold swim after all and did not want to take my wetsuit off. I also managed to hit the lap button twice in T1, recording the entire bike section as T2.

The bike

It was a relatively straightforward bike course with a couple of U-turns and some gentle gradients but nothing to get out of the saddle for. Very little wind, either, until I was on my fourth and final lap and thinking to myself “so nice it is not windy” before I turned a corner and hit a strong headwind. I used 50% aero bars with some hoods on the up and down bits, averaging a very unsatisfying 29.9 kph average moving speed.

The run

The run went out along the cliff tops before dropping down onto the beachfront and crossing under itself beneath a bridge. Due to not properly understanding the aforementioned instructions and the route being unmarked, I got to a crossing early on and wasn’t sure if it was straight on across. Unfortunately, the marshall was on his phone at the time aod not paying attention but luckily there was another athlete from Sun City Tri just behind me who knew where he was going. After this it was smooth sailing.

The result

My official time was:


That gave me 60th place out of a field of 106. However, if you include the 4 DNFs and 21 DNSs, that moves me into the top half ­čśé. Here are the splits:

Section Time
Swim 21:47
T1 2:31
Bike 41:21
T2 1:17
Run 20:30

The swim time includes the three-minute run up to transition, so the actual swimming time was under 19 minutes. My watch clocked the run at 4.65 km. It is usually short, but not that short, so I think the run course was less than 5 km.



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This entry was posted on Friday, August 12th, 2022 at 11:00 am and is filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.