The take-a-break race

The Grabow Triathlon was a much-needed experience, one which reminded me of why I participate in triathlons, and that racing can still be rewarding and fun. Because you have to love a race that allows you to take a break after the swim!

That’s what happened. The swim leg was organised in such a way as to allow for a staggered start for the bike leg. After the swim, and after a half-hour break, the participants were placed in order, based on their swim times, and set off on the bike at different intervals.

This was a really interesting way to organise a triathlon. And it was a feat of organisation, as almost all the participants knew what was going on. I was a little flummoxed, and had to be stopped by an organiser when I went sprinting from the pool to the transition area.

But once I got the drift, I liked the staggered start. There was also something egalitarian and communal about taking a break after the swim. People chatted. The participants relaxed. There was laughter, something I haven’t heard at a triathlon in a long time.

Sure, there were some fast athletes, and some who took it seriously, but any race where the winner goes back onto the course to clap and cheer for those still running gets my vote. Thanks for the clapping, Robert Prahl.

As the only Aussie among the athletes, I got a mention in the organisers interview: “…das Teilnehmerfeld ist auch hochkarätig und international besetzt”, ergänzt Torsten Westphal. “So konnten wir einen Teilnehmer aus Australien begrüßen…”

It was a very enjoyable race and the organisers should be commended for putting the fun back into triathlon.

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