Mr & Mrs Jackpot

The last weekend of June saw the Mr and Mrs of the Jackpot Team, Martin and Emma Stoney competing in the Llandudno half and sprint triathlon.  Here’s Emma’s race report.

“I have never visited Llandudno before. One of the first things I noted was that parking is a total nightmare, which is why people only generally choose to visit once they are old enough to travel by mobility scooter.

We checked into our hotel, right on the sea front and where race registration was taking place, so things couldn’t have been more straight forward.

The sea looked relatively calm and inviting in the sunshine the day before race day which was good news, as I have never done a sea swim before and was feeling the nerves.

We ate dinner in the hotel (along with Edna, Dorris, Frank and Norman – presumably not triathletes) and then settled down in our already cosy room with two bikes and all the paraphernalia that comes with racing.

Next morning we literally crossed the road to rack our bikes. The weather had turned over night. The sea was now grey and decidedly rough looking and there was drizzle. Nice.

The Middle Distance race was the first to start at 10.30am. My sprint wave was not due to begin until 12.30, which was how I justified the full cooked English breakfast I wolfed down.

The name’s Martin, Martin Stoney

I saw Martin come back into transition after his swim and was unnerved by his report of it being ‘quite choppy in there’. He seemed happy enough though as he set off on the bike leg – one loop of the Great Orme before heading out into the Conwy hills.

I set off for the pen on the beach and waited to be counted into the water with the other 50 female athletes in my wave. It is a deep water start, so having swum out from the beach, we were held treading water for around 10 minutes before the start gun finally went.

They were a fairly competitive crowd with it being a Championship qualifier, so I kept out of mischief towards the back of the pack and concentrated on what mainly felt like drinking plenty of salt water and being smacked in the face by waves.

I was relieved to finish the swim of 750m and to get on the bike. The Great Orme was a closed road section and the Sprint took you twice round, up what was quite a drag and then a fantastic descent which I loved.The run for the Sprint was mainly on the flat – an out and back along the promenade. The Middle Distance was more challenging and involved a run route with several hills in it.

Emma Stoney in the Sprint.

In between the Middle Distance and the Sprint is an Olympic distance race – so something for everyone. Charles Hickman was also racing the Middle Distance and had a great result, taking 4th Male and first in his age category.  Martin really enjoyed the race and was pleased to finish the run feeling strong. He finished 18th male and 3rd in his age group (he’s not sure where all the other 40-44 year olds were racing that day) whilst I finished 6th in mine.

Having survived my first sea swim I would definitely return to Llandudno for this race again.”

Thanks and well done Emma, Martin and Charles.

Continue reading Mr & Mrs Jackpot

X Rated Report. Handle with Caution

A little over a week ago Jackpot’s Neil Waller took part in possibly the hardest Iron Distance Triathlon there is, The Full Wasdale X.

Here is a little about the course.

At over 17,000 ft (5100m) of ascent in 140 (225km)miles of gruelling Lake District mountains, The X is the world’s toughest extreme triathlon.

Swim 2.4miles (3.8km) around the head of Windermere, England’s longest lake, before tackling the route of the famous Fred Whitton bike ride; at over 12,000 ft (3,700m) of ascent the Fred Whitton route is the hardest bike section of any ‘Ironman’ type event in the world.

Competitors transition from Bike to Run to complete the 26 mile (42km) marathon to the top of Scafell Pike and back. Climbing over 5,000 ft (1,400m) from the foothills of the Langdale Pikes before entering the high central mountains, traversing Esk Hause and onto Great End and Scafell Pike, England’s highest point

It’s not just the total ascent, 16,994 ft (5,137m) over the traditional ‘Ironman’ distance of 142 miles (226 km), that makes it the toughest, it’s the severity of the climbing on the bike and run that distinguishes The X as the world’s toughest.

With the huge challenge here is how Neil’s race went.
“So Wasdale wasn’t the result expected but believe me in no way I’m I disappointed in any way..
Arrived at the swim at 3.30am to a freezing cold lake in the dark. A mass start. So cold I struggled for a mile to get my stroke and breathing anywhere near where I wanted it. In fact overall due to the visibility I swam just short of 3 mile in 1h 25m😂
Then onto the bike.. Wow..
For my friends and team mates who will only really understand the full brutality of this whole 112 mile bike ride which takes in England’s biggest and toughest climbs back to back. Straight on the bike you head onto Kirkstone pass which gets that heart rate flying at 6.30 in the morning at 25% incline.. Then onto Whinlatter, Coldfell, then onto the one and only Hardknott 33% followed straight into Wynrose 20%.. the heat was nearly 27 degrees. And on busted legs it was tough.
As I was descending down Wynrose disaster and I ripped my rear tyre which needed a mechanical assistant to replace which took 45 mins. I took this opportunity to strip down and lay in a stream to cool down and at this point knew my cut offs were tight. Back on the bike I pushed back to Ambleside and out on the run. I had 90 mins to run 7 mile. Made it with 20 mins. Onto the next cut off. Made it with 20 mins.
Then I saw the true meaning of climbing on busted thighs.. Rossett, Esk Hause, and Broad Crag.. I made the cut off at the top for 7.40pm and had one more before Scarfell. I had 20 mins to hit the 8.00pm cut off. 8.15pm game over. TBH I felt a sense of massive satisfaction rather than disappointment. I had pushed the run so hard. I was like a pissed up mountain goat climbing the sheer climbs. Hot and sweaty and with a contact lens full of suntan creame but this event was like nothing I have ever entered and will be in no rush to do it again. I nearly made it and who knows without the split tyre. On route back down I bumped into a gentleman in difficulty so we walked back and chatted out being nearly men.. he was a top bloke and I shared the last of my fuel with him as he had run out. I’m now going to enjoy my time with the girls and going to have a chilled Father’s Day in the lakes.. Thanks to my girls as always for being here just no medal today.”

A massive well done to Neil.

Leeds Half Marathon PBs

Sunday 14th May brought Jackpot’s Tom Van Rossum in action in the Leeds Half Marathon.  Here’s Tom Race report.

“Having never done a half marathon without a swim/bike warm up, I accepted the offer of an entry to Leeds half marathon on Saturday afternoon. After my ritual pre race feed of Pad Thai, I rocked up on Sunday morning in the place of Sarah (green pen, predicted 2h30 finish time). Targeting a slightly faster pace than Sarah, I wished Bron good luck on her race, and squeezed myself in between the more serious runners in the blue pen, hiding the coveted green bib from the vigilant pen guards! 

Photo Credit Ady Stott

My race plan was to go sub 1h20. Some pre race calculations showed that 3.45 min km’s would bring me in at 1h19 and change (mindful that I may need the extra seconds for the inevitable explosion of my legs as I hadn’t done any long intervals or prep for a half marathon).

The gun went and I settled in with a small group, as the leaders shot out of sight. The first few Km’s ticked by and sub 3.40 felt comfortable. Having a chat with the guy I was running with, he mentioned he was aiming for for 1h15. “Too fast for me” I thought, but I stuck with him as we reeled in the stragglers from the fast starting lead group heading up through Meanwood. I ticked off the first 10km averaging 3.40 min km’s. Arriving at the ring road at the half way point, I figured that was the hard bit done and it was all downhill from there. Heart rate was above threshold with another 10k to go and moving at pace was an increasing struggle. I also really needed a pee by this point. Contemplating the spectators reaction to me peeing my pants, I relented and hoped the finish would arrive a little bit sooner. At the next aid station I grabbed a gel and washed it down with the 2 pro plus stashed in my pants. Probably a good reason for not having that pee I needed earlier. The sub 1h15 dude was long gone by this point and I was now becoming the stalked, and not the stalker. Down on to Kirkstall Road for the last leg home and the double burst of carb and caffeine kicked in. Ticking along towards the finish in town, I knew the final hurdle would be the small rise (but feels like a mountain) over the ring road to reach the finish. I was wrong. Note to self, check the position of the finish line prior to the race. It turned into the longest finish sprint following the numerous turns around the town hall. Knowing that I was well under 1h20 pace I didn’t really care about my time at this point, I just wanted to finish. With the line in sight (but at the top of another hill) I was doing the worst impression of sprinting and finished in 1h17.50. Sarah was 18th overall, 1st female by over 3 minutes and scored a huge PB. 

Aiding my recovery with the well received post race beer, I waited on for Bron to finish her race towards a PB. With the clock ticking towards her target time of 1h45 it was going to be close. Executing a far better example of pacing than myself, she crossed the line 10 seconds shy of her target, smashing a new PB in 1h44.50! That’s how to pace a race”!

Also in action in the Leeds half Marathon was Rich Knell-Moore. In response to his race, Rich said “What’s there to say about a half marathon!”.  Rich let his feet do the talking and and finished with a time of 126:31.

Welldone to Tom and Rich  with strong running and two PBs.

Vietnam 70.3 & Yokohama Olympic Triathlon

Earlier this month Matthew Pears was back in action in another 70.3.  Here is what Matt had to say.

Jackpot’s Pamela Anderson

“Crossing the finish line at Vietnam 70.3 was probably the best feeling I’ve ever felt crossing a finish line as on this day, I truly thought that it would never come. The day started well. Relatively calm sea for my first non wet suit swim. Started in the fastest pack and after some poor hasslehoff esq water entry running and some hustle and bustle I eventually found some clear water. Felt quite strong and despite not clocking a fast time I was out first in my AG in 27 min , quick run on the beach, through T1 with no issues and out onto the bike course.

Found the going quite tough to begin. The legs felt like they were gonna explode but some 30k in they began to come back. The bike was relatively flat with only one real ascent and that was only 1k in distance.
The bike leg was out to the furthest point then two loops of a 22k circuit then back to the start. These went well and I felt good. Taking on fluid and throwing it all over me as it was fast approaching the mid 30s. I turned and made my way to T2. On this stretch there was no one around me and the legs were starting to indicate I’d gone alittle hard. Made it to T2 after 2.19 on the bike. Race Timing splits indicating 2.22 but that included transition. Out onto the run and still in first place for my AG. (Obvs only knew this after the race ).
Feeling hot hot hot
Got no further than 1km in and I was completely shot. Legs gone and my head just wanted to explode with the heat. Tried to work to the outwards 10k marker with another guy but literally 500m with him and I was walking again. Not to be defeated
and throw the towel in I decided to be content just walking and shuffling my way around the course. The aid stations and volunteers were outstanding. Never chewed on so much ice. Made it across the line after 2hrs 15 mins on the run. Later to find out that around a 1.50 may have taken the AG win. Ice cold beers the perfect recovery drink. Lessons learned and experience in the bank. A summer of run training and I’ll be back”.


Still in the East, Jackpot’s Ian Gilham was competing in Yokohama here is what Ian had to say.

“Tough race on Sunday – no rain (unlike Saturday for Tom and Jonnie) but strong winds and heavy currents with more than 150 swimmers pulled out by the lifeguards in various stages of drowning. Happy to be 4th (of 150) out of the water (3 minutes faster than last year despite the conditions.. and even happier to have avoided the jelly fish the size of hub-caps), lost a few places on the bike, regained a couple on the run to finish 6th.

Beer o’clock now and a few recovery days in Japan before back on it for kitzbuhel in a few weeks”.

Welldone Matt and Ian.

Hardmoors 110 – The Cleveland Way in One Go

Starting from Filey Brigg and finishing in Helmsley the Hardmoors 110 is a 112 mile continuous foot race, with 6000 metres of ascent, to be completed within 36 hours.

Neil Midgley and Peter Kidd toed the line at 8am Saturday 6th May looking forward to an epic day (and a half) out.

Plenty of training had taken place although Neil was concerned that he maybe hadn’t done enough long distance. A 3 day 85 mile training session had helped to build confidence.
The race can be broken down into 3 sections: the coastal path from Filey to Saltburn (54 Miles); Saltburn to Osmotherley (36 miles with most of the ascent); Osmotherley to Helmsley (22 miles).
The first section was fairly straightforward Neil completing that section in 12 hours and Peter in 12 hours 20 minutes. A planned stop for food, a change of clothes for the night section and then back on the trail.

A further 10 miles in Peter went hypothermic – disoriented and staggering and retired at Gribdale Terrace having completed 64 miles.
Neil got his race face on from Saltburn and started picking through the field. Having got through the worst section across Bloworth Crossing and with the sun starting to come up the determination to finish and get the best placing possible kicked in.
It was clear to Peter (now in a support role) & Valerie (Platinum Support Crew Leader) that Neil was getting serious and digging deep. At 91 miles he was continuing to move up through the field and was in sight of a sub 30 hour finish.
At the last support stop at Sutton Bank Neil polished off a Red Bull and pushed on through the cruel detour down to White Horse and back up the steep steps.
Onto the home stretch past Rievaulx Abbey, through Helmsley and out to the sports centre Neil ran into the finish in just over 29 hours (official times and places not yet out).

Congratulations Neil – an epic achievement perfectly executed.