Fast time for elite racer
Abbie Thorington of Britain finishes seventh overall as second-fastest female at St. Albert Triathlon
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 06:00 am
A reserve for the British triathlon team at the London Olympic Games spent her summer vacation competing in the 24th annual St. Albert Triathlon.
Abbie Thorington finished Sunday’s sprint race distance in one hour, six minutes and 58 seconds as the second-fastest female and seventh overall finisher.
“It was a nice workout,” Thorington said. “I haven't done a triathlon for over a year now and I thought why not do it at this place here in sunny Canada.”
The Ipswich resident is staying at the Kelly residence in Sturgeon County while holidaying.
“I did the World Cup a couple of years ago (in Edmonton and finished 31st overall at 2:06:40) and I did a home stay with Mike and Tari Kelly. I’ve just kept in touch and they invited me over. I’m here for two weeks and they said why not try the triathlon,” Thorington said.
The Kellys are a noted triathlon family with strong ties to the St. Albert Road Runners and Triathlon Club. In Sunday’s race Tari was the women’s 40 to 44 age category winner at 1:16:41 for 33rd overall, Mike was third in the men’s 40 to 44 division at 1:12:54 for 21st overall. And their son Shae was the first-place U19 male at 1:13:10 for 24th overall.
“They’re great guys, very nice people,” Thorington said. “They got me a bike and United Cycle very kindly lent me it. I had a good bike. It’s brilliant.”
The top female was Alexandra Gordichuk of the Edmonton Triathlon Academy at 1:06:44 for sixth overall. The fastest female at the 2013 St. Albert 10-Mile Road Race was 15th in the 750-metre swim at 11:54, eighth in the 20-kilometre bike at 34:52 and fifth in the five-km run at 19:59.
Thorington, 26, was the second-fastest swimmer at 10:11, placed fifth on the bike at 34:15 and was 27th on the run at 22:33.
She described the race as “absolutely fantastic.”
“The organization, if I can compare this to the races I did when I was 13, 14, is miles ahead. There are marshals out on the course. It’s brilliant.”
Thorington started her triathlon career at the age of eight, en route to representing Britain at the youth, junior, U23 and senior elite European championships. She also won the 2007 national junior and 2008 British university championships.
“I was a very energetic child. I started as a swimmer and my parents thought if I try three sports then I would waste even more energy. I did my first one and got the bug as they say and never looked back,” said the silver medallist at the 2011 Chile Pan American Cup Elite Triathlon.
It was a bittersweet moment when Thorington was named to the British team as its first reserve for the 2012 Olympics.
“I was in the opening ceremonies and I went in the Olympic village. Unfortunately if someone was to get ill then I was going to step in,” she said. “I’m sure in 10 years time I will look at it as a massive achievement but there is an amount of disappointment not to make the team fully and take part. Obviously there was selection problems and I was at the tail end of that.”
After stepping away from the competitive circuit, Thorington is spending time coaching club and national youth and junior team triathletes.
“I just needed to have a break and refocus. I love sport and I love triathlons so I’m still heavily involved back in the U.K. I’m coaching and giving back something into the sport which so many people gave me when I was younger,” said Thorington, who exited the swim in first place and cycled with the lead group in her first ITU World Championship Series race in 2011 in Madrid and finished 41st overall at 2:10:48.
FAST TIMES: The third-place female in Sunday’s race was Lisa Ulrich of St. Albert at 1:07:25 for eighth overall.
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