A stellar year for STAR

2019 … what a fantastic 12 months for the club and its members! And as we look back, there is a strong theme following through the whole year: It has been a year of ‘first times’ for club and athletes!

For the first time, STAR has independently organised and hosted Durrington Triathlon. It was a steep learning curve for all involved but in end we pulled off a great event. Blood, sweat and tears paid off as we not only received fantastic feedback from competitors and spectators, the icing on the cake came in form of a very positive race report from the British Triathlon official. Once more a massive Thank You to all who helped to turn this massive task into a big success.

Throughout the 2019 season there were a lot more of ‘first times’ to follow for STAR athletes who all worked incredible hard towards their goals. The club is very proud to say, that everybody not only achieved their goals but absolutely smashed it!

Katie Dickinson tackled a trio of ‘first times’: her very first triathlon, her first duathlon and in December she ran her first half marathon in Milton Keynes! Meanwhile Katie’s husband Simon had to get used to buggy running and even won the Club run champs with little Ivy in front of him.

Durrington Triathlon was also Stu Purdie’s first multisport event. And not only did he catch the triathlon bug, he has even signed up for his Level 1 coaching qualification.

In October Emily Connelly completed her first Great South Run. She started her running journey with STAR’s C25K course and worked very hard to finish one of Britain’s most popular 10 mile races.

Not only a ‘first time’ but also an absolutely amazing achievement for Ann-Marie Gibson when she crossed the finish line of the Snowdonia Marathon, one of the UK’s hardest marathons. And if it wasn’t bonkers enough to run this beast, Ann-Marie did it being pregnant!

2019 was the year for more marathon ‘first times’ for our athletes: Jacqui Taylor ran the iconic London Marathon for the first time and crossed the finish line on The Mall with a massive smile on her face.

Sarah Cavill also popped her marathon cherry when she completed the Salisbury Plain marathon, 42.2 unforgiving miles in tough cross country terrain.

Our very own Narna, STAR coach Kate McBain set herself a ‘first time’ target when she signed up for Deva Olympic distance triathlon. She didn’t let injuries stop her from completing her first standard distance tri in June with a top 5 Age Group spot. Charlie Waters joined Kate as he also completed his first Olympic distance in Chester.

Outlaw Full 2019 became an unexpected ‘first time’ for STAR coach Helen Whitt as the ironman distance tri got shortened to a long distance aquathlon due to horrendous weather conditions. However torrential rain didn’t faze Helen and she finished with a great time. But she already said she has got some unfinished business there and will be back for Outlaw 2020.

Roger Burrows will have his international debut at the 2020 triathlon European Championships in Sweden as he qualified for the first time as a GB Age Group athlete.

STAR coach Ina Morris represented her home nation Germany for the first time at the 2019 Multisport World Championships in Spain. An unforgettable experience that wouldn’t have been possible without the fantastic support from the club!

While it seemed that injury would spoil Lawrence Kaile’s 70.30 ‘first time’ he didn’t let that stop him and instead he changed plan and finished his first Ironman 70.3 relay as the team swimmer.

A swim of epic proportions was Sarah Oldrey’s channel crossing. She has previously completed the Channel swim as part of a relay team and went solo for the first time this year.

Wendy Matthews received her ‘first time’ at the London Prudential Ride as a birthday present from her daughter Joanne. The duo trained and finished the 100 mile cycling sportive together.

2019 wasn’t a first time as athlete for Steve Cox but a first as sports therapist. He provided free race massage at Durrington Triathlon and helped many more athletes with his knowledge and treatments.

There were so many more fantastic results for our athletes in 2019. Headcoach Shaun Green was a constant top 5 throughout the whole Wessex CX League season, Ian Morris became second in his AG at the South West regional championships, David Rippington showed great potential in all his races, Marcus Taylor won his Age Group in Lanzarote, Steve Cox took part in an epic race in the Himalayas, the Matthews family as always showed fantastic team spirit at the events they did, The Hooks who took the plunge and took part in long distance swims, Chris Harris who fully embraced being a daddy and did most of his training with Luke in the buggy, Coach Sue Hartwell and Brad Kilburn who got great results at various running events… just to mention a few…