THE crowds turned out to cheer the almost 800 people who took part in the increasingly popular Skipton Triathlon on Sunday.

One of the first triathlons of the year, and one of the largest, pool-based events, the Craven District Council organised competition is used as a season warm up for elite competitors, as well as other athletes of all abilities.

The competition included a 400 metre swim in Craven Leisure pool, a challenging 22km bike ride out of Skipton and along the A59 uphill to East and West Marton, before returning to Skipton via Thornton-in-Craven, and topped off with a 5km run through Aireville Park.

Competitors either carried out all three disciplines, or took part as a team, and many were taking part in their first ever triathlon.

First timer, Simon Wood said: “My first experience today. Absolutely loved it. Massive thanks to the organisers and the many volunteers who did a wonderful job.”

Becky Binks said: “Thank you to all who set the triathlon up. This was my first ever triathlon, and you made it such an enjoyable experience, not just for me and my team mate, but my family who attended.”

Notable competitors included visually impaired athletes competing for the Henshaws relay team.

Also taking part, and competing with a running blade was British Paratriathlon Talent squad member, Stuart Meikle. Stuart hopes to compete in the Tokyo Paralympics.

The event was organised by Craven District Council for the second time after last year’s successful event. Paul Shevlin, the council’s chief executive who was on duty on Sunday as a marshal, said: “We had another brilliant day with lots of smiling faces, strong competition and fantastic personal achievements. Skipton Triathlon is suitable for a huge range of athletes, from first-timers to elite racers, and we really proved that this year. “

He added: “A huge thanks to all our sponsors and supporters and all the volunteers for helping us put on the triathlon and making it a great experience for everybody involved. There was a little bit of rain in the afternoon as forecast but it didn’t stop people enjoying themselves and we look forward to welcoming athletes back to Skipton Triathlon again in the future.”

The overall winner of the event was Matthew Nelson, from the Challenge Tri Camp TFN Race Team, who finished in 57 minutes and 26 seconds, one of only two competitors to finish in under an hour.

The first female athlete home was Rachel Hawker, who finished in 1hr 9mins and 42 seconds.

The event was sponsored by RunRight Ltd, Uvenco UK, Tilney, and Omnis Services, and supported by Keelham Farm Shop, Bizzie Lizzie’s, Birchall Food Service, Grandma Wild’s, JACS, Cotswold Outdoor, Thistle Rose Campervan Conversions, Harrogate Spa, Yorkshire Dales Ice Cream, Riders Cycle Centre, and Sportmax. Full results are available online at: