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Blaenafon number 36 CANCELLED
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NoTriBri




Joined: 30 Apr 2004
Posts: 1422
Location: Glyn Ebwy. De Cymru

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very sad to report that the oldest continually held triathlon, now known as Y Fenni Blaenafon Triathlon, has had to be pulled this year due to lack of entries.

After 35 years, 3 organisers , 3 bases this will probably be the end.

A personal favourite, as it was originally my local race, but then I became its adopted parent for race numbers 26 to 30, and worked as assistant organiser to Dr B for number 31 and then on transition up to number 35.

Praise to Dr Gareth Buffet who created this little beast way back in the mists of time after he raced the original Yorkshire Dales Triathlon and plugged away in different formats for 25 years, playing with a half IM one year, coping with Foot & Mouth, and even having the roof blown off the swimming pool, resulting in the 2nd duathlon that was forced on the event. His ethos was cheap, cheerful & make it hard, with a social post race buffet for everybody to have a chat.

I raced the 'original' course from Blaenafon 9 times, including both duathlons, you have to do your local race, and then number 25 at the new venue Pontypool. First time I raced it at the end on my first season in triathlon, it was the hardest thing I'd ever done. Those hills on the bike course were brutal, The British still brings me out in a cold sweat & I ride past it twice a week! Oak Lane I've ridden parts of since & again failed to make the last steep section. The Blaenafon run route, sections of which I occasionally revisit but now on the mountain bike, was just cruel.

Numbers 26 to 30 were organised with the NEWT club, we had a great time although my stress levels couldn't cope, but without anybody else willing to take it on Gareth B stepped into the breach 1 last time.

The the 7th and last race at Pontypool was the changing of the guard with Y Fenni Tri Club, shadowing the organisation before taking on the full mantle & moving the race base to Abergavenny. The bike course did loose some of ots brutality but it was still tough, one of the same hills but a different & 'easier' road known as The Tumble. But the run returned to Dr Buffets original idea of making it hard with an ascent of Abergavenny's finest mountain The Sugar loaf.

Praise as well to Ian & Natalie who organised the swim for every race over the 35 years. There were a number of people who kept on coming back as well, Racing & working I did 21 events, One lady from the West Country raced I think 19 or 20 and our very own Spike must have been well into double figures, he had to keep coming back as he kept winning his category and of course his better half La Marquise, who I think raced it once or twice, but supported many times & ran the results for the last 4(?) years.

Thanks to all that supported this event over the years, theres a few that used to be on here.

End of an era. Crying or Very sad

I have retired from all racing & I dont visit this site much any more. But for those the raced any of the version of this little old event. Thank you. NoTriBri
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Blaenafon triathlon - the longest continuously held triathlon in the UK, 35 continuous years up to 2018 Now called Y Fenni - Blaenafon Triathlon

Y Fenni Tri Club Abergavenny.
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fat buddha




Joined: 13 Jul 2004
Posts: 2546
Location: rural Zuzzex

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

it's a great shame when any tri has to be pulled but this must be hard for those close to it to bear after 35 years.

as someone who was brought up "down the road" in Cwmbran, I'm ashamed to say I've never done the event - the thought of riding and running around Blaenavon has always brought me out in a cold sweat as I know how brutal it is up that end of the valley. maybe I should have manned up years ago and given it a crack but too late now.... Crying or Very sad
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And the lord said unto John; "come forth and receive eternal life." But John came fifth and won a toaster.
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Jorgan




Joined: 12 Nov 2007
Posts: 18171
Location: alles was ich bin, alles was ich war

PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Fowey River Triathlon went the same way after 2016; tough scenic course, but dwindling entries and it was a logistical task due to it being a big circular route with split transitions.

I'm 'fortunate' to have done Blaenavon in 2011; I use that word wisely given the suffering involved! I'm also fortunate to have gone back to Fowey in 2016 after a long hiatus, and it stands as my only ever overall Triathlon win. So I'm the reigning champion indefinitely Very Happy
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NoTriBri




Joined: 30 Apr 2004
Posts: 1422
Location: Glyn Ebwy. De Cymru

PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys. It was a real throwback to the 'good old days' Cheap as chips, no frills, and when I started racing it pie & chips in the leisure centre canteen, eventually switched to a prize giving buffet. Transition was leaning your bike against the wall in the alley way by the side of the centre. The most oddball collection of perpetual trophies that have ever been awarded and a bottle of win to each podium winner.

My first year as organiser I was completely stressed out, until TriSoHard from on here pointed out that in front of me was a room full of athletes & supporters and race crew happily chatting and tucking into their 'free' buffet as they'd had a cracking day out. made it all worthwhile.

You missed an experience FB.
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Blaenafon triathlon - the longest continuously held triathlon in the UK, 35 continuous years up to 2018 Now called Y Fenni - Blaenafon Triathlon

Y Fenni Tri Club Abergavenny.
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Jorgan




Joined: 12 Nov 2007
Posts: 18171
Location: alles was ich bin, alles was ich war

PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the loss of these 'grass roots' non-standard events is sad. I can recommend Perranporth (Extreme Surf Tri) to anyone who doesn't mind the potential for a very rough swim (which is unlikely to be cancelled!) followed by a tough bike & run. It's another of those events that's been going since the late 80s iirc (my first was '94).
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