Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Dentist, 61, says triathlon was like ‘walk in the park’

AT 61, many men are looking forward to retirement and the quiet life.

AT 61, many men are looking forward to retirement and the quiet life.

But not so dentist Paul Stuart-Bennett, who won the over-60s section of the seventh Henley Triathlon on Sunday and then declared it was “like a walk in the park”.

He was among 700 athletes to compete in the event, which consisted of a 400m swim in the pool at Henley leisure centre, a 25km cycle race on local roads and a 5km run round the Gillotts School sports field.

Competitors could also choose to complete half distances.

Steve Castle, a 19-year-old athlete with Kingswood Triathlon Club, won the men’s sprint in a time of one hour, 11 minutes and 21 seconds.

Rob Friend, 29, from Henley, finished runner-up in one hour, 15 minutes and 22 seconds. The women’s sprint race was won by Alison Bird, from Reading, in a time of one hour, 22 minutes and 57 seconds.

The fastest woman from Henley was Sarah Carter, who finished 19th in a time of one hour, 37 minutes and 11 seconds.

Mr Stuart-Bennett, of St Andrew’s Road, Henley, won the veterans’ event in a time of one hour, 37 minutes and 38 seconds.

He will also be taking part in the Challenge Henley triathlon in September with his son Christopher, 35, who finished in one hour, 29 minutes and 43 seconds.

“I think this demonstrated that it’s a feasible thing for me to do,” he said. “When I crossed the finish line I didn’t feel very tired so it shows I’m in good nick.

“I really enjoyed the event. The cycling was the best, despite the weather, and was largely without incident considering the roads were not closed.”

Mr Stuart-Bennett, a former captain of Upper Thames Rowing Club, is a dentist at Courtrai House in Reading Road and has been raising money for the Sue Ryder hospice at Nettlebed.

He said: “Unfortunately, I’ve seen a lot of my patients end up there in their last few weeks and I wanted to support a worthwhile cause.”

Robert Galloway, 38, of Park Road, Henley, was greeted by his wife Katy and three children when he crossed the finish line after one hour, 33 minutes and seven seconds. He said: “It was my first time so I didn’t know what to expect but it was enjoyable. The run was my strongest element but the whole thing was fun.

“I’ve done the Henley half marathon and a 10km race in the past so time-wise it requires a lot more effort and the different disciplines make it a lot more challenging.”

On Saturday, 500 children aged seven to 16 took part in a mini version of the event that was non-competitive.

Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak was at the finish line to hand out medals to those who completed the challenge. The youngsters were also given a T-shirt. Scarlett Mills, eight, from Maidensgrove, who attends Rupert House School in Henley, said: “The best bit was the cycling because I could go fast.”

A spokeswoman for UK Triathlon, which organised the event, said: “The triathlon for children is achievable, fun and inspiring and allows the kids to enjoy the benefits of keeping fit.

“We realise health and fitness is paramount in an age where computer games rule.”

She thanked Sunday’s competitors, saying: “Well done to those who raised money for their chosen charities and a very big thank-you to all who volunteered.”

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