Mark Philo

Norwich Triathlon 2023

Event : Norwich Triathlon

Norwich Triathlon 2023

Our 18th edition of Norwich Triathlon. It was for sure the hottest and the first enforced non-wetsuit swim in its history with the lake exceeding 24°C.

I raced Norwich Triathlon in 2005 and 2007.  A different run course then and transition was on the bank along the lakeside.  After that I was a marshal for a couple years, then bike manager, then race director and now marshal coordinator. So fair to say I have seen this event grow to what it is today. Obviously, I’ve done other events too and very few of them come anywhere close to the on-site atmosphere we have or the quality and input from the marshals.  I guess this is why it fills out so successfully.

With Jane’s organisation and efficiency, we were even able to REDUCE the entry fee to the event this year (in your face inflation!) which makes our event one of the cheapest I’ve seen, but with the highest quality.

In the lead up to the event, I admit I had some frustration in gaining marshals.  I put the call out in TT and Facebook and by email to those who had indicated it as a marshal preference at membership renewal.  I need around 80 marshals after this call out I had 30-odd.  OK, we got there in the end, but through begging and pleading.  I need to allocate roles much earlier as I ended up sorting positions and mailing out instructions only 4 days before the event!

The week before the event, Jane is buzzing.  Confirming suppliers, fielding endless emails from competitors asking about water temperature, rules, nerves, event supplies.  Then just when we thought it’s all sorted, Anglia Water have an emergency sewage pipe repair in Saxlingham.  Jane and I normally spend Friday putting bike course signs out.  We get to Saxlingham and there’s fencing, digger and a bloody great hole.  But Jane is on it and negotiated a pass through for the bikes and in fact, it’s then no problem and we even have a small section of closed road – result.  Jane had additionally asked Norwich Council to tidy up the top of Whitlingham Lane and there was a crew there patching that up.  So, bike course all good.

Saturday set up was smooth and a good team to put up the fencing and site dressings.  This crew is mostly Sunday competitors doing their bit to help out the event.  All done in good time for the site to host the Universities Championships Standard distance at 4 pm.  Also, a non-wetsuit swim, this a fast competitive race marshalled by the UEA, but we stick some experienced people around to ensure all runs well. We are all done and dusted there by 8pm and rest for our event next morning.  By hosting the UEA event, this halves our site costs, so worth the extra effort to do a double shift.

So, about the event this year.

Early start to get the cars parked.  We break the news to competitors as the water temperature is taken 1 hour before start that it’s a non-wetsuit swim.  We expect tantrums, but none came.  Kayakers said a few nerves and had a rest hanging onto a kayak now and then, but they got on with it and made for a more dynamic water exit.  Bike all good with only couple of dropouts. The run was hot hot hot.  But competitors were sensible and took a walk if needed (unlike the students the night before with several collapses).  Our 2 water stations were busy and even called for reinforcements.

The finish atmosphere was buzzing and with last runner in, marshals chipped in and site was all down by 1 pm.


As chairman I see this as an incredible success for the club.  It truly enforces the swim, bike run culture to the masses of all abilities and enables those who maybe can’t do all with our 22 relay teams, or those who made need a bit of help, like our 3 visually impaired competitors.

I give a heartfelt thanks to Jane Hannah now at her 4th year at the helm, Sue and Justin Flute who manage so many logistics of the event and registration, a quick pat on my own back to arrange the marshals.  The marshals are many and I can only thank each of you equally as all duties are essential.

This event generates financial revenue to invest into the club, kudos to the sport of triathlon, our reputation in the local area and the triathlon clubs who visit us.


Full official race photos available from Chris Roberts photography, but here are some of the team doing their stuff!


Mark Philo



Race Director:


From the heart…..

Written 10am Monday 26th June.

The morning after the days before.

I honestly feel like I do after completing an Ironman today.  Not sure if this is the 3 x 3am wake ups, riding the course every day for two weeks, the 20k steps each day, lugging heavy things around site, the heat, me being another year older or the trip to The York Tavern yesterday.

Typically, the one morning I didn’t bike, the course Anglian Water rocked up and closed the road.  But the support they gave us to ensure the race would go on with no diversion was first class. Even sending us extra marshals for both races.  Big shout out to Duncan Cardwell for his support here as well.

Anyway, reflections are an absolute mix at the moment and its always important to take some time to decompress after such big events.

Like Mark I found this year harder than before, the lack of volunteers coming forward from the club hit us both hard and at times we were adamant this would be our last event as a team.  Why should we put in days and weeks of our time when others can’t even commit to a few hours.  Of course, it came together on the weekend, and we put on an amazing showcase race for the club and for the sports we are all passion about.  And to those who helped thank you from the bottom of my heart.  So many competitors either told me on the day or have already emailed to say how incredible the support is for this event.

Will I organise next year? At the moment, I don’t know is the answer, as a club we need to collectively address how we ensure members give back and support sessions and events.  If this is nailed, then I am open to a conversation about it.

To Sue and Justin Flute thank you for making things so easy with all that you do and answering the phone to me at 6am Sue to have a rant.

Mark the King Philo whilst I say in jest how useless you are of course what I mean is you are awesome and its time others stepped up to take some weight off your shoulders.

But for now it’s over and out from this tired Race Director for a bit whilst I concentrate on getting myself Outlaw Full ready for five weeks time.


Jane Hannah

Norwich Triathlon Race Director



Published on 28th June 2023

One comment on “Norwich Triathlon 2023

  • Grayhame Fish
    Grayhame Fish — June 30, 2023 11:41 am

    A great report Mark and Jane, thanks for going to the trouble of writing the report, an interesting read and what a brilliant event and effort all round. I find it a pity more people don't comment on reports to encourage people to write them in the first place. Equally no visibility of how many people have actually opened the report and read it. The issue within the text about marshals needs some thought.

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