The Perranporth Surf Challenge Triathlon took place on Sunday 19 September. Now in its 23rd year, the event has earned national recognition as one of the toughest races in the calendar. Conditions were good for the 300 competitors who lined up on the start line with blue skies and warm sunshine.

The 1km sea swim is what makes the event stand out and a 3-4’ swell did not disappoint. The race is hosted by Perranporth Surf Life Saving Club and a good number of its members were in the water with rescue equipment substantially aided and abetted by RNLI lifeguards. Eleven athletes were safely helped to shore before getting into difficulties.

One person who revelled in the tough conditions was Truro-based Dave Bartlett. A former international Junior swimmer he blitzed the field to begin the 40km bike with a lead of two minutes from his nearest challenger.

“I planned to rely on my swimming background and then really push on the bike,” said Dave and his strategy worked to perfection as he started the run with a healthy lead.

As if the sea swim and hilly bike circuit to St Agnes and back (twice) were not enough, the run to Penhale and back started the racers over soft sand and then proceeded up the steep climb to High Cliff. If there was a saving grace it came in the fact that for the long run home the wind was at the competitor’s backs.

Dave Bartlett was too far ahead to be caught on the run and the Redruth School teacher was delighted with his win. “I was fifth last year so to come home first in one of the premier events in the south-west in just fantastic. I really enjoyed my day.”