THE THREE ISLAND CHALLENGE
On Saturday the 27th May, the third edition of Las Tres Islas, the one day quadrathlon, began on the island of La Graciosa – the most northern island in the Canary Islands – then travelled the whole length of Lanzarote and finished on the beach in Fuerteventura as the sun was setting. After a stormy week the wind dropped in the early hours of Saturday morning enabling the competitors to have a 2km swim crossing from La Graciosa through the calm waters over to the remote Mirador beach in the north of Lanzarote. Starting at 9.01am, the first competitor to reach Lanzarote was Spanish Duathlon Champion Daniel Guzmán in a time of 28 mins. Unfortunately, Daniel was given a 5 minute penalty for coming out of the water at the wrong point of the beach. This then left Tony Croxford (30.25mins), Sergio de Pais Morales for Team Balin (31.05mins) and ‘Ironman’ Mark Thorn for Team Costa Teguise Golf (31.43) in 1st, 2nd and 3rd places respectively.
Daniel Guzmán wasn’t officially taking part but as he was writing for Finisher magazine and wanted a first hand account of the course, he was granted permission to do the swim and run, and did well considering he is recovering from cancer.
The morning was still fresh for the cliff runners and it was hoped that the light rain didn’t make it too slippery under-foot! The hill climb commenced at 9.34am by Alan Maddock for Team Balin, but it was starting to look like Mark Thorn had already got his name inscribed on the winner’s trophy. Mark, running for Team Costa Teguise Golf, ran to the top of Las Rositas in an amazing time of 18.43 min. Second place was Ildefonso Aguilar Pereyra in 20.14 min and 8 seconds behind in third place was Francisco Portero 20.22.
With a good crowd to support the runners at the top of Las Rositas, people started to forget that the weather was miserable with news that the time difference between the following pack – made up of 4th place Stephen Naylor, 5th place Ramon Arlen Moralez Perez 6th place Huseyin Ibrahim and 7th place Warwick Pemberton – was only 90 seconds.
This year brought a change to the start of the bike section in which all pro and semi-pro cyclists would leave together. At 10.33am Daniel Kezel, Stephen Naylor, Mark Thorn, Richard Parkinson, Ulf Mellstrom, Diana Smalbro Olesen, Jose Manuel Cabrera Berril, Michael Easton and Dina Garcia de Albeniz set off for the 72km ride to Marina Rubicon in Playa Blanca.
The cyclists found that the wind against them made it a gruelling down hill to Marina Rubicon. The marshalling by the Guardia Civil, local police, volunteers, with bike maintenance on-hand from the crew at Solo de Bici, was greatly appreciated, as there were no reported incidents.
Like a dog with a bone, Mark Thorn wasn’t going to let his quest for the coveted Las Tres Islas winners trophy slip through his paws. In a time of 1:57:33 Mark Thorn finished the cycle just 8 seconds before second placed Daniel Kezel (1:57:45) and 42 seconds in front of 3rd place, ex-pro, Stephen Naylor (1:58:15)
Further out in the cycle, was the eventual women’s individual winner Annie Moss for Team Lolita, who clocked a total time of 2:35:05. Ten minutes later Peter Dalkin for Team Burger King, eventual winner of the veterans group arrived at the Las Tres Islas village in Marina Rubicon in 2:45:05 with Peter’s main rival, Giles Vickers-Jones for Team McDonalds taking a whole 03:34:53, (though his time does reflect the fact that he was accompanying his friend, the injured Scott Sullivan and had piles of fun in so doing)
The final 10km sea crossing from Marina Rubicon to Waikiki Beach, Corralejo, Fuerteventura was good for light wind crafts, enabling windsurfers, kayaks, J80’s and a catamaran to have a good race across the Bocayna Straight ,though not so good for the kite surfers who found themselves trapped in the harbour.
All crafts, supported by the Princesa Yaiza, Fred Olsen Ferry, and the eleven high powered R.I.B´s owned by Galan of Ferlanza, Dimitri, Emerlan & Cruz Roja aswell as the Lanzarote and Fuerteventura locals, made the crossing over to Corralejo within 2 hours. The first three to hit the shores of Corralejo were Eric Yoldjogiou for Team ViajesUltimaHora.com who clocked in a time of 00:24:15, closely followed by Dave Lendon in 00:31:24 and Benn Atkinson for Team Costa Teguise Golf in 00:44:31.
Peter Dalkin of Team Burger King and Stephen Naylor came in shortly after in their Hobbie Cat in a time of 00:50:34
It was a disappointing day for all but two of the kite surfers, Victor Fernadez Cox for Team Balin and Steve Hunt who both launched from Dorada Beach in Playa Blanca and used 16m kites. They eventually made it in 01:28:13 and 01:29:26 respectively.
The biggest disappointment for Tila was the 4 Saharan boys and girls who were denied a 3 day visa after training for one year.
After the BBQ and refreshments, the prize giving and social hosted by the Waikiki Beach Club got underway with Africa Yeah supplying the tunes.
First prize for both the individual competitors in the men’s and women’s group received a new Electric Bike each, kindly donated by
Mens Overall Winner – Stephen Naylor, Lanzarote resident, won Las Tres Islas 2006 with a total time of 3:52:46, just 7:51 minutes in front of 2nd place Dave Lendon, also a British born Lanzarote resident and 3rd placed local canarian boy Ildelfonso Aguilar.
Womans Overall Winner – British born Annie Moss, Lanzarote resident won the female class with a total time of 4:33:15, with second place Sabine Wittig clocking a time of 5:56:17.
This year saw the launch of Corporate Teams taking part opening up more interest from overseas, with the Blue Machinery Plc Boys coming all the way from Scotland to complete the event in a total time of 5:28:48.
But this year’s Team Winners were Mark Thorn and Benn Atkinson running for the Corporate Team Teguise Golf completing in a total time of 3:32:30.