Hutchens makes it a hat-trick at Croyde Ocean Triathlon
- Credit: Howaboutdave Photography
Croyde lifeguard Jack Hutchens made it a hat-trick of wins at the Croyde Ocean Triathlon with a dominant display on the North Devon coast on Sunday.
Having won the race in 2017 and 2018, Hutchens made it three in a row in style, completing the Olympic-distance course in 2hrs, 16mins and 33secs and beating the course record by five-and-a-half minutes.
Hutchens finished nearly 10 minutes ahead of fellow Croyde lifeguard Oli Wright, who came in second with a time of 2hrs, 26mins and 6secs.
Matt Cox was third with a time of 2hrs, 27mins and 52secs.
Hutchens said: "I almost didn't compete having had a dodgy stomach, but in the end I felt good and it went really well - local knowledge really helped!"
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Hutchens battled Bristol's David Langston for the lead in the 1.5km ocean swim, and attacked the transition to extend his advantage.
From there on it was plain sailing as he clocked the fastest bike and run sections.
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Newbury's Victoria Duncan was the fastest female, crossing the line after 2hrs, 56mins and 19secs.
Rebecca Stobart was second fastest with a time of 3hrs, 3mins and 19secs. Claire Pepper (3:05:19) was the third fastest.
Lucy Tothill (3:05:30) had the lead after the swim, but calamity struck for her during the bike section when her tyre appeared to come off the wheel. Despite a quick fix she was unable to regain pole position.
As well as the individual race, there were more than 40 teams taking part.
The first place for the males went to Snot and Dribble, who crossed the line after 2hrs, 37mins and 11secs.
The women's team category was won by JCB (2:59:20), with local athlete Bobby Hardiman presented the gold medal by her husband James of Alpine Elements.
The Brewer Harding and Rowe family cup went to Team 76 77 78 who were the fastest team of the day with a time of 2hrs, 34mins and 1sec.
A record field of 480 competitors took part in the triathlon, which sold out in what is its fifth year.
Race director Pete Wright said: "It was really a fantastic day, and am really blown away by the wonderful atmosphere as well as excellence of those who competed."
This year's race, which was organised in association with Pickwell Foundation, raised funds for Children's Hospice South West, 1010 Climate Action and Plastic Free North Devon.
After going plastic free in 2018 and again this year, event director Mike Morris said this year's emphasis was on carbon emissions.