Henley was home to the Challenge UK triathlon from 2011 to 2013, until race organisers moved the event to Weymouth in 2014.
While Challenge Henley had grown in participation over its three years, Just Racing UK had also faced criticism from the local community, including Henley’s MP and mayor, for road closures that lasted up to 12 hours.
But the Henley Highwayman won’t be closing any roads, race organiser Jeremy Laming told The Henley Standard at the event launch on January 15.
In fact, the Henley Highwayman isn’t your standard tri at all. Instead of a single race, it will spread out the three disciplines over three days, and a “sportive”, point-based format will provide competitors with plenty of opportunities to smash personal records in events of their choosing.
There are four individual categories, which are as follows:
Full: 4km swim / 182km bike / 25km run
Mid: 2km swim / 120km bike / 17km run
Sprint: 1km swim / 62km bike / 9km run
Pick & Mix: participants can play to their strengths and opt for any distance in each discipline. This option also allows an entrant to join a single event only.
Two group categories are also available: Team, in which all three members compete in all three disciplines, and Relay, in which each team member completes a designated leg.
The swim leg comprises a 1km loop in the Upper Thames along the Mill Meadows. In a “sportive” format, swimmers choose their own start times and can opt to complete one, two or four laps.
Whether competitors are gunning for a 62km, 120km or 182km bike leg, the ride begins at Henley’s marketplace, and offers the challenge of cycling the rolling Chiltern Hills before finishing back in the town centre.
Finally, the run is a scenic mix of road, trail and hills, taking competitors from the town hall to a loop up and down No Man’s Hill. Runners can target either 9km, 17km or 25km.
Winners will be determined by a scoring system which assigns equal weight to all three disciplines and takes both distance and performance into account. For example, while more points are available for longer distances, you’ll be better rewarded for a superb performance in a shorter distance than a poor showing in a longer distance.
Organisers are still ironing out the scoring system. It will be published in full detail at the end of February.
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For the complete event details, visit henleyhighwayman.co.uk.
What do you think of the Pick & Mix race format? Let us know in the comments below!