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Susie Chan

Susie Chan

12:02 PM on Monday, October 2, 2017   •   Edited

London Classics

The London Classics is an all new triathlon. Sort of.
It is the Swim, Bike Run with a difference. To complete the London Classics you need to do all three disciplines (which add up to very nearly iron distance) over three huge London events.

The London Marathon - the biggest mass participation sporting event in the UK has been going since 1981. It was set up by journalist and former Olympic champion Chris Brasher and athlete John Disley who were inspired by running the New York City Marathon. Iconic and hugely popular it takes 35,000+ runners looping around London towards the famous finish line just past Buckingham Palace. I have been lucky enough to run this four times, each time as a pacer.
Pacing such a big race as London Marathon is huge fun, even running with a big flag on my back. My usual spot of 3hrs 59 is a popular finish time and it’s been a great privilege to bring people over the line.
When I started running this race. I was not a cyclist at all and there was no such thing as the London Classics....

Ride London is a legacy from the 2012 Olympic Games. A three day cycling festival held annually it culminates in a 100 mile bike ride which loops out of London to the popular Surrey Hills and back into London. In its first year 50,000 applied to cycle the route on closed roads, and 16,000 got through in the ballot. It’s increased in popularity and size year on year and in 2015 it was my turn to get in the saddle.
Not a confident cyclist, peddling up and down hills is not my forte. I was training for an Ironman at the time and Ride London was two weeks after the IM... so I figured .. why not!
After being dragged round by my faster friends (at a pace I reserve for sprint triathlons!) at 97 miles my legs gave up on me! I can remember hearing the crowds at the finish line as I stood watching people suddenly sprint for the finish. The finish line is the same spot as London Marathon. I tried my best to pull myself together to duck in under 5hrs 30, which was a huge 100 mile bike PB for me.
My bike went into the shed after this. It’s been out once since 😂

Perhaps the most surprising hangover from my triathlon is a new found love for swimming in the open water. My first experience had given me a panic attack. It happened again mid-Swim race.. but I persevered under the encouragement of friends to get over the fear. This year, when I heard about the London Classics, I knew it was time to get back in the wetsuit and get swimming.
My friend Sophie had to really cajole me into it, after all it had been a couple of years. However once we had signed up to Swim Serpentine, I found myself returning to the open water with a new found confidence.
Only two years old this event was much bigger than I was expecting. 2 miles around the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, we were amongst thousands competing over various distances from half a mile to six miles. This year, for the first time ever there was a wave for people who had run London Marathon and cycled Ride London to complete the newly formed Classics.
For me, this event was superb. Energised by a newly found swim confidence and it was superbly organised I really enjoyed the event. I swam to the best of my ability. Getting out of the water, along with my friends Sophie, Tim, Emily and Chris, we entered the newly created London Classics Hall of Fame.
This year 568 people finished Swim Serpentine, all entered the Hall of Fame, and all got the absolutely superb medal as a reward. It’s a humdinger of a medal too.
It says “Et ego Londinium vici“
I too have conquered London.


London Classics Hall of fame http://lmfiles.realbuzz.com/Images/LondonClassics/LondonClassics-hall-of-fame.pdf

Pacing London Marathon

With Sophie (who made me do it!) and friend Tim

The medal

Ride London