MORE than 350 people braved the annual Pedal Paddle Pace (PPP) triathlon in Winchester last Sunday.

The event, which was first set up in 2004, raised around £15,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, and will help fund specialist health care, information and financial help to people affected by cancer.

Participants gathered at Palmer’s Field, off Garnier Road, for registration and briefing before heading up to the Guildhall for the start, officially opened by the Mayor, Cllr Eleanor Bell.

Organiser Mike Sharpe said: “We are delighted by the turnout and amazed at the commitment everyone has shown to completing our triathlon.

“This year we welcomed our first blind competitor and our first electric bike – we welcome everyone to our race as every entry means £40 more for Macmillan and the brilliant work they do.”

Heading off in three waves, competitors cycled 20km through the villages of Easton and Avington before returning to Palmer’s Field.

From there, they followed a 5km running route along the Sustrans route over Hockley Viaduct, and peddled 2km in a kayak towards the finish line.

Julian Mann claimed back the title he won in 2017, completing the course in 1 hour, two minutes and 59 seconds.

He was closely followed by last year’s winner Matt Robinson and Rob Carter in third.

Just 47 seconds separated Becky Hobbs and Bea Searle in the women’s classification.

The team title went to The Three Gamigos for a second year in a row, holding off a strong finish from the PLB team – Pedalit, Leggit, Boatit.

Dave Johnston, piloting his blind teammate Mark Brooke-Smith around the course for his first ever triathlon, said: “Huge thanks to everyone on the 2019 PPP team, organisers, all the friendly and helpful marshals for yet another brilliant event.

“Special thanks from Mark and me for arranging the 2-man kayak for us - we had a blast and the support from other competitors out on the run was wonderful.”

Every finisher earned a wooden medal, a technical t-shirt, courtesy of sponsors Forrester’s Patent and Trademark Attorneys,and a well-earned rest, taking advantage of the picture perfect setting on Palmer’s Field next to the Itchen.

Mike and the organising team have already started planning next year’s race, starting with the date – July 12, 2020.

Mike added: “This is a big community event for Winchester and we hope more people can get involved in raising funds for Macmillan, whether through competing, volunteering or supporting on the day.”

Photos: Pete Sharpe, Lizzie Snowdon and Nigel Gilbert.