Docklands hosts world’s biggest triathlon

The world’s biggest triathlon event came to the Docklands this weekend with around 14,000 competitors, including Sir Richard Branson and Stacey Solomon.

With a starting point at the ExCel, the Virgin Active London Triathlon saw athletes swimming in the Royal Victoria Dock, hopping on bikes inside the centre and finishing with runs along the dockside.

Around 55,000 spectators are estimated to have watched the action on Saturday and Sunday, which included Olympic Plus distances with 80km bike rides taking in Billingsgate and Westminster.

Sir Richard, whose Virgin Active fitness chain sponsored the event, tackled the swimming leg of the relay event on Saturday, finishing with an uncustomary backstroke.

He said: “I think I broke the rules, not sure I should have swum backstroke but it was good to have got around.”

Sir Richard passed the baton on to JLS singer Ortise Williams for the cycling leg before model and fitness enthusiast Nell McAndrew tackled the final run.

She stormed through her leg of the course in a time of 19 minutes 35 secs.

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I’m A Celebrity star Stacey Solomon celebrated completing the course but said on Twitter she wasn’t sure she would take part again.

Sprint events on Saturday involved a swim of 750m, a 20km bike ride followed by a 5km run.

Dominic West, star of The Wire, and celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli endured the Olympic distance course on Sunday when the elite athlete races were also held.

The Brits finished on top, with Scot Ritchie Nicholls winning the men’s elite event in a time of one hour, 45 minutes and nine seconds.

Olympic hopeful Jodie Stimpson claimed the women’s elite title in one hour, 56 minutes and 48 seconds and said she was hoping for more wins this year.

Speaking after the race she said: “I’ve been a lot more consistent and I’m delighted to take my first victory of the season.”