The Uk school games was the first race of 3 on consecutive weeks. It was a great experience and lots of fun- probably one of my favourite races, although my race was pretty frustrating.
We (team Scotland) travelled as a team from Stirling- 2 boys, 3 girls (one being a paratri guide) and 2 coaches. We left on the Wednesday and got back on the Sunday, with the real event starting on Thursday and ending on Sunday. The school games were designed to be just like a big games, for example the olympic or commonwealth games, and it really did have that feel. There were 10 sports involved and we all stayed at Loughborough university so it was like an athlete village! There was even a youtube livestream of the aquathlon (which 5177 people watched) and the relay (which 2869 people watched). I had friends who I run with competing in athletics and laser-run and a friend who I hadn’t seen in years doing cycling, so it was really great to see friends from other sports there too. The other boy in my team and I actually managed to go and see the athletics and cycling. It was pretty cool to see all the different sports, and for our relay event they came to watch us as well, so we had a solid crowd.
My team stayed at a hotel near loughborough on the Wednesday night as it would’ve been too long a drive on Thursday since we had to be at the Campus by 1. The journey was actually enjoyable because we were chatting on the way down and had such a good team spirit. The school games format was different to usual. It composed of aquathlon heats and finals on the Thursday, a technical bike test and then a circuit race on the Friday. In the aquathlon heat I was planning on using the least amount of energy possible, but still getting in the top 3 so I could go to the left of the pontoon. I ended up leading a group of 4 or 5 into the last few turns so I just sprinted as I didn’t want to have used all that energy to come 4th! I won the sprint and my heat which set me and my team up nicely for the final as Struan (the other boy in my team) had also won his heat. In the final we came out the swim in prime position- Struan first and me second with a few seconds to third, but I dropped back to third on the run and Struan managed to stay in 1st, so we still got the 1-3 which I was very happy with.
The next day there was a bike skills test in the morning, where we had to do a figure of 8 around 2 cones. The aquathlon times and our time for this were added together, and afterwards we did a circuit race in pursuit format based off the combined times. I had managed to work my way up on the skills test, so Struan started in first and me in second, but there were 2 other boys 2 seconds behind me. I tried to work with the 2 other boys for the first quarter to try and catch struan but they weren’t strong enough as I dropped them when taking my turn on the front. One guy caught back up but at that point I was just waiting for the front pack as there was no point staying out in the wind. The front pack caught and going into the last 500m, one boy attacked and only 4 of us followed. I was in second in the pack when the boy in front of me started taking his feet out (I thought it was too early), but before I could go round him somebody else did I was boxed in. I could’ve went round the boy after but I had to take my feet out my shoes and by the time I did that, there was no time to catch those 2 boys, and Struan who was out front. I came in 4th which is still good, but I was quite disappointed and frustrated. Struan won which was great for the team so well done to him.
The relay the next day was in the evening, so there were lots of other athletes watching, with many being scots. The order was girl/boy/girl/boy, so I went off in second. Melissa went off first and had a good start handing over in 7th, but a good bit behind the front 4. I managed to catch one guy in the pool, who I worked with on the bike to catch someone else, and then outran both of them (I had one of the fastest runs so was pleased with that) to hand over in 5th to isla. Isla then brought us up to second before caught the team in front so we came away with the win! We were so happy and it really did show how strong we were as a team. I loved the games and it was a great experience to be a part of.