BORDERS athlete Iain Veitch, of Peebles, took part in the Edinburgh New Year's Day Triathlon and won at the "bucket list event".

The event, which saw more than 300 participants race around the capital, is an ideal event for first-time triathletes as well as seasoned competitors like Iain.

Following a number of successes at events throughout 2023, Iain was the overall winner at the Edinburgh triathlon after coming out on top in the open 40-49 age category.

He said: "The New Year’s Day triathlon is a real bucket list event in the Scottish/British triathlon racing calendar.

"With around a third of competitors being first time triathletes it has served as a gateway drug to triathlon for a lot of people (including myself) over the years.

"It also serves as a great test event for the more serious athletes looking to see where their winter training has taken them or as a kick up the backside to shake off the festive indulgences."

Beginning with a 400 metre swim in the commonwealth pool, each athlete took their turn diving in depending on the speed at which they were predicted to complete the swim.

"I was number 391 which meant I had about an hour to wait from the race starting," Iain added. "I had nine athletes starting behind me."

Although he started his swim strong, Iain started to fall behind, and the nine athletes who entered the pool after him had passed him.

Making the transition from the pool to his bike, Iain and his fellow competitors were given a "serious slap in the face" by the cool conditions outside.

With their kit in the car park outside the pool, it was a quick change over to complete the bike portion of the race which covered 11 miles, equalling three clockwise loops circling around Arthur's Seat.

Iain said: "The weather was a lot better than it could have been but the cold was still a serious slap in the face after running out of the warmth of the commonwealth.

"I opted for speed over putting additional layers on and hoped I wouldn’t regret it on the bike.

And despite being soaked and freezing, once Iain caught sight of his fastest competition his focus on passing them trumped his attention to the cold conditions.

He said: "Soaking wet, in a skimpy tri suit, and heading down the hill to Holyrood Palace at 60kmh, there was some serious questioning of life choices.

"I was already freezing. Once at the first uphill section I started to defrost.

"It was here I caught sight of the fast guys, including a couple of the pre race favourites, so was able to focus on catching them instead of the cold.  

"I passed the guys I thought I needed to on the first main hill but due to the format of the start I was never totally sure who was ahead or behind so had to keep a reasonably honest pace up throughout."

Confident he had taken the lead, Iain stepped off his bike and took his time removing his helmet and donning his trainers - something he said was rather tricky with frozen fingers.

Left only with the 3.5 mile run, again clockwise around Arthur's Seat, Iain refused to become complacent and kept up a good pace, all while enjoying the surrounding scenery.

And not only were there lovely sights during the triathlon, Iain also enjoyed the sense of community during the event - both from fellow athletes and spectators along the route.

He said: "One of the great things about the race is that there are a lot of vocal spectators on course.

"A lot of them are just out and about walking off the excesses of the night before but it definitely adds the to buzz of the event.

"Another positive of the race is that you are never alone.

"Whether the fastest person or slowest there are other athletes pushing themselves around you, often wheezing encouragement or suffering beside you right to the end."