MORE than 70 triathletes braved the cold sea at Burnham as one of three challenges in an Olympic distance triathlon in the town on Sunday.

Athletes from all over the UK took on the event, which included a gruelling 1,500 metre swim in the ice cold sea, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run.

The biting winds made for challenging conditions and some entrants were not able to complete the first stage of the challenge.

The RNLI launched their Sunday exercise early, and acted as safety co-ordinators, in liaison with the safety canoeists.

After the swim it was straight on to the cycle challenge to Wedmore, through Rooksbridge and Brent Knoll. As if all that wasn’t enough to tire them out, the challenge ended with a 10km run.

James Heal, of Somerset RC Tri, said: “I have entered twice before. The sea was a bit choppy, but I managed all right.

“The cycle ride was great on the way out, averaging 30 mph, but a bit of a slog on the way back. It was a brilliant event as always.”

The winner was Jack Plumber from West County Triathletes, who completed the challenge in 2hrs 11mins 11secs. Second male overall was Scott Jenkins. The female with the best time overall was Celia Miall, with 2hrs 32mins 55secs, followed by Nicki Barron.

Organisers at Burnham Swim and Sports Academy said the challenge went well and thanked all those who helped make the event possible.