MORE than 600 athletes completed the 11th Wilmslow Triathlon on Sunday.

Matt Barnes and Steph Banns claimed the wins in the popular sprint-distance event which attracts competitors of all levels and sells out well in advance each year.

The grueller started at 7am with a 400m swim in the five-lane, 25-metre pool at the Wilmslow Leisure Centre before competitors headed out into the picturesque Cheshire countryside for a 24.2km, mostly flat, cycle, followed by a 6.3km run.

Men’s race winner Barnes from Manchester Triathlon Club got off to a strong start in the water and although he clocked a slightly slower cycle than his two main rivals, his fast run assured him of the title with a time of 1hr 5mins 45secs.

He was just over a minute ahead of second-placed Paul Hawkins from

Cole Drews from Team Tri Guru came in half a minute later to claim third place.

In the women’s race, Banns put in a fantastic performance to be first female out of the water and at the front of the women’s field in both the cycle and run.

She clinched first place in 1:16.25, a comfortable four-and-a-half minutes ahead of Emily Newton from Royal Navy Tri Club. Third place was claimed by Charlotte Edmondson just over half a minute later.

In the sprint-distance swycle – consisting of the swim and cycle legs but no run – William Price took the men’s title, while Gill Myers claimed the women’s and overall prize.

Michael Kar Mann Lim and Kate Hebden were winners of respective men’s and women’s titles in the sprint-distance aquathlon, consisting of a 400m swim and a 5km run.

The South Manchester Triathlon takes place at the same venue on Sunday, September 17.