The relays have been running since 1991 and have become a popular event in the triathlon calendar; originally held as an end of season championship event between clubs, they were revamped this year to also include teams of participants who aren't necessarily members of triathlon clubs.
On first glance, making sense of the format can be as exhausting as the race itself. A relay team of four people each complete the 500m swim, before the first person starts the 15km cycle and so on, until the last member of the team crosses the finish line at the end of their 5km run. Without a traditional transition, the need for a so-called 'fourth discipline' of triathlon seems to be met with gazebo construction, and many clubs set up camp to make a weekend of it, staying for the Sunday 'elite-style' tag relays too.
I raced on Saturday as part of a women's team with my club, Oxford Tri. Things became even more complicated for our men's team when their 4th member dropped out on the morning, leaving them to pick up an extra leg each, and solve some complicated logistics over their order and timing chips. We all made it around, with big smiles, and without missing a single changeover. That last bit isn't as easy as it sounds.
Here is a bit of the organisation, the chaos, and the fun from the day. If you fancy getting a team together to have a go next year, there is more information here. I really recommend it.