Ella's wheelchair accessibility review: Dorney Lake Duathlon

Booking/Pre-race info

As always the booking process with ATW was nice and smooth, and I received the race pack with plenty of time. This included info on registration opening time, parking, toilets, catering and much more. There was transition info and course maps for all races.

As Dorney is only an hour or so from me I’ve never stayed in a hotel nearby, but there are two premier inns 20 minutes away located in Slough. These tend to be the most reliable for accessibility!

Race day

I was once again travelling solo, maybe not my smartest idea when there were transitions involved but hey! Gotta do what you gotta do. Luckily there were some amazing marshals who gave me a hand setting up and during transition.

We had to find the groundsman on site who gave the key to the accessible toilet to the paramedics so I had access to that throughout the day, he also gave me the lift codes so I could access the changing rooms and café.

I had a very short warmup around the start of the bike course, all races were starting at the same time so the course was nice and quiet to go and have a little push round.

I set off 30 seconds before the runners, I almost always do this as a safety measure as it’s not good for me or the people running around me to get tangled up in each other! The run course (right hand side of the lake) at Dorney is absolutely lush as long as the wind behaves itself, it’s super flat and there’s barely any camber so it makes pushing either a race chair or day chair an absolute dream. I was in the sprint race so a 5km run, 20km bike then 2.5km run at the end. The 5km run course goes up to the end, turns around and comes back along the top path, there is a slightly sharp turn but as no one was out on the bike I went around the far side of the cones. Transition in was nice and straightforward and I’d been given an area at the end of a row so had plenty of space.

The bike course runs along the left hand side of the lake, it’s 4.9km and you lap it 4x during a sprint race, remember you’re in charge of counting your own laps! It can change from running either clockwise or anti-clockwise depending on race day, both ways have fairly sharp turns at either end but they are fine as long as you take them carefully. Otherwise it is a nice, flat and kind course. The weather was not so nice to me this time and we had torrential rain about 2.5/3 laps in, got to love racing in the UK! Bike in/out was around the ‘traffic island’ by the left hand side of the clubhouse so was nice and easy to nagivate.

Run two saw you head back out and over a timing mat, the turn for this was slightly tighter as you had to go through the barriers but you should be taking it easy out of transition areas anyway so was fine to navigate, the turnaround point is clearly signposted, run two was slightly tougher for me as rain and race chairs are not best friends, I struggled a little bit up the slope at the turnaround point but nothing too bad, I headed back towards the finish line and got slightly caught up behind some runners in a coned off shoot. I was lucky that up until this point it was quiet, but as there are other running races going on alongside the duathlon just be mindful of who’s on course. They were on their way to another lap and I was on my was to the finish so just had to be a little bit loud and let them know where I was going.


To summarise, another great day with the ATW team with a nicely planned out day, super flat and fast (you are definitely allowed to class Dorney as pancake flat!) and a course I would recommend for any para athletes. Especially if you’re giving duathlon/triathlon a go for the first time, it’s the ideal venue to try out. Now to wait until it’s warm enough to get in the lake again…