Nat Duathlon Champs

TORQ Triathletes have picked up both the male and female “National Champion titles” at the Tri England Duathlon Championships, run by Functional Fitness events. A very impressive achievement so early in the season, with very contrasting races…

Eleanor Haresign reports.

“Having this race on my doorstep in a beautiful setting at Newby Hall provided the ideal opportunity to stretch the race legs in the build up to the Lanzarote Ironman, in a month’s time. Not renowned for my running prowess, and lacking the swim portion, I felt relaxed going into this race – I just wanted to blow away the cobwebs, remember how to deal with race day nerves, doing transitions etc, and getting in the hurt box in a competitive environment.

My running has been improving this winter.  However, my focus has been preparing for the marathon; a much longer distance than I am used to, so I wasn’t sure whether the diesel engine would have enough turn of speed to be nippy over the 10 and 5k distances here. Indeed, a long hard run on Monday didn’t exactly serve as an ideal taper going into a short race and, on race morning, my calves and hammies were still a bit on the tight side.  I got a few funny looks doing a turbo warm up but it got my heart rate up, ready to deal with the intensity straight from the gun.  

It turned out to be a windy day (excellent prep for Ironman Lanzarote!) and I managed to run smart, tucking in behind some others on the exposed windy section of the run. I was particularly pleased with my first run split – quite a big improvement from racing over the same course last year and it bodes well for the ironman (fingers crossed!).

Coming out of T2 in the lead was a novel sensation for someone who tends to get ‘run down’.  My bike legs soon came good and it felt great to be out on the Tri bike with the race wheels on.  The course was quite technical with some twists and turns over the multi-lap course, which suited me well.  I take a lot of support from cheer-ers-on-ers, and the spectators from the car next to mine in the car park were particularly vocal.  It was great!

The final stretch into the headwind seemed to take it out of my legs and I felt worse than anticipated when I started out on the second run. Only one final lap, I thought, and not a whole marathon. Just suck it up, it’s not for long! Luckily, I was aware that I had a good lead, so I got to enjoy the final straight – my first duathlon victory and a National Title to boot!  

Mark and his team @f2events put on a great race for both competitors and spectators alike, and I look forward to returning to the venue for a triathlon later in the year.”

Alex Lawton reports.

“Alongside a few others on the start line, I had ambitions to win the race when I first put my name down. However, leading up to the race this ambition had changed to hope; hope that I’d get round in one piece! My last two races consisted of a tyre blowout and DNF when on for a result at the North West Duathlon Champs, followed by hobbling to the finish at the Elite Duathlon Champs a few weeks later (thanks to what seems to be a slight ligament sprain which doesn’t want to budge). So, after a good few weeks spending the evenings with a bag of peas and a cold foot, I was just pleased to be on the start line at Newby.

The first 10k went well and I came in about 30 seconds down from 1st (Julian Lings) but was happy enough with 33:18, knowing there was still a long way to go.

The bike course was flat(ish) and fast(ish), punctuated up with tough sections of grinding the gears into the headwind. As anticipated, during lap 2 of 3, my buffer from the 1st run was slowly closed and then reversed by some of the faster cyclists. By the end of the bike, I’d dropped back to 5th place and it felt like I’d have to run really well to get onto the podium. When it came to the last lap, with the power in the legs slowly dimimishing and with those ahead of me seemingly out of sight, it was a bit of a mental, as well as physical, battle to try and keep on pushing and believe that a decent result was still on the cards.

Rounding the corner out of T2, I was grateful to see that the effort was worth it and 1st – 4th places weren’t much more the 10-15 seconds ahead of me. Within 500m I’d moved up into 2nd before moving past Julian into 1st. Clearly a strong runner, Julian found something extra, upped his pace and stuck with me for the next couple of K’s . Things were starting to ache but the right ankle was hurting more than normal and I was just desperate for it to hold up and not fail me at this stage. A DNF would have been disappointing in any case but I’d rather have it happen in that first run than when a win was in touching distance.

I slowly opened a small gap between myself and Julian, which steadily grew whilst the pain from the ankle also seemed to be fading. Coming onto the final straight down towards the finish in front of Newby Hall, I knew the race was won and made sure I enjoyed crossing the line (something often missed due to wave starts in triathlon).

After the disappointment and frustration of the previous two races and, as much of a cliché as it is, this was a great reminder to enjoy every time you’re lucky enough to be out racing and that it’s also much more enjoyable when it ends in a win, of course.”

The event organiser and further information can be found here –

Triathlon England have reported on the event: –

The following link also provides a youtube clip from Tri England with our two TORQ National champions:

The popular triathlon news site has reported on the event

Full credits to sportssunday for the images, be sure to look at the website

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