Stockton Duathlon

Two of our TORQ Triathletes where out for a pay day and duly came in as 1st Female and 2nd Male overall. Tremendous racing again from the pair and the big races are all yet to come…

Eleanor Haresign’s race: Last year, I really enjoyed racing a sprint finish with my friend and training buddy Suzie, so a re-match was on, and I was also keen to re-kindle some sharp end speed ready for the Summer.  The weather was looking a bit kinder this time, although the wind had picked up by the 1pm leisurely start time, but the opposite direction to last year.

As a result, I went off way too hard from the gun and headed down the river to the Tees Barrage with the tailwind, before catching sight of my ridiculous heart rate number and wondered how on earth Suzie and Emma were going so fast? I spent the rest of the first lap having a heap of guys come past and felt like I was going backwards. One kind chap was either more confident about my performance than me, or thought I had blown all my matches and said “Don’t worry, it’s only lap one.” However, I couldn’t pick up the pace to stay with him and he sailed past anyway!

By the time I was onto the bike, I had written off a good race as the gap to Suzie and Emma was bigger than last year and I started making all the excuses in my head about having just done an Ironman recently etc etc. However, the legs felt good on the bike and the closed roads, five-lap course is so much fun. I got stuck in and slowly but surely the gaps closed down.  Having caught Emma on lap 3, I ended up overtaking Suzie a bit further back from T2 than last year. I realized tactics were key. I sprinted through T2 like a tornado and pelted the first km, Brownlee-style, trying to hold out a gap, in the hope that it would look insurmountable.

I kept waiting for Suzie to come past me, before I got a last look back across the dock at about 3k, to realize my tactics had actually worked! After that, the course had a few twists and turns and the strategy to stay just out of sight was in my favour. I knew once I was coming down off the last bridge (on to the waterfront), that the win was in the bag. I therefore made the most of the tailwind and enjoyed the approach all the way to the Finish. As previously, Stockton put on a great, well organized race, with a lovely atmosphere, plenty for spectators, and some dragon boat races down the river to keep us entertained on the final run!

Alex Lawton’s race: Duathlon’s……slightly less packing for a bit more pain.I am always up for some early doors racing and most years I tend to do a couple before the Triathlons get going. After enjoying a great injury free Winter, the previous few weeks had shown that I had some issues brewing with my right Achilles. With a stark realization, I was aware that if I wasn’t careful, things could go from bad to worse. I felt that if I was not careful I’d soon be reduced to aqua jogging in the slow lane, or not having to worry about any bike to run transitions this year!

As ever, I knew I could call on Andy Chalmers ( to sort things out, but as things seemed to be moving in the right direction, I decided to head out and race. Whether doing a 10k run – 40k bike – 5k run was sensible is open for debate?

Run 1 set off quickly, but not too quick until a couple of runners started to pull away. Subconscious skepticism about risking something snapping (and knowing that there was still a long way to go) meant I didn’t try to chase. Thankfully the run felt comfortable (a bit too comfortable in hindsight) and entering T2, a group of 3-4 of us were about a minute down on 1st – 2nd.

I’m a fan of lapped bike courses – where there’s chances to gauge if you’re gaining ground on those ahead and the course layout keeps things interesting as there are fast straights, dead turns and roundabouts to negotiate. After a sluggish transition, I spent the first 3 laps catching our first run group before I could add a circa 10 second buffer into T2, but the gap to 1st was still at about a minute.

Back for 1 more lap of the 5k course, 2nd place and the avoidance of a DNF would be a positive and something to build on. This is how it finished, so credit to the overall winner, and it was that initial gap in the first run which was just too costly on the day.

T’was an enjoyable race on a fine day however and the last Duathlon before the Tri seasons gets underway – at what’s looking like a rainy day in Horwich on the 3rd May.

A big thank you to our sponsors for making it happen: – Triathlon Frames – Race Wheels – Wetsuits – Cycle Tyres – Saddles – Speedfil Hydration Systems – Pumps, Tools, Bottle Cages – Triathlon and Cycle Apparel – Lubrication – Bottles – Sunglasses – Helmets & Glasses – Cycling Footwear – Cables & Housing – goggles – Groupsets – Transition Bags – Power Meters – Custom Garmin Mounts