About 500 competitors took part in the two events that comprised the European Duathlon Championship qualifiers at Oulton Park motor-racing track in Cheshire on Sunday 2nd October. This was my first national event since the 1982 London Marathon, so had self-doubts to overcome.
The Sprint event which started at 9 AM consisted of Run 1 lap / Cycle 5 laps / Run 1 lap. Jonathan Barnes finished 6th overall & won his age group, Elliott Taylor finished 11th & Kevin Barnes also competed. I took part in the Standard distance event, running 2 laps (8.61km, 5.35 miles), cycling 9 laps (38.76km, 24mi), then running 1 final lap (4.307km, 2.675mi), finishing 209th out of 326 starters in 2 hrs 12 min.20. I finished 1st in my age group, 15 min in front of the 2nd placed competitor in my age group, which means I’ve qualified to represent GB in Spain at the end of April.
Starting at 1 PM on a glorious sunny day, the early pace set by the elite runners in the first run was hot & the field was stretched out early. Conditions were too warm for many, but the bike ride provided welcome cooling. The undulating track with a banked hairpin bend was fun and once into my rhythm, I really enjoyed the ride. There were a couple of climbs that required the full range of gears, followed inevitably by a sweeping downhill left-hand bend that I seem to take faster than anyone around me.
As usual, I ran strongly in the final lap, dredging up my final reserves for a fast final 100 metres. My pace for this lap was actually 2 seconds faster than in the first phase.
Hereford Courier’s Tim Taylor seemed satisfied with his performance, riding on his son’s bike. Ludlow Triathlon’s Mark Warren also won his age group (50-55). I plan to do it again next year, when it will be designated as National Championships, as it was last year, but not this year.
Many thanks to Stacey for suggesting I have a go.