This is my second season racing in the French Grand Prix series for the Envy Epinay team. The team was unfortunately relegated from Division 1 last year but the competition in Division 2 is still fierce.
The races are all duathlons with a variety of formats from team time trials to individual events over different courses and distances – so a challenge every time. I fly to Paris on Fridays, check out the course with my team on Saturday and race on Sunday, then fly home again.
A long weekend always but excellent training and British Triathlon expect those looking for selection to the GB Elite team to take part.
This was a last minute entry for me as I was hoping to be selected for the GB Elite team for the Europeans the following weekend but it was not to be. So off to Stockton I went and had a great race there.
I battled it out with local runner and friend Lewis Timmins and managed to win by the narrow margin of 5 seconds.
But it wasn’t easy. That’s me collapsed on the floor being generally ignored by everybody.
Today was not such a good day for me in a very important race. No photos I’m afraid.
I ran the first leg well enough and was up with the chasing pack at the end of the bike leg but my second run let me down. I lost 30 seconds over 2.5km on the same course as I competed on only 4 weeks ago, but today I just ran poorly off the bike. It just goes like that sometimes.
I finished 7th but needed third or fourth to be considered for selection for the GB Elite team going to the Europeans in April.
(The winner, Adam Bowden, subsequently came 4th in the World Triathlon series in Leeds in June behind the Brownlee brothers.)
This was an early season duathlon event held at Bedford Autodrome, a fast, flat race track which gives fast bike times and is a popular event attracting a field of over 250 athletes. The conditions were wet however so careful bike handling was needed on the tight bends.
Carl ran the first 5km leg with Tom Crouch, a duathlete who also competes in the French Grand Prix series through the summer months. They ran together and worked as a pair in the 20km draft legal bike section at the front of the main field. before Carl pulled away on the second 2.5km run to win by 31 seconds in a time of 53 minutes and 45 seconds.
A good early season race prior to the start of the duathlon races in France and the British Elite Championships (also to be held at Bedford Autodrome) in April. And only a day after the Inter Counties Cross Country race so a testing weekend of training and racing.
The Inter Counties Championship marks the end of the cross country season and is an important event in selection for the World Cross Country Championships for the top athletes. This year it was held at Prestwold Hall near Loughborough.
Morpeth senior men ran well to win both the 6 and 9 man team events. Individually, Carl ran a superb race to finish 10th overall.
Morpeth Harriers website has this extract:
A superb team performance saw the regions Senior Men take the six-man title in their 12k event for the seventh time in succession, and the thirteenth time in all since the competition’s inception in 1926.There was certainly dominance attached to the North-East performance, when it was also revealed that they had won the nine to score award in addition.Leading the squad home was Jonny Taylor of Morpeth Harriers, who was well up with the race leaders on the first of three circuits, that were now well churned up following the previous nine events. Taylor for his part finished ninth, a placing which also gave him second place in the UK Challenge listings, behind race winner Andy Vernon of Aldershot, and representing Hampshire, who finished in fourth team place, behind the North East, second placed Surrey and third placed Middlesex.
Carl Avery (4556) in the Senior Mens race on Saturday
Second home for the North East was Taylor’s Morpeth Harriers club colleague Carl Avery, who ran superbly to finish tenth and only three seconds adrift. Nick Swinburn made it a Morpeth Harriers 1,2, 3 at the helm of North East team affairs when finishing in 22nd place, just six seconds and one place ahead of the regions fourth counter Phil Wylie of Cheltenham.
The Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships were held at Knowsley Safari park on Merseyside on 29/1/17 in good weather after heavy overnight rain. So the course quickly became a mud bath with gruelling conditions for all. Morpeth Harriers had a good team with the chance of a gold medal in a strong field.
Carl ran a good race, starting about 30 runners behind the leaders and gradually moving up through the field – that’s Carl on the far left of the picture.
He reached the top 10 runners and held that position in the field for a while.
However, he wasn’t quite able to maintain that pace and lost out on a couple of places in the tight closing stages, eventually finishing 13th in a time of 42 minutes 51 seconds with less than a minute separating the 10 runners immediately ahead of him .
As a team Morpeth Harriers just missed out on the gold but were nevertheless pleased with a hard earned silver medal.
New Year’s Day saw the Morpeth 11k Road Race take place with around 170 runners taking part. After leading for much of the race, Carl was just beaten into second place by 13 seconds by his Morpeth Harriers colleague, Pete Newton, who finished in 33 min 28 secs to Carl’s 33 mins 41 secs.
Carl was also second in 2015 with a time of 35 mins 1 sec so this year’s time was a significant improvement which bodes well for the cross country season ahead. Overall, a good post Christmas run and a great start to 2017.
The North East Cross Country Championships, held this year at Durham, are always keenly contested and this year was no different.
Morpeth Harriers achieved a superb first, second and third place in the senior men.
Here’s a extract from the Harrier’s website:
Undoubtedly the best performance on the day came in the Senior Men’s 12k Championship, where the club took all three individual medals, courtesy of Jonny Taylor, who enjoyed his second win in the event, second placed Nick Swinburn, and third placed Carl Avery. Taylor, who took the Championship at Newcastle’s Town Moor in 2014, eventually stole away on the final lap of three very tough circuits, to win by a margin of three seconds from his very hard working clubmate Swinburn, who was seeking his first victory after finishing second to Taylor in 2014, and also second to Sunderland Harrier Mark Hood at Wrekenton in 2008.
Avery, who had finished second to Stockport’s former Sunderland Harrier Patrick Martin at a snow-covered Sedgefield twelve months ago, and eighth to Taylor in 2014, was also hoping for individual glory, however he eventually succumbed to the pressure added by his two front running club colleagues, and settled for third place, a further fifty-four seconds adrift.
He had also battled to hold off the early close attentions from Durham City’s Dan Garbutt, himself a former Champion, being a winner at South Shields in January 2013, following a postponement of the 2012 Championships in December 2012, because of adverse conditions.
This event is the anniversary of the start my running career – my duathlon partner Steve Patterson and I first competed in it in 2013 as our inaugural event. We missed the start on that day but we managed to get there in time this year!
I was pleased to finish first in a time of 31m 59s on a difficult and undulating course (with a minor detour when I took the lead runners the wrong way). Steve ran well to finish 13th in 38m 23s. A good day out.