This is a series of races which provides a focus for endurance athletes to compete at mountain running events in the UK, with opportunities to be selected for Home country or National teams at International Championships, plus a further incentive to enter mountain races in Europe.
I have already competed in the first of the series, the Inter Counties Championships ( Up & Down ) – Betws-y-Coed, North Wales, which was held on Saturday 16 May. This was a tough 12km race which started with a steep uphill with some technical fast descending later in the race. I thoroughly enjoyed the race, (despite bruising my foot on a rock after about 3km) and finished first for the North East counties and 21st in the field.
The next in the series was the European Championship Trial ( Uphill ) – Glenridding, Lake District, Sunday 31 May. Unfortunately my foot had not recovered sufficiently for this race so I did not compete.
Alcobendas was the location for the 2015 European Age Group Duathlon Championships, a city located 15 km from Madrid. Alcobendas was more business than tourist orientated and the GB athletes all struggled to find much to do there, apart from prepare for the event.
However, this was an important competiton for me and one of the duathlons that my training season is centred around. The GB Elite Duathlon Championships at Rockingham, Corby on 28th March 2015 was the first of these duathlons but this event was reduced to a 10km run due to 50mph winds rendering the cycle course dangerous, so I was keen to put in a good performance at the Europeans.
Unfortunately we had torrential rain on the day of the event and the cycle course was treacherous. Many competitors came off their bikes and didn’t finish either through injury or mechanical problems after crashing. I narrowly avoided a similar fate on more than one occasion. The Spaniards were extremely good on such a technical course and took 6 of the first 7 places. I finished in second place, losing out by the narrowest of margins – by just one second in a time of 56 minutes 43 seconds- to the winner who finished in 56 minutes and 42 seconds!
So whilst I was disappointed to be beaten so narrowly into second place, I was nevertheless pleased to come away unscathed and with a European Sprint Duathlon Championships silver medal when the outcome could have been very different indeed.
To see the full results listing click on this link.
The Welsh National Sprint Duathlon Championships were held in the Vale of Glamorgan on Sunday 12th April, the day after the National 12 Stage Road Relays.
On a cloudy and rather breezy day, the 5km run route around the race circuit was followed by an out and back 26km cycle on undulating country roads, then back to the race circuit for the final 2.5km run.
My two runs were good times but I was well beaten by about 3 minutes on the cycle ride, finishing in second position overall. My time was close to the previous course record so I was happy with my performance, especially having raced the day before.
This event was also a qualifier for the European Sprint Duathlon Championships in 2016, in which I will be taking part.