This was a 10km cross country event for the home countries teams of 4 runners each from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In addition there were teams from Northern Athletics (whom I represented) and the Midlands.
The event was held at Falkirk in Scotland and the course and venue were a pleasure to compete at. I finished 5th in a strong field in a time of 31.54. The Scottish winner’s time was 31.27 and he was followed by England runners coming in at 2nd, 3rd and 4th but I was delighted with my 5th place just in front of the final England counter.
The Oulton Park Spring Duathlon is the first event of the season after a winter of training for everyone so it is a good test of exactly how well that training has gone. The event is also a qualifier for the World Age Group Championships later in 2016 in Spain so competition is fierce, with a total field of 287 athletes of all age groups competing for a coveted GB place.
The weather was a bit grim as we prepared to start. The temperature was just above freezing and there was a snow flurry as we warmed up. But by the time the starting gun fired it had cheered up, although the bike course was a bit wet and conditions were cold.
This was a drafting cycle event so a new experience and one which I enjoyed. Three of us worked together on the front, keeping the pack at bay for most of the cycle leg.
I managed to hit the front during the second run and give myself a lead, finishing over 30 seconds clear by the end.
So after a while to recover we had the presentation – and the obligatory lager shower to celebrate!
So a great start to the 2016 season and an enjoyable event all round.