My aim over the last year or so ever since I won my first Age Group World title in 2014 was to compete for Great Britain in the elite duathlon team. In 2016 I achieved this and am very proud to have represented my country at the highest level. In order to do this, I first of all had to qualify.
At the start of 2016 I competed in the British Elite Duathlon Championships in Windsor Park, which is held over the sprint distance only. The cycle leg is draft legal so my aim was to stay at the front of the pack on the first run then not get dropped on the cycle leg, and that all went to plan. However the cycle leg was hard and although I was up at the front on the second run I lost ground and finished 5th overall. But on the strength of this performance I was delighted to be selected for the GB Elite squad (of only 2 men, myself and the very experienced Phil Wylie) for the European Championships in Germany later that month.
Again I ran well but struggled on the cycle leg as the draft legal cycling in the elite events is so new to me, especially tactically. I finished 14th in a strong field and learnt a lot. It was a great experience and I know exactly what to work on with my cycling!
After Germany I wasn’t expecting a GB Elite call up again any time soon. So when I got the call to represent GB in the World Duathlon Championships in Spain in June 2016 I was surprised but very pleased to be given another chance. This time there is a team of 5 elite men, namely Richard Horton, Phil Wylie, Danny Russell, Dan Jenkin and myself.
The pace in the individual event was fast and furious. After the first run I managed to stay with the chasing pack in the second cycle group. The second run was a good one and I was delighted to finish 10th and the highest placed in the GB team on the day. The crowds and the support were tremendous – a great event to be part of.
The following day I raced as a member of the GB Elite Mixed Relay team, which included the winner of the women’s elite race the day before, Emma Pallant. We won a silver medal and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.