On the 29th of April 2023 I was lucky enough to compete for the GBR Age Group team for the second time this year. Following my podium at European championships and recent run form (PB’s in 5k and 10k) I went into this event with some confidence.
The event was the World Championships in Ibiza (I know right, what a location for it) and the weather was perfect! Cooler on a morning when I was racing, but warmed up through the day.
The event which I was competing in was the Sprint Duathlon (5k run, 20k bike, 2.5k run), but there were a vast number of multisport events happening over the week in Ibiza (duathlon with varying distances, aquathlon, cross duathlon, triathlon, etc).
Overall, the race went almost perfectly for me. I worked on some things which let me down in European championships, namely my transitions, and the practice paid off. On the day I finished 32nd out of 453 athletes, 7th in my age group and 3rd brit. While I was hopeful to get on the podium after my success at Europeans, I was humbled by the standard of athletes who turned up at the event and it’s made me more hungry to succeed moving forward. Hard work pays off, and I’ve got a year to improve, but for now I can’t wait to relax and enjoy the summer.
My report from the race is below:
They set out hard and fast. The race was set off in several waves due to the size of the race and I was in the first / youngest. In all the excitement the lead group set off way too quickly. Unfortunately, this dragged a lot of the people I was racing along, so I had to keep up. The pace settled but after the first km I was already 10 seconds off the lead group. I ran just shy of my 5k PB pace and burned a match or two to hold onto the group I settled in.
This went really well. I got out onto the bike into the pack I was in
I was in a group of 6 chasing down the large group that got away on the first run. However, we got to within 10-15 seconds of the group and the group of 6 I was in slowly started shrinking until it was down to 3 of us. We worked very hard together but the front group pulled away and we were swallowed up by a big group behind. I sat in and recovered for the remainder of the bike to save myself for the second run. At the end of the bike, I placed myself in the front three to make sure I was one of the first into transition.
Again, this also went really well. This was a big problem for me at European championships so I worked hard on it before this event.
This run was quite a bit slower than my first run given I had ran so hard on the first run and worked hard on the bike in a group of 3 as well. However, I settled into a group again which eventually whittled down to me and one other GB athlete who was in my age group. We were neck and neck until the last 100m on the blue carpet where we settled the race – luckily I was able to outsprint them for 3rd brit. The exhaustion after crossing the line hit me immediately, and I found myself in the foetal position catching my breath for a good 30 seconds post-race (video of this).
I’m lucky to have pre-qualified for next year’s events because of my performance in both European and world championships. This means I don’t have to refocus on any duathlons for the year, and can pick them up again next year ready for the races.
However, even though I have qualified to compete next year I want to share how accessible it is for anyone to compete! There are a wide variety of events (listed above). They have different entry requirements, but for the sprint duathlon I had to turn up at one of the three qualifying events and finish in the top 4 in my age group. I did this and got the chance to compete for Team GB! It was amazing seeing everyone at the events, there was an 85 year old athlete competing amongst their age group – it was inspiring, I hope that’s me in the future!
Link to age group info below: