Stockton Duathlon. Sunday 26th April 2105
I have great memories of this race last year, including just outsprinting fellow Leeds Bradford Triathlon Club mate and training partner Eleanor Haresign for the win. So I was returning to the North East to try and retain my title.
Unfortunately it wasn't to be - Eleanor got her revenge this year and outclassed me on the day. Well done Ele, top racing. I finished 2nd in the Stockton Standard distance Duathlon, a decent start to the 2015 race season.
Why I love racing the Stockton Duathlon
- Closed roads for both the run and bike make this race fantastic for fast racing, with no cars to worry about.
- Superbly organised by the TriHard events team.
- Fantastic atmosphere. The event village with marquees, food stands and seating is located on the edge of the River Tees. The bike course loops past on one side 5 times and the run passes by on the other side 3 times in total, therefore making it super spectator-friendly. And, as a competitor you get to pass a wall of spectators 8 times over the race.
- Top prize money. Stockton Duathlon awards £1000 for the top three men and £1000 for the top 3 women (£500 for 1st, £300 for 2nd and £200 for 3rd). I don't race for the prize money but this really makes you feel valued, and your time and effort in training and travel appreciated.
- Free event photos. All competitors were photographed at numerous points in the race and all of these images were available a day after to download for free.
I honestly think Stockton Duathlon is the best Duathlon in the UK that I have experienced. Great value for money, closed roads, top prizes, high class competition, a fantastic course and great atmosphere. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
A few notes from my race
- I was happy to run at a sensible pace for the first 10km run, 38.48. As I knew a standard distance duathlon is a 2 hour effort, caution is the best way to begin. Slightly slower than last years 38min dead, but considering I have spent more time Aqua Jogging (running in water) than on land this winter, I was expecting this.
- I came out of T1 1 minute up on Eleanor, and through the 5 lap 40km bike I peddled like mad to keep her at bay... almost. She caught me just before we dismounted our bikes. The lapped nature of the course means an exciting style of racing, and being good friends as well as competitors meant it was a fun battle.
- T2 (transition 2, from the bike to the run) was where I messed up big time! Eleanor and myself came into T2 together, but she left 25 seconds before me, and that sums it up! Lesson learnt. I must check I have the correct elastic laces in my trainers: time wasted struggling to put my trainers on.
- The final 5km run, was a painful lesson in survival. I could see Eleanor, but I couldn't catch her. My legs were in a world of pain, and I was left willing the finish line to appear.
- Eleanor was too good for me on the day. It was another top quality battle that was great fun (except for the final 5km run!) My final time of 1.03.42 was slightly quicker than last year. With the running being slower but my bike leg almost 2 minutes quicker. With the best result being my Achilles held up 100% pain free.
The first race of the season is done, and I know I will only get fitter and faster from here, so I look forward to the next race with excitement.
Suzie Richards - Raceskin Sponsored Athlete