Mark’s victory was a close contest as he faced tough competition from his fellow UK Sport lottery funded athletes Adam Bowden, Aaron Harris and David McNamee.
Mark was delighted with the win commenting: “It feels really good; this race was definitely going to be the hardest one out of the lot to win. I think this is my fourth year here. Tim Don won in my first year with Will Clarke second, so that was a really strong field and today was equally as strong with four or five guys off lottery funding racing, so it was hard right from the go.”
made the first move, establishing a 26-second lead in the opening 5km. However, Adam was unable to maintain his lead on the bike and was quickly reeled in by the chase pack as they embarked on their 20km cycle around the former airfield.
Out of T2, the reigning British Elite Duathlon Champion was determined to retain his title for a third successive year and the trigold graduate and now world-class athlete asserted his dominance at the front of the field establishing a lead that was never relinquished.
Mark crossed the line in 54.05, with Adam Bowden
making up a difficult transition to finish second in 54.18.
Adam was happy finishing behind his fellow Loughborough based athlete, commenting: “I feel delighted really; I put the race out there. My plan was to go out hard on that first run to put a bit of fatigue in my legs and see if I could hold on during the bike. I put my head down for the first two laps to give it as much as possible but they caught me. Mark’s experienced at duathlons here and all credit to him, he did well.”
In third place was David McNamee
with a time of 54.28. David added: “It was great, I had no expectations to get onto the podium today. This was the first race of the year and racing against these fast duathletes, it was good to get stuck in.”
David now travels to San Diego to race in his first ITU World Triathlon Series event of the season.
In the elite women’s race, Vanessa Raw
proved to have that extra element of run speed beating Olympian, Lucy Hall
into first place.
However, they didn’t have it all their own way as Ruth Morrey got the women’s race off to a blistering start with a 17.12 opening run split coming into T1 with a 30-second lead on her chasers.
On the bike, Vanessa and Lucy worked well together to bring Ruth back, before pushing the pace still further to establish a lead of over one minute into T2.
As they came towards the finish it was Vanessa who pulled ahead winning the British Elite Duathlon title in a time of 01:01.02, with Lucy fourteen seconds back in 01:01:16.
Vanessa commented on winning the British title: “Its good, it was tough today. I did a good job, me and Lucy worked well together on the bike and I felt much better on the bike, than I did on the run, strangely as I haven’t been riding much.”
Lucy was using the event as a test of her early season form and was happy with a second place finish behind Vanessa adding: “Really happy with that, it was a really good day out, Racing with Ness on the bike was really good practice for the season to come. I knew Ness was really strong on the bike and she said she was running well, so I didn’t know if I would end up with her or not. On that first run, I was just trying to keep her in sight, so if I could I try to jump on the back of her wheel. We ended up being on the bike together and caught the leader who was quite a way in front of us, she ran really well on that first run, so it turned out well.”
Ruth Morrey finished in third place overall, however was not eligible for the British title, so the bronze medal went to Kerry MacPhee from Scotland.