Father and son targeting title defences at British Duathlon Championships

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Leahn Parry and his son Dylan are aiming for another family double when they head to Oulton Park this weekend to defend their British duathlon titles.

It was double success for the Parry family at the British Standard Distance Duathlon Championships last October when Leahn won gold in the M45-49 age group as the 10th fastest male overall, while Dylan, who celebrated his 18th birthday this week, was first in the male U20 category.

Reflecting on the moment they shared on the podium together, Leahn said: “It was such a proud moment to see Dylan on the podium and to be able to share it with him made it even more special.

“You are focused on your own race and your own effort, and it can be hard to work out who is in which age group when you’re racing, so until you cross the line you never really know where you’ve placed.

“So, to find out I had won and then to see Dylan crossing the line to win his age group was a really nice feeling, especially having seen all the training and hard work he put in last year. It was a nice surprise to be driving home with two gold medals in the car.”

Last year’s championships was Dylan’s first standard distance duathlon and his first experience of a British Championships.

“I had raced at Oulton Park earlier in the summer, so I knew the track and I really enjoyed racing there,” Dylan said. “I felt a lot more confident in October than at the race in June, but it was a whole new experience for me because it was across a distance I had never raced before.

“It was a lot of unknowns, a lot of guess work, but it was an amazing feeling to cross the line and to be told you’re British champion. To be able to stand on the podium with my dad was amazing.”

Whilst Leahn has been involved in swim, bike, run since the year after Dylan was born, including representing the Great Britain Age-Group Team across multiple disciplines in that time, Dylan is still relatively new to multisport having combined his passions for bike and run during the lockdowns.

His transition into multisport came after spending time progressing his bike skills on Zwift and taking part in virtual duathlons, as well as recently beginning regular swim training.

“I really enjoy the community, I really enjoy the races, being with like-minded people, so it’s a really nice atmosphere every race,” Dylan added. “I’m not just racing the people around me, I’m racing myself, I know what I’m aiming for in each race, I know what targets are for that year. No matter the conditions on the course I can just do the best that I can.

“Dad would always go off in the summer to different countries to compete and that was always really cool and that was always the dream that one day I would get to do something really big. That’s going to finally happen this September when Dad and I are off to Spain for the European Championships which is really exciting.

“I’m at a stage now when I can actually train with him, rather than doing a similar session but at an easier intensity, this year I can actually enjoy doing what he does.”

Last year saw Leahn claim world bronze at the World Triathlon Duathlon Championships in Spain. Later this year he will be back in Spain for the European Standard Distance Duathlon Championships in September, when he will be joined on the GB Age-Group Team by Dylan for the first time.

“I’ve had the opportunity to travel and compete in different places and meet so many different people at races who I genuinely call friends, and now seeing the development and progression of Dylan within the sport is fantastic,” Leahn said.

“When Dylan was younger if I was doing a long run, he would cycle alongside me and then at the weekend we would both run. Now we’ll do sessions together, we train together after Dylan comes home from school or at the weekend, and we also compete against each other at cross country. I’m so proud of him to see how he’s come from someone who used to follow me around on the bike to now I’m following him, and that’s purely down to his own effort and determination. Not only am I a proud parent but also a proud training partner.”

This weekend the pair will once again line-up alongside each other on the Oulton Park start line as both Leahn and Dylan look to retain their British titles.

Speaking ahead of the event, Dylan said: “I’m very excited. I’ve looked forward to this date since we entered and it’s what I’ve been working towards. My aim is to defend my gold, if possible, but I want to see how well I can do and give him [his dad] a good run for his money.

“I’ve made a few changes to my training, my bike and my run style slightly so we’ll see how that all pays off, but I love racing at Oulton Park, it’s a really nice track, a lovely atmosphere, it should be a really good day of racing.”

Preparing to defend his M45-49 British title, Leahn added: “This time around it’s at the beginning of the year so it’s going to be interesting, especially as the fields are much deeper this year which is great because that’s what it should be for a British Championships. But I’m going there to try and defend my title, I’ve got a taste for it now after last year and then it’s building up to the Worlds and Europeans later in the year.”

Championships and Qualifiers

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