Despite challenging conditions and a cancelled swim, British athletes excelled at the ITU World Long Distance Championships in Belfort, France. Jodie Swallow finished fifth in the elite race and the Age Group team won three gold, four silver and three bronze medals.
Unseasonably cold conditions saw the swim cancelled two days before the event and the race was changed to a long distance duathlon consisting of a 10km run, 89km bike a 20km run. However, the spectacular venue and the prospect of climbing the second category Tour de France climb of Ballon D’Alsace was greatly anticipated.
Swallow finished fifth, missing out on the opportunity to use her excellent swimming ability but still producing another solid international performance. After the opening run she moved up steadily through the field on the bike and held on during the final run. The race was won by Melissa Hauschildt of Austria. The elite men’s race was won by Bertrand Billard of France.
The challenging course proved to suit the Great Brain Age Group team with an outstanding haul of ten medals. The women scooped two double podiums with Gold and Silver in the F25-29 and the F45-49 Age Groups. The men joined in the double success in the M50-54 Age Group with silver and bronze.
Catherine Faux (F25-29) retained her world champion title from Vitoria Spain last year, setting the fifth fastest time overall, including the elite women. Peter Wilby won gold in the M30-35 Age Group. Gill Fullen (F45-49) was the final gold medallist for the Great Britain Age Group team.
Brian Carling (M45-49) returned to the Age Group team for the fourth time and reflected: “I’ve never done a duathlon before and now my first one was at a world championships!”
Great Britain Age Group team manager, Tim Whitmarsh said: “There were many outstanding performances on the day with a high number of athletes making it into the top ten. We’ve had some brilliant performances and eleven medals which is a great achievement.”
Results: ITU World Long Distance Triathlon Championships
F25-29 Catherine Faux
F45-49 Gill Fullen
M30-34 Peter Wilby
F25-29 Nikki Bartlett
M25-29 James Elgar
F45-49 Penny Gardiner
M50-54 Graham Brookhouse
M20-24 Christopher Walker
F50-54 Jeannie Fry
M50-54 Hilton Meneely