Punta Umbria ETU Duathlon European Championships, IRONMAN New Zealand & IRONMAN 70.3 New Zealand
The southwest of Spain is graced with European duathlon action this weekend. Hundreds of British athletes will travel to the white beaches of Punto Umbria to compete across both sprint and standard distance duathlons.
Alistair Brownlee’s name was added to the start list this week. The two-time Olympic gold medallist missed out on racing action in Abu Dhabi but will test himself across a sprint format of a 5km run, 20km bike and 2.5km run in Spain this weekend. Brownlee had a phenomenal end to 2019 which saw him claim a record-breaking gold medal win at IRONMAN Western Australia, where he completed the race in just 07.45.20.
Mark Buckingham will also take to the start line of the elite men’s race. Buckingham has already begun his season of competition, finishing 9th at The National Cross Country Championships in Nottingham last month. The tail end of 2019 was a busy period for Buckingham, placing 4th at IRONMAN 70.3 Middle East, winning the Yorkshire Marathon and acting as a paratriathlon guide for three-time PTVI world and European champion, Dave Ellis. The new decade will no doubt be a similarly packed year for the former Great Britain Sprint Duathlon National Champion.
Nicole Allan will represent Great Britain in the elite women’s race this weekend. Allan surged to victory at the Târgu Mures ETU Duathlon European Championships in the 20-24 Female age group Sprint race. Allan faced three of her compatriots during the race in Romania, recording the fastest run times of the race and finishing four seconds ahead of second place Megan Powell.
Beth Potter was another late addition to the start list and will compete in the elite women’s race alongside Allan. Potter showcased a number of strong performances last year, including taking home a gold medal at the Weert ETU Triathlon European Championships where she shared a podium with Sandra Dodet (FRA) and Claire Michel (BEL), finishing around one minute ahead of both.
Under 23s are also participating in the sprint distance, draft-legal duathlon. For the men, Reece Ashfield will compete, whilst Madeleine Henderson will take to the start line for the women. British paratriathletes are also set to race, Adrian Howden will compete in PTS4 and Rhys Jones in PTVI.
Punto Umbria will be filled with athletes over the weekend as a fleet of age group athletes will be competing across both the sprint and standard distances. The Great Britain Age-Group Team will be taking 382 of its members to the championships. The team took home 33 gold medals from the previous championships in Targu Mures, Romania and will be traveling to the Spanish coast with high hopes.
Joe Skipper will be the only British professional to participate in New Zealand’s 140.6-mile swim, bike and run. Skipper had a stellar 2019, a notable achievement being an incredible performance at IRONMAN Florida where Skipper secured the gold medal in just 07:46:28. Skipper has gone from strength to strength at this distance and finished 6th at Kona last year. His best performance in New Zealand came in 2018, where he crossed the line in 2nd place with a time of 08:05:33.
Age group athletes traveling to Taupo include David Washbrook (M35-39), Paul Norriss (M40-44), Michael Oaks (M40-44), Simon Roue (M40-44), Matt Ryland (M40-44), Alex Ryland (F40-44), Jim Prendergast (M50-54) and Glenda Goscomb (F60-64).
Whilst the half-IRONMAN distance race won’t have any professional participants, age-group athletes will be out in full force. Those racing include Charles Legget (M30-34), Thea Davies (F35-39), Melissa Marsh (F30-34), Naseema Roue (F45-49) and Alastair Glass (50-54).
New Zealand has become a popular location in the IRONMAN schedule and with 80 slots available for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships, athletes will be racing hard to secure their return to Taupo later in the year.