May has been a month of ups and downs for Team Kesteven.
My recent race wins include the Rother Valley 10k, where I came first female, followed by the fourth and final race on the South Yorkshire Athletics Association Road League where I won my age group!
I also competed in one of the biggest races of the season – the European Championship Duathlon –but I was pipped out of a bronze medal by just 15 seconds!
Preparation for the event in Soria, Spain didn’t quite go to plan either, with our accommodation being cancelled with only a week to go. This resulted in us spending a few stressful days madly searching for somewhere else!
Thankfully, me and four team mates from Sheffield realised we had fallen lucky as our last-minute accommodation was right next to the race start!
The next day was all about bike pick-up, race registration and we cycled and ran the course. The event was a sprint distance duathlon, which consists of a 5km run, followed by a 20km bike and then on to a final 2.5 km run.
As reigning European Champion in my age group, the pressure was on with very stiff competition from both the Brits and the Spanish (who love duathlon). On the day of the race, nerves kicked in. We gathered in the town square with music booming out of the loud speakers and were placed in ‘holding pens’. My pen was then moved to the race start and the gun went to signal it was time to go.
I headed off on the run feeling relatively strong. I got through the first 5km without a hitch, and it was the on to the cycling. The bike route was hilly and quite hard – powering up the hills was taking it out of my legs. Shortly into the second run, I realised I didn’t have much power in my legs and a couple of the girls started to overtake me. At this point, I was in second place in my age group but in the last stretch, two other girls overtook me. When I finished, I was disappointed to find out I had been pipped out of a bronze medal by just 15 seconds. I was absolutely devastated!
However, a month later, I can be more positive; I had the second fastest bike split and I came eighth overall (5th Brit) of 150 girls. My age group is extremely competitive and, had I been in any of the other (5 year) age groups, I would have gotten a medal. Plus, if it was easy it wouldn’t be worth training for, so although I am disappointed to come so close to getting a medal, it just wasn’t my race on the day.
Next, it’s onwards to more significant races; European Championship qualification (for 2018) in Strathclyde at the end of May and then the European Championship Triathlon Championships in Dusseldorf at the end of June.
It has always been my dream to represent TeamGB, so I feel incredibly lucky to be able to wear my kit and represent my country in so many races. Unfortunately, age group triathletes don’t receive any funding or assistance from British Triathlon so I am immensely grateful to Redbrik for their support throughout my training.