British Duathlon Champs, 9 April

Jo Wilkie led a fine showing from the Cheltenham Harriers at the the British Duathlon Championships at Bedford Autodome on Sunday in what was one of the strongest fields in the race’s history.In the age group race, Jo Wilkie went one better than last year to secure an impressive gold medal in the 35-39 age category over the standard distance (10km run – 40km bike – 5km run). Coming back from injury, Wilkie did not expect to be challenging for the podium, let alone the top step, and the result will give her great confidence ahead of the European Championships in a month’s time. Phil Wylie was the first Harrier across the line in the show-case draft legal elite race (sprint distance), finishing one place from the podium. The former British champion was comfortable in the front pack of 12 or so during the opening 5 km run but missed the decisive move on the bike when the full-time athletes, Adam Bowden, Mark Buckingham and Luke Pollard jumped clear and pulled away. Conceding almost a minute to the front group of 3, Wylie ran very well indeed off the bike, posting the second fastest final run leg of 8.14 for the 2.5km behind the eventual winner and professional triathlete, Adam Bowden. Wylie drew close to Pollard, ultimately missing the podium by only 10 seconds. Ben Price ran well to remain in touch with the front group after the first run, posting a sub 15 minute 5km to stay in touch. However, he paid for his effort, failing to match the power of some of the others on the bike as the front pack broke up in some strong cross winds on the bike course in the opening lap. He finally settled into what became the second pack on the road and ran well on the final run to finish 13th overall – a great result for the Cheltenham based school teacher in such a strong field. Jon Barnes was a little conservative on the opening run and a loss of concentration on the bike meant he lost touch with the group he was in and ended up riding on his own for most of the bike leg but ran well on the final run to record a solid 25th place in his first experience of the race. Eliot Taylor also competed for the first time finished an impressive 31st place.