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Race report: Grizedale Off Road Duathlon 13th March 2011
Posted on: Tuesday 15th March 2011
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Sunshine greeted the 115 competitors who lined up for the second edition of the Grizedale Off Road Duathlon organised by High Terain Events. Based in the stunning setting of Grizedale Forest Park, in the Southern Lake District the event consists of a 6.5k trail run, followed by a 24k mtb, then a further 6.5k trail run. The recent spell of cold weather which brought a mixture of rain, hail and snow to the region meant conditions on the trails were going to be tricky. Starting from the Forestry Visitor Centre the initial 6.5k run took competitors out along a fast undulating section of forest roads to reach the first climb of the day, a testing single-track section winding up to Carron Crag, highest point in the forest. Although offering spectacular views of the snow capped fells, concentration was needed as competitors then plunged down the rocky terrain made greasy by the recent rain, working their way back to transition 1.
Photos © Sport Sunday
It promised to be a tough competitive race which was proven in the men’s category, as Harry Coates (Craven Energy) stormed round the run in 27:11, building up a 2 minute lead over Mark Ryan (Carlisle Tri) in 29:27 closely followed by Neal Crampton (Crosstrax) 29:33. In the women’s race, local athlete Rennell Brennan (mtbmarathon.co.uk) was first back in 37:08 and determined to improve upon her 2nd place finish last year. However, with the likes of Susan Rigby (Bike Shop Hexham) who finished second at the Whinlatter Duathlon in November only 19 seconds behind, it wasn’t going to be easy.
The 24k mtb route incorporated the full North Face Red graded mountain bike trail featuring technical rocky sections, switchbacks, berms & boardwalks and would prove to be a real test of off road ability. An addition to this year’s route included an exhilarating descent dropping through the forest towards Coniston Lake. However, ‘what goes down, must come back up’ and this was immediately followed by a strength sapping climb up to Hawkshead Moor.
Riding strongly up to this point and still maintaining his lead, Harry suffered a slow rear wheel puncture. Making the decision to continue without fixing the flat proved costly as the remaining sections were a drain on the energy reserves. Neal Crampton, a previous winner of the Kielder 100 mile MTB race, now moved into the lead and came into transition in 1:44:04, recording the fastest bike split of the day 1:13:23. Harry was next in 1:47:22 but was now closely followed by a strong looking Steven Brennan (mtbmarathon.co.uk) 1:48:51 and Michael Pluckrose (Carlisle Tri Club)1:48:55.
The race still looked to be wide open as the final run section took the competitors back up to Carron Crag and would prove to be a test of who had the most energy left. Steven blasted up the climb passing Harry just before the summit to now move into second place and recording the fastest second run 31:08. However, Neal demonstrated an equally strong second run and took a convincing win to cross the finish in 2hrs 16mins, looking incredibly fresh. Next was Steve in 2:21:05 and first MV40 followed by Harry who held onto 3rd place in 2:22:53. Anthony Roberts (Skinfit UK) finished an impressive 8th place overall to win the MV50 category.
The women’s race was no less competitive with Renell leading all the way to win in 2:59:58 followed by Susan in 3:02:49. Third place went to Susannah Goddard 3:10:58 (WXC Mountain Biking).
Photos: Women's open winner Rennell Brennan and men's open winner Neal Crampton. © Sport Sunday
The relay category was won by Guy Martin & Chris Sanderson in a time of 2:28:37. Guy being a dab hand at mountain biking as well as a famous face, he currently has a series on BBC 1, 'The Boat That Guy Built.' Second relay and first mixed pair was Janet Prier & Martin Andrew (Run 3) in an impressive time of 2:31, not far behind Guy and Chris and beating last year’s winners Helen & Jean Claude Van Der Veken 2:40:18.
The Team prize was won by Carlilse Tri Club consisting of Michael Pluckrose (4th), Mark Ryan (7th) & Ian Pipes (21st).
This year’s additional section added onto the mountain bike course meant the event was even harder than last year‘s, this was summed up by competitor number 74, Jayne McGrath who said she had completed three marathons and this was by far the hardest event!
Richard Bowley & Lisa Grandcourt took their 6 month old Springer Spaniel on both run sections with Richard collapsing to the ground at the end, his Springer sat on top of him!
Simon Gibbs (Wallsend Harriers) maintained his lead in the overall series after consistent performances in all 3 events so far. Susan Rigby (Bike Shop Hexham) is now leading the female category over earlier leader Louise Wilkinson following her two 2nd placings. However, next event is the Newlands Duathlon, where competitors will be swapping mountain bikes for road bikes, cycling over the tough mountain passes of Honister and Whinlatter. With a number of athletes still in contention and just needing a third counting event this will prove an exciting series finale.
A big thank you to Up & Running Keswick and Grizedale Bikes for both providing some fantastic prizes and event support. Also to Grizedale Forestry for use of such a fantastic venue and facilities. Credit goes to Sport Sunday for the photos.
Photos © Sport Sunday
Full results and details of the next events can be found at www.highterrainevents.co.uk
Men's open results
Women's open results