Team JMC’s Alex Lawton (he’s a Torq-sponsored athlete nowadays, but he’s still one of us really) claimed yet another national title a couple of weeks ago. Once again, take it away Alex…..
Alongside a few others on the start line, I had ambitions to win the race when I first put my name down. However, leading up to the race this ambition had changed to hope; hope that I’d get round in one piece! My last two races consisted of a tyre blowout and DNF when on for a result at the North West Duathlon Champs, followed by hobbling to the finish at the Elite Duathlon Champs a few weeks later (thanks to what seems to be a slight ligament sprain which doesn’t want to budge). So, after a good few weeks spending the evenings with a bag of peas and a cold foot, I was just pleased to be on the start line at Newby.
The first 10k went well and I came in about 30 seconds down from 1st (Julian Lings) but was happy enough with 33:18, knowing there was still a long way to go.
The bike course was flat(ish) and fast(ish), punctuated up with tough sections of grinding the gears into the headwind. As anticipated, during lap 2 of 3, my buffer from the 1st run was slowly closed and then reversed by some of the faster cyclists. By the end of the bike, I’d dropped back to 5th place and it felt like I’d have to run really well to get onto the podium. When it came to the last lap, with the power in the legs slowly dimimishing and with those ahead of me seemingly out of sight, it was a bit of a mental, as well as physical, battle to try and keep on pushing and believe that a decent result was still on the cards.
Rounding the corner out of T2, I was grateful to see that the effort was worth it and 1st – 4th places weren’t much more the 10-15 seconds ahead of me. Within 500m I’d moved up into 2nd before moving past Julian into 1st. Clearly a strong runner, Julian found something extra, upped his pace and stuck with me for the next couple of K’s . Things were starting to ache but the right ankle was hurting more than normal and I was just desperate for it to hold up and not fail me at this stage. A DNF would have been disappointing in any case but I’d rather have it happen in that first run than when a win was in touching distance.
I slowly opened a small gap between myself and Julian, which steadily grew whilst the pain from the ankle also seemed to be fading. Coming onto the final straight down towards the finish in front of Newby Hall, I knew the race was won and made sure I enjoyed crossing the line (something often missed due to wave starts in triathlon).
After the disappointment and frustration of the previous two races and, as much of a cliché as it is, this was a great reminder to enjoy every time you’re lucky enough to be out racing and that it’s also much more enjoyable when it ends in a win, of course.”