Jez Cox – “Future Classic”

Published on 04 February 2010 by in Articles

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Duathlon247 columnist Jez Cox reports back on the first running on the FRF Mazda Gower Duathlon from Wales, which by all accounts has ‘future classic’ written all over it.

The Inaugural FRF Mazda Gower Duathlon was met with perfect weather to top off the spectacular scenery surrounding this quite breath-taking venue. The route to the village of Rhosilli gives a hint of the views and landscape that you would be racing amongst and as there is only one road that winds it’s way out to the tip of the peninsula, you know exactly which way the bike course would come out and back before winding its way round the hillsides.

 Having been doing Duathlons for six years now, I’m always keen to try out a new event and I’m pleased to report that this duathlon had all the makings of an absolute classic. All too often now the older ‘classic’ duathlon courses in the UK are being replaced with ‘safer’ options such as closed road circuits and motor racing circuits. The Gower Duathlon is quite different and without ever feeling unsafe, you always felt very much amongst the wilderness. Along the bIke course there were sheep crossing, horses and their foals wandering around and I even had to slow down for a family of ducklings hurriedly scuttling across! I’ll stuff waxing about the venue because I’ll never do it justice. Suffice to say: It has to be seen.

The longer duathlon was the first event to start and leading from the off, Dan McCarthy was clearly running stronger than anyone else as he took a clear lead. Within the first few metres Lee Rankin and I looked at each other and knew we would have to try to catch him on the bike as he was running far too strongly, and so it was that he lead into T1 having done three loops of a run which took us along a cliff top path and around the observation hut at the far end of the cliff face and back. By this stage Nicky Russell of BAD tri was already into a lead in the women’s race and this was a lead that she held throughout the race, setting the fastest splits in all three legs before going on to win in 2:03:32 which gave her a near four minute victory over Claire Weldon in second place. Such was the standard of these two performances that they also finished 12th and 16th overall respectively.

Once out onto the bike it has to be said that there weren’t many upsets as the tough bike course reinforced the strength of those who had come to the fore on the first run. The bike leg took in four main climbs. Normally, when I read in the pre race bumpf that you just can’t help but take in the view during the race, I’m inclined to think “no way- I’ll be racing too hard!!”, but in this instance you just couldn’t help yourself. The final run proved just that as it weaved it’s way back along the cliff top going in a South Westerly direction and revealing the gem of a view in that direction just as you turn to head back to the finish.

The prize presentation was held at the Worms Head Cafe with equally stunning views across the beach. This gave me the opportunity to take in the equally impressive performances that had been turned out in the sprint race where Phil Holland and Lucy Morris had won. It had been a great morning of duathlon and as one of the few mid-Summer full distance duathlons I’m hoping it heralds a new era for the sport, where organisers continue to provide top quality duathlons for the ever increasing number of seasoned duathletes.

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