Category Archives: Duathlon

Kielder Run Bike Run, Thursday, September 7, 2017

Marathon (11km run, 25km bike, 6km run)

Dougie Nisbet

Earlier in the year a work colleague asked me if I was doing the Kielder duathlon. I knew nothing about it but the more I read the more I liked. A marathon distance duathlon with split transitions and an entirely off-road bike section. I signed up, told Sara that I’d beat her even on my old mountain bike, and forgot all about it.

Fast forward several months and I no longer work at BALTIC so it was a bit a re-union when we met up again and I discovered my manager Dave Coxon had signed up too. Although we had no plan to rendezvous at the event we found ourselves parking our bikes in the transition area at Kielder Village before finding the coach to take us the few miles to the Start at Leaplish. We found 3 seats and were jostled on our short journey like excited kids on a school trip.

I knew the Run Bike Run event started at the same place and time as the 10K. What I didn’t know was how the organisers planned to do that. In the end it transpired that the RBR competitors had to shove their way through the 10K competitors to get to the start line. I saw several Strider vests on my travels but I was wearing a cycling top that I hoped would be versatile enough to get me through the run and bike stages. I guessed it might be too hot for running, too cool for the bike.

The logistics had puzzled me. I’ve done very few duathlons, and none that had split transitions. We were allocated something called a bike box, and this would be waiting with our bike at T1. In here we had to put anything we thought we would need for the bike section. For many of us this was cycling shoes but many chose to ride in their running shoes. It turned out not to be nearly as complicated as I’d made it and the bike box would be magically transported to T2 at Bull Crag for the beginning of the second run leg.

A slightly delayed start due to waiting for late competitors to be bussed from Kielder village and away we went, doubling back on ourselves for the 11km run to T1. I had to remind myself that this was quite a long event and that I needed to pace the 11k carefully. Into transition and straight to the bike. I realised the grass was soaking so I executed an undignified ballet while I tried to change shoes – hopping on one foot so that I wouldn’t get my feet wet and grateful for my decision to use elastic laces in both sets of shoes. It wasn’t a lightning fast transition but it wasn’t too shabby either, and soon I was wheeling my bike out for the 25km ride to Bull Crag.

I was looking forward to the bike section. I’d ridden a couple of hilly sportives already this year and although not particularly fit or fast I was expecting to be comfortable and do well on this bit. I was in for a surprise. An 85 mile hilly sportive on a road bike is an entirely different beast to a 25km bike ride on a mountain bike. I’d forgotten how up and downy the Kielder lakeside path is.

After attacking the first hill and storming down the other side I was soon reviewing the situation. I realised that this was going to be hard. It was impossible to get into any rhythm and I was spending a surprising amount of time in my smallest granny gears before hurtling down the descent trying to catch my breath. The dam gave some respite but it was hard to pick up too much speed on the thick mountain bike tyres. As we turned away from the dam to head for Bull Crag I discovered, to my surprise, that I was quite looking forward to the end of the bike section and to running again.

Transition 2 at Bull Crag was quite elegant. A long horseshoe where we entered at one end and were ejected at the other. Of course, none of the competitors had seen Transition 2 before so we didn’t know where our bike box would be. But this wasn’t a problem as the marshalls had read our numbers as we approached and were directing us as we tumbled into transition. I always have to remind myself that the clock is still ticking in transition – it’s still real time although it feels like it isn’t. So I was back in my running shoes as quickly
as possible then jogging round the horseshoe before out of transition for the last 6km or so.

They were a long 6km, twisty and hilly, and my legs felt like they’d done a marathon even if 25km of it had been sitting down. I settled down to a steady jog and had no illusions of trying to hit the finish at speed. There was good crowd support in these last few kms and a buzzy finish that I remember from having done the Kielder Marathon. Across the line and No I didn’t want a banana, I just wanted to sit down.

Dave had been in for about 15 minutes and Sara arrived not long after me. The results showed Sara had belted round the bike section a fair bit faster than me and if it hadn’t been for her slower transitions and runs our overall finishing positions could easily have been reversed.

This was a good race and I enjoyed it. I thought as we hit a brief squall on the bike section that if the weather had been unkind the bike section could easily be a serious trial. The split transitions, lakeside route and marathon distance bring an elegance to the course that I liked a lot. I definitely underestimated how hard the bike section would be, but it was great fun hurtling down the fast descents and negotiating the twists and turns.

City of Durham Duathlon, Meadowfield, Durham, Sunday, April 6, 2014

5k run, 25k bike, 5k run

Kirsty Anderson

In the past I have always left the biking to Jon (who is pretty good at it) but over the last year or so I have gradually been sucked in to the world of biking and actually started to rather enjoy it, especially since I bought a beautiful road bike last summer. This summer with some triathlons and long bike rides planned I was keen to get back out on the bike now the winter has gone, and the City of Durham Duathlon seemed the perfect opportunity. The event, run by Durham Tri Club (whose illustrious membership list includes many Striders (or is it vice versa…?!)), was billed as a friendly event for beginners who are up for a challenge – and sounded right up my street. Almost literally since it was only 10 mins cycle from my house, rather a nice change from some rather long haul races in the recent past.

Before the off ...

The weather forecast was not good, and after not a very good night’s sleep due to newbie nerves we awoke to lots of water underfoot but no actual rain, which was good. A quick Shreddie breakfast and kit check later we made our way to Meadowfield Leisure Centre where the event hub was. Registration was easy, pick up number, timing chip and stickers for bike and helmet. There was some confusion over where one’s race number should go as it turns out number belts are de riguer for triathlons and neither of us had one, but a very friendly and familiar marshal (hello Jacquie!) set us right – and so we pinned the numbers to our backs and went to get our bikes racked in the transition area. This done and helmet and clippy shoes (in Jon’s case) laid out neatly we headed back in for the race briefing. Compared to road races, there are a lot more rules in bike races and my head was spinning about putting your feet down at junctions, which order to put your helmet on and where you can get on and get off the bike but there were marshalls everywhere advising you what to do which was much appreciated.

The actual race involved a 5k run, a 25k bike ride and then a 5k run. Written down it doesn’t sound too bad, but the first lap of the first run (a three loop XC-esque course around the sports centre) was a nervy affair, partly because I wished I’d had trail shoes on, and partly because it was hard to concentrate when you know you have a 25k bike ride and another 3 loops of the course to come. The run was a loop of three halves, the first bit hilly and muddy, the second lap on tarmac but into a headwind, then a downhill off-road section. The course had friendly marshalls shouting encouragment at every point which was greatly appreciated, especially as I was pootling along at the back of the pack. Rachel in the money! First transition was ok – helmet before bike, chuck my waterproof on the floor (the sun had come out so it was clear I wouldn’t need it), grab bike, run with it to the mounting point, jump on, pedal. After a load of hills it was actually bliss to sit back and let the bike take some of the strain and I really enjoyed the first half mile or so before having to put some work in up the Stonebridge hill. The bike route is pretty straightforward and only involves one evil hill (Button Bank) then the rest is a lovely long downhill, so as bike routes go it is one of the nicest and again there were plenty of marshalls out on the course showing you where to go and shouting encouragement. I did ok on the bike and negotiated my way safely back to the transition point, stowed my bike away and then set off for the final 5k. There weren’t many people left on the course by the time I arrived but the marshalls were still as cheery as ever and I managed to catch up and pass two people, despite the fact that my legs had forgotten how to run. The lovely Kerry and Rob had also come down to do some spectating which gave me the boost I needed to crack on with it and I finally finished in around 2hrs 10 – not a great time but a great achievement! I have no idea of my split times as the results have not yet come out but I think I was about 5 mins quicker on the bike than I had been previously which I am pleased about.

Some excellent Strider performances including great debuts by Jon Steed and Lindsay Rodgers, but star of the day is Rachael Bullock who was first senior woman home and won a rather nice trophy and gift voucher. A lovely event and highly recommended for first-timers and those looking for a challenge close to home.

Durham Tri Club Duathlon, High Shincliffe, Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mark Dunseith

I had taken part in a DurhamTri duathlon training session shortly before joining striders in 2012. I had only taken part in one running race before this and spent very little time on my bike so I had jumped in at the deep end. I started first last time and finished a couple of people from last so I was keen to return and see if I could do any better this time. I had planned to make this a regular event in my diary but it has taken me 18 months to fit another one in.

We arrived around 9.15am and went to the registration car to get signed up. We paid our £4 and signed a waiver form and were given information and instructions of what to expect during the event as well as a safety briefing. When you take part in a handicapped duathlon you get a time based on your previous result. There is an imaginary athlete called John Doe and they start at 0.00. Everyone else starts after this time depending on their perceived time or previous results. I was given a start time on 1.00 so only a minute after the clock started. Anita and another female participant (along with her dog) started before me on 0.15 and I was starting with 3 other male athletes. So off I went and quickly got in-front of the other three guys I started with. I quickly caught the other lady as her dog had decided that 30 seconds after starting the run would be a good time to stop for a toilet break. The run route, of 2 miles, starts from the entrance of High Shincliffe where you do a figure of eight round the village before starting the bike section of the session. I caught Anita in the top half of the figure of eight then had what felt like a good run for the rest of the way. Into transition where you shout your number and the organisers record your time.

I had a decent transition, getting my trainers off and cycling shoes on. The rules of duathlon says that you can’t touch your bike until you have your helmet on, so I quickly got my helmet on and grabbed my bike. As I was leaving the transition area two of the three guys that started with me were just entering. I jumped on my bike and off I went.

The bike part of the session is 11 miles long. You leave the transition area and ride along the main street in High Shincliffe and out at the junction closest to Bowburn. You turn left out towards Bowburn and turn left towards and past Bowburn Hall. At the T junction you turn left down to the roundabout at the new road and turn left. Lots of left hand turns in this event which we were told is to try and keep riders as safe as possible. Inevitably there has to be a right turn and that happens at the Sherburn roundabout on the new road where you do a 180 and head back down the road you came down. At this point the first person overtook me and my visions of running across the finish line in first place were so cruelly dashed. Shortly after this number 2 and number 3 also passed me and my vision of standing on the podium and watching my national flag flutter in the wind was also ripped from my grasp (I had the last laugh however as there was no podium or flags at the finish). When you get to the original roundabout you go straight over and down to the roundabout at the bottom of the road, again performing a 180 around it and heading back to the top. Once you get to the top of the road at the Sherburn roundabout you turn left and head down that road as if you were going to Maiden Castle. When you get to the traffic lights, at which you have to follow the normal highway code rules, you turn left and climb that awful hill back up to High Shincliffe. One more person passed me on the hill and I was off the bike and back into the transition area. My stop took a bit longer this time and when I started to run my legs felt like jelly. My second run seemed to be so much slower this time but checking my Garmin it seems it was only 20 seconds slower than the first time round.

I crossed the line in 1 hour and 21 minutes with no further place changes. I was pleased with my running performance but struggled on the bike. Last time I took part I was on a £99 mountain bike whereas this year I had a fancy new hybrid so thought I would have gained more time in this section however the windy conditions made the ride a real slog.

This duathlon takes place on the third Sunday of the month throughout the winter, however, this is the last one until the new Thursday night summer sessions start in May. Checkout their website for more details and updated times.

Durham Tri Club Duathlon, High Shincliffe, Sunday, October 21, 2012

Run 2M, Bike 11M, Run 2M

Phil Owen

More of a guide for beginners than a race report.

Those aware of the saga of breaking my foot four times in the last 3 years know I limit my running and try and cross train a lot more nowadays. So with that in mind, after the two previous days 10 milers through the mud of Croxdale woods instead of another run I opted for the monthly winter duathlon run by Durham Tri Club. I’ve done Durham Triathlon Club’s monthly duathlon once before and thoroughly enjoyed it. The idea is to give you a taste of TRI race conditions but in a more informal manner and of course have a great workout. The start and finish is in Shincliffe. For those that know the area , as you go up Strawberry Bank from Maiden Castle direction ,just near the top of the hill on the left is a small section of road that I assume was once the turning for the village but is now blocked off by large railway sleepers and the new tuning is now just past them. This gives a brilliant small section of road free of traffic that Durham Tri use as the transition (the area you leave your bike in).

Parked my bike in said transition and went see Ian (who incidentally is one of the swimming coaches at Wolsingham Tri swimming on a Friday evening, £3 member, £4 non-members). I paid my £4 (if I’d pre-registered it would have been £3) and went over to see Geoff Watson to register and get my handicap time. The last time I did this I hadn’t done it before so they just took my 10K time and worked it out form that. On that occasion I started with Peter Brooks and we finished within a minute of each other so when Geoff gave me a fairly lenient handicap time I questioned it and he double checked with Peter’s time and said it was OK.

Each time this is run the rules are explained very carefully. It will be run under race conditions but instead of a time penalty for say dismounting beyond the transition line they would just give you a shout. It’s a great way to make you remember race condition rules. And to be fair the rules are very simple. You don’t mount your bike till you are over the transition line (white tape) and when coming in you dismount before the transition line. Add to that that you put your helmet on (no helmet no race!) before you take you bike (most folk leave it on the seat or handle bars just to remind themselves) then that’s more or less it.

Quick go over the run and bike courses (see attached links) and we are set to go off in our handicap. I’m off at 1:40. It’s some qualifier for Durham Uni Tri club so today we have lots of young fit types on nice bikes in the field but also we have plenty of old codgers like me and Shaun our webmaster (sorry Mr Webby) and plenty on mountain bikes and cross bikes.

Only five off before me and I soon catch four of them on the first loop of the figure of eight 3.2K run (up past the Avenue pub, bear right, back to main road and back to the start. The other starter ahead of me isn’t in sight at I start the second loop (again past the pub but bear left and just follow the main road (and path) around the perimeter of the housing estate).

I caught the next person just before we I came back to transition and loudly shouted my number out to the marshals as you are told to. Into transition, helmet on first and wheel the bike out past the white line. The 18.3K bike course again is fairly easy to follow. Past the pub and bear right to the main road, left down to the garage and turn left into the estate before the traffic lights. Left at the junction and over the motorway bridge till you come to a roundabout. This is where you can really pick up speed as it’s a well-surfaced wide road. This is also the place you can see who’s after you or preferably who you are after. After the circuit of the roundabouts it’s a left turn that brings you out at the lights near Maiden Castle fields or the bottom of Strawberry Bank. Up the bank and back in to transition remembering to dismount first. Then it’s simply the same 3.2K run again.

It’s not a problem I usually have having no one to chase. I had been expecting some young Durham Tri lad or lass to sail past me at any time for a while now and to be truthful would have been glad of it. After the first circuit I spotted a Durham Tri lad (who I had a 20 minute start on) who looked like he was flying and at last had some reason to push on determined he would not catch me. Managed to hang on and flopped to the ground exhausted. A great run out. Shaun was in soon after and a full 6 minutes quicker than me (2 minutes quicker each run and about the same on the bike) which gives me something to work towards. That said I was four minutes slower than last time which I put down to having no one to chase and maybe the trail miles the previous days in my legs (excuses, excuses). This is a great cheap workout/race and cross train whether you are interested in Tri and a great way to test your fitness over the winter. Come and give it a go. Maybe Elvet Wheelers might be interested -with a pub lunch after of course 😉

Next one, 18th of November and every third Sunday.

Middlesbrough Charity Duathlon, Prissick Park, Saturday, October 1, 2011

3K run, 15K bike, 3K run

Alister Robson

I saw this advertised a little while ago and was surprised to see that there weren’t more people signed up. The only person I recognised was George Harden from Sunderland parkrun. It appealed as a first duathlon as the distances were all relatively short and the bike was on an enclosed route.

When Saturday dawned I was a bit concerned as I had the Durham parkrun results to process before leaving for Middlesbrough and I wasn’t entirely sure where it was. The (brief) instructions suggested parking at Stewart Park and after some small Sat Nav related difficulty I did. The track was just around the corner and I found it OK, once I’d got past all the people for the dog show. As it happened I was in plenty of time and arrived in time for the again very brief briefing and soon we were off on the first run, which it was explained was truncated slightly by the aforementioned dog show and so had one loop of the bike track first. The weather was perhaps the biggest surprise, an unseasonably warm 28 degrees and clear blue skies. My first run was pretty good and I still felt great for the first few bike laps of the track, before I started to get lapped a few times by the faster bikers. The bike track was by far the best bit, even though there were 15 laps of the 1K Prissick Base circuit, this is a fantastic facility with little gradient, some sharp and some sweeping bends and a lovely surface.

The second run was the really tough bit, my legs felt like jelly and I’m glad it was only just over a couple of Km. I managed to pick off a couple of ladies but didn’t make great progress.

Most importantly I guess, the organiser, Vicky Fawcett, raised enough money to enable her to take part in the charity bike ride across California that her and a colleague have planned.

Durham Tri Club Duathlon, Thursday, July 15, 2010

Run 2M, Bike 11M, Run 2M

Grahame Arrowsmith

Nice Thursday evening so I popped down to High Shincliffe for my first duathlon – really good turnout with just under 30 taking part, including a good sprinkling of Striders.

The big mistake I made was not having a good look at the course before I turned up! As I didn’t have a previous time (and had a rubbish bike!) I went off first (with Phil Owen and a guy called Pierre). We got to grips with the running bit OK and Phil and I thought we were doing really well with the cycling … well into the route and no one showing signs of catching us … who needs a thousand pound bike I thought?!

Everything was then ruined when Shaun appeared – coming in the opposite direction – shouting that we had missed one whole stretch and turned back one roundabout early … we thought OK but that’s splitting hairs, we’d only missed 2 miles!

Anyway our officials for the evening, Ian and Allan, were very impressed when we arrived back for the final transition so promptly … until we reluctantly confessed. Off we went for the second run and arrived back to inevitable disqualification and disgrace … oh the shame, bringing Striders into disrepute!

Still it was great fun and I will be back … the cycling certainly supplements the running really well especially the final hill back up to High Shincliffe.

Oh, and by the way for the record Shaun won. [ Just the handicap! Ed. ] Well done to him – although I’m sure he would really have preferred to have actually caught up with me and Phil … but we were far too smart for that!


Pos Name Run 1+T1 Bike+T2 Run 2 Total
1 Dan JENKIN 12:05 31:33 11:11 0:54:49
5 Hilary ROSS 13:10 35:43 12:59 1:01:52
14 Shaun ROBERTS 13:50 39:30 13:15 1:06:35
16 Peter BROOKS 16:00 40:20 15:36 1:11:56
18 Louise BILLCLIFFE 16:27 40:51 16:39 1:13:57
DQ Grahame ARROWSMITH 16:20
DQ Phil Owen 16:23
DNF Geoff WATSON 13:30 41:32

20 finishers.

City of Durham Duathlon, Meadowfield, Sunday, April 18, 2010

Run 3M, Bike 15M, Run 3M

Alan Smith

I am going to start by telling you what happened at the end of the event – you probably all know by now that I won the M60 prize. However, this was because I was the only male over 60!

The day started off dry, sunny and slightly cool. We all had to register at Meadowfield Sports Centre. Roz Layton was one of the friendly faces who helped to register us. I had my race number written on my leg with a marker pen. We had stickers with our number to fix to our helmet and bike and numbers to fasten on our back and front. Registration was followed by a compulsory briefing on what we had to do and not to do. At a certain staggered junction we had to stop and put one foot on the ground even if there was no traffic, otherwise we would be disqualified.

The race started on the grass next to the transition area. The first run was 3 times round the field at Meadowfield, a total of 3 miles, which were not too painful. Dougie pulled ahead of me after 2 laps and I did not seem him again until the finish. I pulled ahead of Louise. I did not see Shaun.

Louise looking cool at the top of the big hill. The first transition i.e. from run to bike seemed to go quite well for me. This also involved changing into my cycling shoes which clip on to the pedals. We had to put our helmets on before we touched our bikes and then run with our bikes to the “mount” line. We cycled down to the Stonebridge roundabout and then up the hill and through Ushaw Moor, Esh Winning etc and eventually came to a very steep hill. Before I got to the hill Louise overtook me on her road/racing bike, but I managed to overtake her on the hill but as soon as we reached the downhill, Louise shot past me. We came back through Brancepeth and then back to Meadowfield. There was light rain just before the end of the bike ride, but nothing to worry about. There was a dismount line on the road, before which we had to get off our bikes. I could not get my right foot unfastened from the clip on the pedal and had to stop completely in order to dismount.

I then had to park my bike in the transition area. Instead of putting my bike into the rack with the back wheel going in first which would have enabled me to hook the saddle over the bar, I tried to put my bike in with the front wheel first, which was virtually impossible to do, as I found out. As a result, I lost a lot of time.

I then changed into my running shoes and tried to run. It was very, very hard to run after the 15 mile cycle ride and the pain in my left hamstring hurt a lot, which slowed me down. I eventually saw Louise ahead of me, but couldn’t quite catch her. Congratulations Louise!

Note the purple vest! Alan Smith wins the MV60 vets category.
Photo courtesy and © Durham Triathlon Club

I would like to thank everyone who organised the event and also the marshals and the supporters (in some cases the same people). I was going to go home, thinking that I could not possibly have won anything, but decided to stay for the presentation and was very pleasantly surprised to win a prize for my age group and have my photograph taken with winners in the other categories.

I can thoroughly recommend this event next year to anyone thinking about it.


Pos Name Run 1+T1 Pos Bike+T2 Pos Run 2 Pos Total
1 Nicky McGee 18:10 3 41:36 1 18:37 3 1:18:23
25 Hilary ROSS 22:34 30 51:35 29 21:43 21 1:35:52
40 Shaun Roberts 21:55 25 58:23 57 22:10 27 1:42:28
62 Dougie Nisbet 26:33 72 57:20 54 26:41 66 1:50:34
77 Louise Billcliffe 28:12 77 1:03:51 74 30:07 76 2:02:10
78 Alan Smith 26:42 74 1:05:18 76 30:14 77 2:02:14

81 finishers, inc teams.

Durham Tri Club Duathlon, High Shincliffe, Sunday, March 21, 2010

Run 2M, Bike 11M, Run 2M

Peter Brooks

It was a cool, sunny day at High Shincliffe when we met for the final in the Winter duathlon series but, thankfully, there was no snow or ice on the route this month. I arrived in plenty of time, nicely surprised to see quite a number of Striders taking part (well, five anyway) – Emma Detchon, Dougie Nisbet, Louise Bilcliffe and Alan Smith along with myself, unfortunately, none of us had competed in the required three events for any of us to have a chance of winning the league.

And they're off!

After paying our dues we were told which handicap group we were to start in, Emma first – purely because she rides a mountain bike (there will be no stopping her when she has a road bike!), Alan, Louise and myself a few minutes after with Dougie being the last Strider to start (fast bugger!).

We had a chance to cheer Emma on as she started her second loop of the run just before we started. I tried a new tactic of starting a bit harder than usual in the hope of getting a big enough lead to try and become first Strider home. How wrong can a tactic be? I had a very strong first run, catching up a runner from the group in front and a good bike section, but I blew up drastically on the second run. My second run was over three minutes longer than my first.

I managed to get in front of Emma on the bike section but Alan and Dougie both sailed past me on the second run along with quite a few other runners, Alan finished about two or three minutes ahead of me, Dougie had finished, been to MacDonalds, had a sleep, woke up and was taking photos well before I finished.

On the bike route, I managed to see quite a few Striders out and about – Andrew Thompson was out for his run at Coxhoe, Jan Young and Nina were flying along by the Rose Tree pub and Joanne Porter made an appearance at transition.

The summer duathlon series will start in May and should be held on a Thursday evening, the Tri club will announce the course soon.


Pos Name Run 1+T1 Bike+T2 Run 2 Total
1 Phil HATZIS 11:45 28:45 11:38 52:08
8 Hilary ROSS 13:38 36:31 13:24 1:03:33
20 Dougie NISBET 17:39 39:52 15:43 1:13:14
26 Alan SMITH 16:28 46:10 15:07 1:17:45
27 Peter BROOKS 16:08 43:25 19:22 1:18:55
31 Louise BILLCLIFFE 17:30 51:39 17:22 1:26:31
32 Emma DETCHON 20:10 50:06 20:36 1:30:52

33 finishers.

Durham Tri Club Duathlon, High Shincliffe, Sunday, February 21, 2010

Run 2M, Bike 11M, Run 2M

Alan Smith

The January Duathlon had to be postponed due to adverse weather conditions and was rearranged for the end of January, but that had to be cancelled for the same reason. This February event was my first duathlon, although about 10 years ago I did a run and cycle race only at Meadowfield without the final run. I drove by car in the dark round part of the route a few weeks ago but took a wrong turn as I did not realise that part of the route doubled back. I then cycled the bike route the week before the race with no problems.

On the day itself, I cycled from home to the start, so had a bit of a warm up. The event involves a 3 km run, an 18km bike ride and a 3km run. We were not sure if the race would go ahead as the morning started off very frosty and there was ice on part of the running route. It was only when I got to registration (fee £3) that we knew that it was going ahead.

I was asked to give the time of a recent race which I had done, so I gave my time for the Brass Monkey in York last month. This was used to calculate my handicap, as a result of which I started off in the first group of two and was given number 1. The next group started off 3 minutes later. At the end of the first run, I was still in the lead and it was only after several miles cycling that a few cyclists started to overtake me.

I cycled as fast as I could, but not fast enough. One of the cyclists caught me up and we cycled along together for a short distance and had a chat, but then he pulled away and 2 other cyclists went past as did a few others later on. Shaun was also competing but I did not see him after the start until he came in running strong at the finish.

My thighs were aching a bit (more of a burning sensation) towards the end of the bike ride as I approached High Shincliffe, which was the only steep hill on the route, the others being more gradual. I actually caught a cyclist up at the top of the hill, just before the finish.

The hardest part was running after cycling, but there was a transition area which was where I parked my bike before and after the cycle ride. Because it was icy, we had to walk round the transition area with our bikes before setting off running, which helped a bit. On the bonus side, when I was running after the cycling, I ran past one of the faster cyclists who had overtaken me on the bike ride, which felt good.

My bike is a hybrid, but if you want to achieve a good time on the bike ride you need to use a road/racing bike. I did not take any wrong turns on the run or on the cycle ride. After the race I then cycled home with Dave Shipman who had come to observe.

I was slightly disappointed with my overall time, as although only a few cyclists over took me (they had started after me) my time was fairly slow, but I am pleased to say that I was not the last. There were 31 starters, but only 30 finished. However, on checking my handicap time, I see that I was fifth.

A very enjoyable morning, well worth doing. The next club Duathlon is on 21 March. I have also entered for the City of Durham Duathlon on 18 April, which involves a 5km run, a 25km bike ride, a 5km run and a lot more hill work. [Link on right, under “Coming soon”. Ed.]


Pos Name Run 1+T1 Bike+T2 Run 2 Total
1 Gary Grounds 11:38 34:42 10:50 0:57:10
5 Hilary ROSS 14:03 37:57 12:43 1:04:43
11 Shaun ROBERTS 13:30 41:31 13:08 1:08:09
26 Alan SMITH 16:15 49:15 15:30 1:21:00

30 finishers.

Durham Tri Club Duathlon, High Shincliffe, Sunday, November 29, 2009

Run 2M, Bike 11M, Run 2M

Shaun Roberts

I’ve been meaning to dip my toe in the world of multi-sports events for ages, and these Durham Tri Club events have always seemed to be an easy and obvious way in to this sort of thing. So on Sunday I had a go – unfortunately, it was more of a leap in the deep end than any sort of toe-dipping! The weather was horrendous – a cold northerly wind, heavy rain showers and the odd hailstone – and driving into Durham from Wolsingham I was tempted to turn the car round and go back to bed.

Saw Allan, and the other organiser, Ian, at registration at High Shincliffe, and they gave us all the race instructions, transition rules, and the like. These don’t amount to a great deal, I should add, in case you were thinking of doing one of these. You basically need to run the best part of two miles, in a couple of loops near Allan’s house, then get on your bike and ride a well-defined 11-mile course – then do the run again! What could be simpler?

Well, nothing – but it could have been drier. Also warmer. I started quite fast, against Peter’s advice to do the complete opposite and save a bit for later, and unsurprisingly it felt pretty much as normal at the beginning of a run – except that everyone in my handicap group was behind me for some reason. [ By some accident I started in the third such group, despite my passing on very, very pessimistic estimates of my likely times – I’d been supposed to start in the slowest group! ] I was beginning to wonder if Peter had been right, and perhaps running a two-mile segment at the pace of a two-mile race was unwise. Ho, and indeed hum.

Onto the bike (“Don’t touch the bike before you get your helmet on!”), and onto the A177, then a couple of lefts before heading north towards Sherburn on the new road. All had been well until this point, but cycling into the driving wind and rain became very hard work. Also, unlike running, where I never get cold, assuming I’m at least half-sensibly dressed – I was having to work very hard just to try and keep warm. My feet, in particular, were very cold and wet, as I was just in running shoes. Conditions were much better, and I could go much faster, when we turned back on ourselves and headed south, but then we had an even longer stretch back north again, and I had to use my lowest gear to make any progress into the wind. I overtook precisely no one, and several well-equipped, long-legged types went whizzing past along this stretch.

West towards Durham again, and a very welcome fast section, before the hill up to High Shincliffe, which wasn’t too bad at all. Now the bit triathletes always tell you about – the feeling you get starting running after being on the bike. I tried this out a couple of times before this event, and although it was indeed strange, I hadn’t found it too much of a problem. This time, though, I felt like I was running on cold squidgy sponges – quite wierd! A couple of minutes later, though, they felt much better, and I could have a nice run round the last loop, passing a few others on the way this time.

I was a tad surprised to come in thirteenth – well pleased with that, so I’m looking forward to trying another one of these, ideally on a warmer and drier day. Peter and I headed over to join everyone in the pub after Nigel’s Social Run at Beamish, and have a very welcome pint of warm Guinness.


Pos Name Run 1 T1 Bike T2 Run 2 Total
1 Ian HESLER 11:46 00:45 32:47 01:00 12:50 0:59:08
11 Geoff WATSON 12:30 00:58 42:40 01:00 13:00 1:10:08
12 Hilary ROSS 13:07 01:03 41:45 01:00 13:30 1:10:25
13 Shaun ROBERTS 12:28 01:18 43:14 00:40 13:12 1:10:52
21 Roz LAYTON 14:00 01:00 44:20 01:00 15:10 1:15:30
34 Peter BROOKS 15:08 01:47 47:20 01:33 16:49 1:22:37

36 finishers.
Grey times shown are estimated, due to missing transition details.