EVESHAM triathlete Helen Russell wasted little time in making her mark in the quadrathlon world as she claimed victory in her first ever competition of this kind.
Russell took top spot at the British Quadrathlon Association trophy race in Shrewsbury.
Comprising of four disciplines – swim, kayak, bike and run – a quadrathlon is a real test of an athlete’s endurance and ability across four challenging sports.
The event started at the West Mid Showground and saw competitors swim 500m and kayak 4.2km in the River Severn, cycle 23km out to Baschurch and back before finally running 5km in the showground.
Russell, racing for Worcester Canoe Club, had a great swim as she quickly created a gap between herself and the other competitors and exited the river in first place.
Being a novice quadrathlete, unlike the experienced racers, she had to put on a buoyancy aid in transition which cost her time so she entered her kayak in fourth place.
Despite only starting kayaking this April, just one competitor overtook her on the 4.2km route and after the second discipline Russell was lying in fifth place.
As a former world champion duathlete, Russell’s strength is on the bike and she caught the other competitors one by one until finally overtaking the lead woman – 2015 British Quadrathlon National Trophy Series winner Jean Ashley – at the 4.5-mile mark.
Russell then pushed hard to build what she hoped would be a decisive lead as she covered the 23km route in 41.10 and entered the final transition 1min, 51secs ahead of second placed Kate Burgoyne from Hereford Triathlon Club.
With this lead, Russell could relax slightly on the 5km run but still extended her lead significantly to finish in 1:37.37, ahead of second placed Burgoyne in 1:41.41 and third placed Ashley in 1:44.29.
Afterwards the delighted victor reflected: “After achieving my goals in duathlon and triathlon, I needed a new challenge this year to motivate me and decided to learn how to kayak in the spring.
“For me, this competition was supposed to be just a test event to learn about quadrathlon, so to take the victory was a wonderful surprise.”
Russell now plans to continue to improve her kayaking with Worcester Canoe Club and aims to target the British Quadrathlon Trophy races next season.