EVESHAM’S Helen Russell is celebrating after winning the British Quadrathlon Championships – only her second ever quadrathlon.
Britain’s best quadrathletes assembled in Brigg, Lincolnshire, to do battle over a 1,500m river swim, 7km kayak, 36km bike and 10km run in a bid to take the coveted national title.
Russell, already an accomplished triathlete and duathlete, had an excellent start, covering the up and downstream swim leg in 22.21, putting her well ahead of second placed athlete Jacqueline Davies who exited the water in 24.37.
Russell only started kayaking a year ago but, after a winter of solid training with Worcester Canoe Club, she unexpectedly posted the second fastest kayak leg of the day, paddling the 7km course in 46.24.
Meanwhile, behind her Davies capsized entering the river and was passed by the 2016 British Quadrathlon Series winner Jean Ashley, who had the fastest kayak spilt of the day of 44.45.
Russell had a clumsy transition on to the bike but, with a reasonable lead, rode tactically to conserve energy, cycling the 36km route in 1.04.28 which, despite being a conservative ride for Russell, was still the fastest bike leg of the day.
As the course was an out and back route, Russell knew she had built a sizeable gap between her and second placed Ashley and so concentrated on holding on to her leading position.
In very hot conditions and fatigued, Russell struggled to set a decent pace but, despite this, increased her lead even more, posting the fastest run as she crossed the finish line in first place in 3.02.13.
This was a massive 11mins, 10secs ahead of second placed Ashley. Davies made up the podium, finishing in a time of 3.19.52.
An elated Russell said: “I am delighted to take the British title in only my second race and my first race over this longer distance.
“I am really excited about my future in this sport, as I know that as a novice kayaker I can make big gains on the kayak leg.”
Russell is now aiming to add the British Trophy Series title to her British Championships crown. The series rewards consistency across the season and competitors have to score in three races to challenge for the title.