EVESHAM quadrathlete Helen Russell has taken an early lead in the 2018 British Quadrathlon Trophy Series after winning the first two races of the season.
Russell, sponsored by the Rivers Evesham Gifted & Talented Scheme, won the 2017 series and is aiming to retain the title this year.
The first race of the series, which was also a World Cup race, was in Brigg, Lincolnshire, and saw athletes take on a 1,500m river swim, 7km kayak, 38km bike and 10km run.
Russell had an excellent start, covering the up and downstream swim leg in 21.59, putting her well ahead of second-placed athlete and current European Sprint Quadrathlon bronze medallist Helen Dyke, who swam 24.18.
Knowing Dyke is a faster runner than her, Russell pushed hard on the kayak and bike legs to create an unassailable gap going into the run leg and crossed the finish line first in a final time of 3:04:12.
Dyke took silver in 3:13:44 and Mary White bronze in 3:26:55.
Russell’s second win was at the Dearne Valley Quadrathlon in South Yorkshire where she again led from start to finish. The race was over a shorter distance of 800m swim, 15km off-road bike, 4km kayak and 5k run.
Russell led out of the swim and managed to build her lead throughout the race, finishing in 1.42.40. The 2016 series winner Jean Ashley took second place in 1.51.07 and Jacqueline Davies rounded out the podium in 1.52.45.
With two wins out of two races, Russell is firmly ahead in the race for the overall series title, which rewards consistency over the season. With six races in the series, Russell will need to win four to secure victory and hopes to build on her lead at the next race in Box End, Bedfordshire, next month.
Russell said: “I am really pleased with my form at the start of the season. Coming from a triathlon background, the kayaking is my weakest discipline, but I have made some real improvements in this following a good block of winter training and am excited to see what the rest of the season brings.”