EVESHAM quadrathlete Helen Russell has taken an early lead in the British Quadrathlon Trophy Race Series after winning the Dearne Valley Quadrathlon in South Yorkshire.
Since taking the British Championship title in Brigg, Lincolnshire, a fortnight ago, Russell, who races for Worcester Canoe Club, entered the race as the favourite but victory was not a given as it would be her first race involving a lake kayak and off-road bike leg.
The race, set in Manvers Waterfront near Rotherham, covered an 800m lake swim, 15km off-road bike, 4km kayak and 5km run.
Russell, sponsored by the Rivers Evesham Gifted & Talented Scheme, had an excellent swim, exiting the water not only as first woman, but also ahead of all the male athletes and entered the bike leg with a lead of 57 seconds on second placed woman Helen Pickford.
Although not very technical, as it was Russell’s first quadrathlon on a mountain bike, she struggled slightly with the bike terrain and was overtaken by the first placed male Cliff Odgers just after the halfway mark.
Although Russell entered transition still leading the women’s field, Pickford had made some time on her and they entered the lake for the kayak leg together.
Russell took to the water well and despite the choppy conditions immediately created a sizeable lead on Pickford, who was also overtaken by Jacqueline Davies and current British Trophy Race series champion Jean Ashley.
Russell entered the final 5km run leg 3mins, 30secs ahead of Davies and, with a large lead ahead of the chasing women, set her sights on catching Odgers, who was still first placed male.
Russell pushed hard and caught Odgers just past the halfway point before extending her lead to finish first overall in 1.45.42, some 42 seconds ahead of Odgers.
Meanwhile, in the women’s race, Ashley overtook Davies on the run to finish second placed woman in 1.52.05, leaving Davies third in 1.54.44.
With two wins out of two series races, Russell is firmly in the lead for the overall series title, which rewards consistency over the season. Just one more victory would secure her the title.
Russell said: “This race was a bit of an unknown for me, as I had never competed in a quadrathlon on a lake or off-road bike leg before, so I was really pleased to take the win.
“I am hoping my good form continues, so that I can take the overall race series title.”