25 Mar Duathlon Race Results and Race Report here
Check out the Race Results here.
Words by Alan Grant
The new fast course for the New Moon Khcycle MetaSprint Series Duathlon at the F1 Pit building hosted some scintillating racing on 16 March, with James Middleditch and Kathryn Haesner emerging as the men’s and women’s champs respectively.
The elite athletes started the day’s business at 6am and the pace was blistering from the onset of the opening 3km run leg, with the field quickly strung out. A trio of Middleditch, Clifford Scott and teenage superstar Bret Izzo were responsible for the damage and such was the pace set, by the 1km mark they already had a significant gap over the rest. They stayed tightly together for most of the run but a closing spurt from Middleditch gave him an edge as they approached T1. Izzo and Scott, had quicker transitions, though, and the three were together again as they rolled onto the F1 track for the 20km cycling leg. A third of each 5km bike lap took place on the Singapore Grand Prix circuit, which gave the competitors the thrill of treading where Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso and Co race every September.
It soon became apparent that Middleditch was the fastest man on track and the lead he built over his two rivals grew each lap. He averaged 40kph for the bike leg and by the time he left transition for the last time, the Englishman’s lead over Scott was 100 seconds, with the 16-year-old Izzo two minutes back in third. There was no doubt now who the winner would be, but Middleditch didn’t take his foot off the gas, instead he ran the fastest third leg 3km split of the day to take the title in imperious fashion. Such was Middleditch’s domination that after he took the chequered flag, he had to wait a whole two and half minutes for the runner-up Scott to join him. Izzo took an impressive third, and at just 16, his time to triumph at the elite level will surely come soon as he continues to grow.
Post-race, the champ revealed his simple but brutal tactics.
“Go hard on the first run, extend the lead on the bike, then hammer it on the second run. So that was the game plan, and that’s how it played out,” Middleditch said. “I was looking for about 30 minutes on the bike, about 12-13 minutes on each run, and then you never know how long transition’s going to be, but anything sub one hour is good and I did 55:30 so I’m very, very happy with the race.”
He also praised the new course.
“It was excellent. The roads were fully closed and they were definitely wider, but obviously starting at 6am it was a little bit tricky doing the first two loops in the dark … but I guess that was part of the fun, it added a little bit of spice to the race,” he said.
If the men’s contest was a three-horse race, it looked like it was going to be a head-to-head contest between Haesner and Winona Howe for the women’s title as they traded the lead in the initial stages. Only four seconds separated them as Haesner led into T1 but it was Howe who exited first and she still had the lead after the first of the four laps of the bike. Haesner, though, caught and passed her on the second lap and once she got into her cycling rhythm, pulled comfortably away. She started the final 3km run with an almost two-minute lead and like Middleditch in the men’s race, she could have taken it easy, but she too showed she’s a fierce competitor by recording the best run split.
The runner-up was Rowena Jayne de Belligny who had overtaken Howe near the end of the bike leg, although the young Singaporean national athlete put in a strong third leg to take the final podium place with ease.
Just like after her Aquathlon win, Haesner was clearly delighted.
“I smashed the first run, but then I lost the lead because I couldn’t get into my cycling shoes, I haven’t had enough racing practice,” said the relatively newcomer to endurance multisports.
“I caught Winona on the second loop then I just kept control on the bike. I love the bike! But I died a bit on the last run,” she said.
Haesner is looking forward to the Sprint Series Triathlon on April 13 and while she was coy about her chances – “Win? I dunno yet, let’s see” – she added ominously for her rivals “if there’s a swim leg, I feel much better.
The stars of the future in the Youths race put on another great show. Racing over a 1.5km/10km/1.5km distance, the boys aged 12-15 set off at a breakneck pace and a pack of five, including Aquathlon winner Kyle Izzo and runner-up Aaron Tan, established themselves as the main players. Tan showed how important a quick transition is in these shorter events and his rapid burst through T1 allowed him to establish a lead on the bike. The chasing mini-pack tried their hardest to catch him but Tan was flying and he recorded the fastest bike split to give himself a 25-second cushion heading out for the final 1.5km run. He was never seriously threatened for the win although a lightning-fast split from runner-up Jack Grant saw him move through the field and took him within 13 seconds of Tan, with Saryu Inishi claiming third place.
Another great race ensued in the Youth girl’s contest with Aquathlon champ Zoe Bowden repeating her victory on the back of a dominant bike leg, which allowed her to break away from a group of four who had closely contested the opening run. The runner up was Talisa Wilson with third place going to Emma Middleditch, from the 12-13 sub-age-group category. It’s worth mentioning that young Ms Middleditch’s second run was not only 30 seconds quicker than Bowden, but also faster than all but one of the boys.
The Discovery race for adults was raced over the same distance as the Youths, with Tan Jiayu and Sarah Tan taking the men’s and women’s titles respectively.
The Kid’s races concluded the day’s action, with the boys and girls aged 8-11 racing over a 500m/6km/500m format. Jackson Campbell emerged as the boy’s winner after a great duel with Samuel Compton. Campbell had a nice lead after the first run, but Compton biked faster and led out of T2, only for Campbell to retake the lead on the final run. Another tight contest illuminated the girl’s race, with Natalie Hunter eventually overcoming Brodie Horn to take the title. India Boyd finished third.
And so to the concluding event of the 2014 New Moon Khcycle MetaSprint Series, the Triathlon at Changi Beach on April 13. The overall titles are decided on a “two out of three” basis, where the competitors’ points gained from the Triathlon are combined with their better performance from the Aquathlon OR Duathlon.
Haesner is an overwhelming favourite for both the women’s triathlon title and the overall crown after her dominating wins in both the Aquathlon and Duathlon, but the men’s picture isn’t as clear-cut. Middleditch will obviously figure, but as he’ll admit, he’s not the strongest of swimmers compared to some of his fish-like rivals, such as Izzo and Aquathlon winner Bryce Chong. That’s not to say he won’t chase them down with his potent cycling and running weapons, but it’s set to be a fascinating contest.
It’s not too late to register for the Triathlon, with Sprint, Discovery, Youths and Kids races again on offer. Full details on what will be a great day out in a festival-like atmosphere, can be found at www.metasprintseries.com.