London Duathlon 2011

Richmond Park Hosts the

2011 London Duathlon

Richmond Park hosting the Duathlon

The rainy, blustery conditions that have been the norm for the past few weeks, failed to stop people of all ages and levels of sporting ability turning out in huge numbers for the annual London Duathlon at Richmond Park on Sunday 11th September

The challenge of the final running stage: line of competitorsA demanding race: run-bike-runEvents for all abilities. Young or old, at your peak level of fitness performance, or simply able to muster up just enough energy to complete the course, there were races to suit and challenge everyone’s potential for running and cycling around the Park.

The London Duathlon is the world’s largest duathlon and is held annually in Richmond Park. Since its inception in 2005, participation has increased substantially and although some considered the turnout to be “quieter than last year” there was still a healthy level of interest – with some 4,000 people taking part.

Off to the start: bikers walking to the startDespite the blustery, windy conditions – which added at least 10 seconds to everyone’s time – everyone appeared to enjoy the challenge, whether they were fun runners/cyclists or serious duathlon and triathlon athletes.

The events were structured so that athletes of all abilities had the chance to race in the unique environment of Richmond Park; the races, comprising 3 sections of running, cycling and then running again, covered a range of distances.

The Ultra Duathlon required competitors to complete a 20km/80km/10km race; the Elite and Challenge races covered a course around Richmond Park of 10km/20km/5km.

The Elite winner, 17 year old Rhys Park, performed the remarkable feat of remounting after a bad fall on a tight turn and catching up on a downhill stretch at a speed that led to his eventual victory. This athlete is definitely a talent worth looking out for in the future!

Worth it in the end; competitors with medalJust checking my time: have I met my target? Male competitorYou did not need to be a serious contender to participate in the challenge on the day. Enthusiastic “joggers” were also welcome and Fun Runs for both adults and children were challenging but manageable for those simply out to enjoy the event.

Of course, there were also those competitors who, whilst not considering themselves elite contenders had trained to a standard well above that of an occasional jogger. For them, the day was very much about challenging themselves and trying to achieve their personal best.

Events for children. Over at the rugby ground next to the main arena and the finishing line for all the events, children as young as 5 years old were taking part in their own mini versions of the adult races.

The final burst: young girl competitorSplit into varying age groups the children raced around doing their very best and encouraged by an enthusiastic team of Duathlon staff – making sure that the children raced safely and successfully.

A family day out. For many, the Duathlon was very much a family event with each member proudly sporting a medal for completing a race.

Interest in this form of sporting activity appears to be increasing and the London Duathlon offers a challenge appealing to thousands of athletes now focusing on longer distance racing.  The 20km : 80km : 10km event is one of the few opportunities to race at these distances in the UK. For this reason the London Duathlon attracts competitors from all over the Country and many people attending last Sunday had travelled long distances with friends or family so that they could participate in the event.


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