Reservoir Duathlon - Great result for junior Thornton

Junior endurance athlete triathlete Max Thornton showed all the adult triathletes a clean pair of heels to win the third race in the Ana Leaf winter Duathlon series organised by Guernsey Triathlon Club.

The event was held on the popular Reservoir circuit with an opening 2.5 mile cross country run, a fifteen mile two lap hilly bike course followed by a second 2.5 mile run. Thornton made an early bid for the lead, closely followed by the rapidly improving novice Lloyd Wallbridge in the opening mile down the road from the St Saviour’s Community Centre which kindly hosted the event and transition area.

 Jon Osborne followed closely behind before making a navigational error costing him around a minute on the first run. 

Thornton completed the opening run in 15 minutes and was out onto the bike course before most other athletes approached the transition area where run shoes were swapped for bike shoes and helmets. The hilly bike loop encompassed Les Vauxbelets, Talbot Valley, Kings Mills and the steep climbs of the Dos D’ane and Mont Variouf.

Thornton is the third different winner from three races leaving the overall series wide open, he never looked threatened once he had taken the lead and looked comfortable finishing a full two minutes clear of Wallbridge. 

Thornton’s race was praised by the senior members of the squad and shows real promise for the junior athlete who has a developmental place in the Guernsey triathlon Island Games squad and is also an accomplished swimmer.

Of his own race Max said 'It was great to have a strong first race back this season especially running round the reservoir on my usual running route. The first run I felt strong, picking up the intensity for the rest of the race, coming back to transition with a nice lead! The suspense of not knowing where Jon and Lloyd were on the bike leg was very tough. Getting into the rhythm of the final run was made easier by the downhill start, but near the end I nearly gave in to a little walk, and squeezing out a decent smile for the camera was a challenge too far!'

Wallbridge was pleased with his 2nd place finish overall but praised winner Thornton saying ‘When the race started it was a nice fast down hill first section so had planned to run with the faster guys for as long as I could. As it happens I was one of the faster guys with Max so just tried to keep his pace but he was really strong.’ ‘On the 2nd lap I had a brief glimpse of Max so thought I was catching him but after T2 he was long gone and I had nothing compared to him so just tried to concentrate on my 2nd place because 3rd and 4th place had caught me right up, I was looking over my shoulder for the whole run but I brought it home in 2nd.

 Jon Osborne finished in third place after a strong bike ride and error free second run.

 In the ladies race Magda Puzio and Jenny Keeping had a close first run Eventual winner Puzio says I played it tactically this time. Letting Jenny overtake me on the run and keeping her in my sight on the bike. Then when I had my breath back and composed myself I made a move on the long stretch at Talbot Valley and then push it hard, Off road running suits me well’

Keeping is hoping to attract more women to the club’s Duathlon and Triathlon events. ‘I urge any female on Guernsey that has ever toyed with the idea of merging their running and cycling, or even if you just want to see what duathlon is all about, please come and give the next one a bash. It's such great fun, and you can't beat that feeling of crossing that finishing line, no matter what your position. So come and give it a go! We need to show those guys the girls can do it too’.

Veteran female athlete Andrea Nightingale was the third female finisher.

The final race in the Ana Leaf duathlon series takes place at Pembroke on Sunday 29th March.

Entries are now open for the annual Novice Triathlon at Pembroke on 17th May at Beau Sejour.


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