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Claire Hitchings: Cross Du Champ
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Thursday 2nd April 2015


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Following Sunday's Triathlon England National Cross Duathlon Championships which took place as part of the Tri Spirit Events Hole Park Duathlon, we brought you the race report of men's winner Jim McConnel, which you can revisit HERE.

Following that, we decided to track down the women's winner Claire Hitchings (7Oaks Tri Club) too, and find out more about her race in the mud.


I was over the moon to win the Triathlon England National Cross Duathlon Championships on Sunday.

The event comprised a 10k run, 26k mountain bike, followed by a 5k run. I was using it to get experience of mountain bike racing; having recently switched from Sprint triathlon to XTERRA, in search of a new challenge.

Claire HitchingsFor me the trouble with duathlon is that it has running in it... a lot of running!! In addition, the event seems to attract super-fast runners, but one of my goals for 2015 is to try new events in nice locations so I found myself on the start line in pretty rubbish spring weather.

2 hours, 48 minutes and 53 seconds later and I think I had fun in a warped way. I'd crossed the line as first female athlete, 10 minutes ahead of the next female racer. Bloomin’ eck it was hard.  My glutes were absolutely screaming and I don't think there was a part of me not caked in mud.

I'd come in from the 10k run as second female, which I was really pleased with. It was so muddy that my trainer came off on the run.

Once on the bike it was time to try and make up time on the lead female. The first half of the bike course was lovely but the second half was a lot less lovely, and I found it hard to control the bike in the mud. I had to keep scooping mud out of my front forks to allow the wheel to turn. Just as we approached the end of the first lap, which was uphill and into the head wind, I passed the lead lady. For the remaining two bike laps I tried to stay focussed and upright and remained in the lead.

Transitioning in to the second run I was nervous about cramping in my calves, but fortunately they held out and I was delighted to take first spot.

Pos Women
1st Claire Hitchings (7Oaks Tri) 2:48:53
2nd Karen Haley 2:58:18
3rd Barbara Wenner-Grogan (Ashford Tri Club) 3:06:05
4th Vanessa Taylor (Hillingdon Triathletes) 3:06:44
5th Liz Pillans (Chichester Westgate Triathlon Club) 3:14:47

This race was a little taster for me just to see what form I'm in for my main race in September – the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in Sardinia.

Thanks to my coach, Paula George from VO2 Maximum Triathlon Coaching - www.vo2maximum.com

Claire Hitchings


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