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© John Russel
A ballbusting success
Posted by: Press Releases
Posted on: Tuesday 10th November 2009


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With nine previous winners on the start line, the 20th anniversary of the triandrun Ballbuster, organised by Human Race Events, was set to be a memorable occasion, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

The eight mile run, followed by a 24 mile bike and another eight mile run, climbing to the top of Box Hill no less than five times, is never one for the faint hearted, and the 20th edition wasn’t any different. With the exact same course having been used since the first event back in 1990, the event has since built up an unsurprising reputation of being the toughest duathlon in the UK, and forever holds a special place in the heart of anyone who conquers it.

The start line for the sell-out 20th edition, read like a ‘whos’ who’ of the duathlon world with many of the previous winners having traveled miles to be there to take part in the celebration event. Taking their places alongside the 500 other competitors, the pressure was certainly on for what promised to be a spectacular morning of racing.

The rain from the previous night had stopped and athletes were greeted with the most perfect autumnal weather for the early 8am start on Box Hill. As the racing got underway, it was Ben Pochee (former GB runner) who led the first run in 43 minutes, coming into T1 alongside former winner Dan Corner (racing in the ‘superstars’ relay team). They were followed closely by most of the previous winners in a well paced group, including Lee Piercy, Wayne Smith, Mark Stenning, Richard Hunt, James Gilfillan and also including Darren Treadaway, Julien L’Homme and Andrew Mercer, all looking pretty comfortable.

Onto the bike however, and no-one could match the competence and confidence of two times winner Wayne Smith (read Wayne's race report on our sister site Duathlon247 here) who powered away to obliterate the field and record the fastest bike split of the day.

Coming into T2, it was now Smith in the lead with Rich Hunt hot on his heels and James Gilfillan a couple of minutes back in third.

Pochee was way back, having suffered a puncture and Piercy, also with a flat, had been forced to retire – at his second Ballbuster in a row. Smith put the hammer down even more on the run however to secure his position and take the win in 2:40.41 – not quite matching the course record of 2:34 held by Gary Gerrard from 2001, but a fantastic time and a record third win for him. Richard Hunt (Kudu Bikes Tri Club) was second in 2:42.48 with James Gilfillan (Primera-Bournemouth) in 3rd in 2:44.35.

The ‘Ballbuster Superstars’ racing in a relay team were made up of all previous winners – Dan Corner, Mike Jubb and David Vaughan – and placed third overall in 2:44.12.

As for the ladies – with six times winner Helen Dyke struck down with swine flu, Emma Dews also struggling with illness and Michelle Parsons unable to race – the title was wide open and up for grabs. Anja Heijnen (votwo.co.uk) led convincingly from start to finish, to take the title in 3:11.48 and also to impressively take the veteran win in the 40-44 age group. Liz Wynn (Serpentine RC) was second in 3:18.25 with Gemma Farrell in third in 3:25.49.

John Lunt, Director of Human Race commented ‘I think this was one of the best ever Ballbusters. The atmosphere was fantastic today and it was a real honour to have so many previous winners taking part. The Ballbuster continues to go from strength to strength and we are, as ever, thrilled with how so many people come back time and time again to take part in this epic event which is a ‘must do’ on the racing calendar’.

South Africa’s Wayne Smith, now the only man ever to win the Ballbuster more than once, said ‘I was aiming for the top three, so I’m delighted with the win today, especially with so many past winners here and after a very difficult year for me with injury. This is such an epic race and it’s great to win for the third time. It’s a deceptively technical bike course and suits a confident and fearless rider. I’d love to see the likes of Alistair Brownlee, Bryan Keane and Phil Graves go head to head here though.. now that would make for an exciting race’

The Spring Ballbuster takes place on 6th March 2010 and entries are now open costing £62. Enter online at www.humanrace.co.uk

Also coming up: Merrell Off-Road Series – MTB Duathlons and Trail Runs:

  • IceMan - 21st November
  • MudMan – 6th December
  • WildMan – 23rd January 2010
  • TuffMan – 6th February 2010

For more information go to: www.humanrace.co.uk


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