Claire steels herself for GB debut Down Under

Claire Steels is in Adelaide for the World Duathlon Championships.

Claire Steels is in Adelaide for the World Duathlon Championships.

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Emerging local athlete Claire Steels warmed up for her Great Britain debut with a win in the National Duathlon Championships at Oulton Park.

Steels was the first lady home by over a minute and 30th overall after a 22k bike ride sandwiched between two 4.3k runs in 1.07.4.

Steels has now flown out to Adelaide, Australia as part of the GB team for a World Championship event.

Steels, a Bourne Town Harrier who is a self-employed personal trainer, said: “It was a very tough race on an undulating course, but I’m really happy though as it was the best possible preparation for my trip to Australia.

“I’m really looking forward to representing my country. I’m very excited, but I’m also a little nervous.

“I am competing in the sprint race which is a 5km run, 20km ride, 2.5km run.

“I am still so new to the sport and I am worried about coming up against people who are a lot more experienced than I am, although racing against the best in the world is going to be a great learning curve and a fantastic experience. There are 1210 athletes competing in Adelaide next month, which is an event record.”

Steels (24) has funded most of the trip herself, but has also received overwhelming support from friends, family and Peterborough-based company Vital Recruitment who have helped finance the flights.

“I’m very grateful to everyone who has helped me,” Steels added.

Steels, a former skipper of City of Peterborough Ladies Hockey Club, competes in Adelaide on October 18, just 10 months after completing her first duathlon.

PACTRAC also had three members in action at Oulton Park competing over the standard distance (run 6.25 miles, bike 25 miles, run three miles) and two of them won gold medals.

Veteran George Prodrick won the gold medal in his age group (75-79) in 2.31.11 and Paul Vernon, who was third overall in 1.40.05, was first in the 40-45 age group.

Vernon was 1:41 minutes behind the overall winner and secured the bronze medal by 29 seconds.

Jim Fell was the third PACTRAC man competing and he was fifth in his age group (65-69) in 2.21.23.

Fell is also off to Adelaide with Steels. He only took up the duathlon last year and has already respresented GB in a similar event in Spain when he finished 19th on his international debut.

Two PACTRAC-ers took part in the TriCrazy Bedford Sprint Triathlon at Robinsons Pool in Bedford.

It was the third and final race in this year’s series and Terry Murphy came second in his age group and also second in the series.

The distances were swim 400m, bike 15 miles and run three miles and George Swallow clocked 1:28:29 and Murphy 1:35:34.