Sunday 13th April 2014 marked a significant milestone for me (Russell Kingston) and represented a proud personal achievement when I made my debut as a GBR Age-Group Athlete.

The journey began at Ironman Copenhagen last year where my time was good enough to entitle me to register my intent with the BTF to qualify for several long distance events in 2014. The first of which was this race.

My preparation over the winter wasn’t great having struggled with an ankle injury since Copenhagen. Plus I’d never raced over this distance before so it was difficult to have any real targets or expectations. I knew that the race would be won in sub 3hrs – so my aim was to get as close to that as possible and not to embarrass myself by coming last!

The race briefing was on the Saturday and it was rather ironic that the Race Director read a personal message from a certain Michelle Parsons to all the athletes  wishing everybody good luck and advising us not to try and win the race in the first run – sound advice from a respected and accomplished Powerwoman.

The race was held on the Sunday morning and consisted of a 15km run, 60km bike and a 7.5km run. There were 134 Male Age Group Athletes on the start line (26 of which were in my Age Group). The first run involved 6 x 2.5km laps around the town. It was a fast flat run with a lot of tight corners and with Michelles advice ringing in my ears I tried not to get drawn into the relentless pace of the front runners. I ran a solid 1:01 thinking I’d left a little in the tank to nail the bike. However, once on the bike I could feel my calfs on the cusp of cramping every time I put a bit of extra effort in. The bike was 3 x 20km laps of long flat straights through the countryside and technical twists and turns in the town. I came into T2 feeling strong and ready for the final 3 x 2.5km lap run. However, as soon as I got on the run course I could feel my quads on the cusp of cramping up. It took about 2km before my legs settled down and I was able to run without the fear of cramp. I crossed the line in a respectable time of 3:20:00 putting me in 13th position in my Age-Group and the 4th Brit. Although I had no expectations I was disappointed not to get into the top 10. But in hindsight I’m happy with that result and it gives me a good benchmark for next year. It also sets me up nicely for my next appearance for GBR at the ETU Long Distance Triathlon Championships in September.