Belvoir Castle and the Beaver Triathlon provided the battle ground for the British Middle Distance Championships in Leicestershire this weekend. With the lead changing through both races, Scott Neyedli and Polly Linskill were the first male and female athletes respectively across the line.
Neyedli made the trip from Scotland and was tipped by many as favourite for the race based on his background as a professional Ironman athlete and Scottish record time of 8:17:53.
However, now retired from full time triathlon and racing over the shorter distance of 1900 metre swim, 74 kilometre bike and 20km run, Neyedli was conscious of several fast competitors in the field.
The Oil and Gas engineer commented: “I was toing and froing at the front end of the field throughout most of the race but a couple of fast guys came through on the run and I was caught on the first lap, but I kept my own tempo and my own race. It went to the last mile and it was more or less like a sprint finish.”
He added: “I’m totally over the moon, really shocked. I knew there were a couple of full time athletes here so I’ll take the win!”
Neyedli finished 19 second ahead of Karl Alexander and a further two minutes ahead of local Leicestershire professional triathlete, Craig Twigg. Tom Vickery, who led for much of the run, finished fourth overall.
The women’s race was similarly close fought with Georgie Rutherford setting herself up with a lead on the bike, only to be forced to the side of the road with a double puncture. Jenny Hewitt cycled really well to put herself in the lead at the start of the run, but it was Sheffield’s Polly Linkskill who took up the lead mid-way through.
Linkskill used her fell running background to stretch her lead, despite Rutherford running up through the field after her earlier punctures. Linkskill won overall with 90 seconds to spare over Rutherford and Hewitt was third.
Linkskill said: “That was a massive surprise, it really was. It’s a beautiful course, I thought the hill was the best bit of it. I enjoyed it and treated it like it was four separate hill reps.
“I came off the bike third so I thought I would be coming third, I didn’t think I’d be catching anyone up, I was very surprised, I didn’t know what to do with myself when I was winning.”
Rutherford was pleased with second, despite being slowed down with the punctures: “I felt my back tyre go and as I stopped I could hear the font one hissing away at me. As soon as I got back out there I had the advantage of passing people so I felt really great.”
She added: “It was a nice four-lap hilly run and again playing catch up is the best way to be. The other girls were really strong so it was nice to have some really good competition.”
British Middle Distance Champions were crowned across age-groups from 20 up to 75-79, where Peter Norman became the national champion:
M20-24, Benjamin Tolputt, 4:26:55
M25-29, Tom Vickery, Cambridge Tri Club, 4:03:51
M30-34, Richard Shephard, 4:12:06
M35-39, Scott Neyedli, Fleet Feet Triathletes, 3:59:52
M40-44, Craig Twigg, Racetime Events Race Team, 4:01:51
M45-49, Colin Lewin, blackhawkbikes.com, 4:10:11
M50-54, Robert Herring, 4:30:02
M55-59, Nick Ballard, BRAT, 4:24:19
M60-64, Stuart McGowan, Bike and Run/Hillingdon Tri, 4:56:18
M75-79, Peter Norman, 7:10:31
W20-24, Gail Brown, 5:22:10
W25-29, Polly Linskill, 4:32:01
W30-34, Jennifer Hewitt, Team Milton Keynes/ 7Hundred, 4:34:39
W35-39, Heather Parkin, Wakefield Triathlon Club, 5:03:15
W40-44, Rachael Cubberley, 5:33:44
W45-49, Frances Malin, Team Milton Keynes, 5:04:15
W50-54, Jo Gundle, 5:12:12
W55-59, Jane Wiley, 7Oaks Tri Club, 5:02:42