Adam Bowden and Matt Sharp confessed their careers are at a crossroads with contrasting emotions after the World Series finale in Edmonton.
Bowden was content after running through a talented field into 12th place. It placed him as the third British finisher behind the Brownlee brothers, but having arrived in triathlon in 2009 with Olympic ambitions, the 32-year-old former steeplechaser admits it may be time to turn his back on draft-legal ITU racing and move up to middle and long distance.
“It’s a big decision as to whether I stay with ITU,” said the Loughborough-based triathlete. “I’m not getting any younger and came into the sport quite late. I had a bit of a swim background at county level but never had the real endurance on the bike, so that was a new thing to me.”
The result in Canada also boosted Bowden to third Briton in the World Series – two spots ahead of Aaron Harris (31st in Edmonton) – and 15th overall; a testing two hours’ work rewarded with $6,800 from the bonus pool.
“I was in a good position but my arms fell off a little on the second lap of the swim and I really struggled to take in oxygen, but that’s the name of the game. On the run I was just trying to push as hard as I could. I wouldn’t say I felt brilliant but I’m still pretty pleased with a solid season.”
Whatever Bowden’s decision, he will not be making a return to the track. “I love triathlon, and it’s hard to earn a living in steeplechase with the Kenyans, so I definitely won’t be going back.”
Sharp was devastated and searching for answers after a failing to live with the pace on the 43.2km bike leg and finishing 50th.
“I had really good preparation but nothing out there,” the 25-year-old said. “I’m gutted. It happens, but shouldn’t at the big ones. I’m in such good shape but it’s that last 5%.”
Sharp, the World U23 Champion in Beijing in 2011, finished fifth in the World Series in Auckland last year and 13th in Hamburg last month, but has too often fallen out of contention on the swim and bike to be able to utilise his undoubted speed on the run.
The Bath-based triathlete, who ran an impressive 1:05:13 in the city’s half-marathon in March, lines up for the Great North Run next Sunday looking to put the latest disappointment behind him.
“I’ll see how I pull up after this, because that was embarrassing,” he concluded.
On a more positive note, Scotland’s David McNamee was pleased to end an injury-ravaged campaign with a solid 14th-place.
“I got an awful swim and didn’t feel great all the way through, but thankfully managed to find some run legs from somewhere. I’m just glad to be back, I’d written this year off at one point, so to be competitive felt great.
“I’ve got a new training group [with Canadian Joel Filliol] and if I don’t have three months off at the start, it might help. Ultimately, if you start back training in April you are never going to be super fit.”
Image: David Pearce, different-perspective.co.uk