Competitors gathered at Eridge Park near Royal Tunbridge Wells early this morning as the sun rose over the sprawling fields and a sense of anticipation filled the air at TrailMan, the final event of the Human Race Off-Road Race Series.
At the upper end of the competition, athletes were competing for a coveted place at the top of the Series Leaderboard and, for the first time this year, the series has consisted of both a Duathlon and Trail Running Championship.
Throughout the series points have been awarded for the top fifty finishers in the Duathlon and the longer of the two runs at each event. Today’s TrailMan event consisted of 6km and 13km Trail runs and a Duathlon featuring a 6km run, 20km bike and 6km run, which could also be completed as a relay.
It was the runners who were set off first and a fierce battle at the top of the Men’s Trail Leaderboard saw a coach and his student come head-to-head in search of victory on the 13km course. Going into today’s racing Kevin Quinn carried just a seven point advantage over one of his own athlete’s Joe Croft, having won 3 of the previous 4 series events.
Despite becoming a father to twins just one week ago and dealing with the drama of his wife slipping and breaking her wrist, just yesterday, it was once again Quinn who emerged victorious, leading from the front for much of the race.
An equally competitive women’s series also came down to the wire with Heike Godwin, who was at the top of the Leaderboard ahead of the event, maintaining her great form and finishing eventual champion.
As the male Duathlon competitors set-off the series standings suggested any one of three competitors had a realistic chance of winning the series, Philip Westoby (192 points), Chris Nicholls (186 point) and Samuel Hatfield (174 points).
However Philip Westoby, part of the Army Triathlon Association proved once again to be too strong for the opposition, Chris Nicholls was the second place finisher in the series and there was a tie for third between Samuel Hatfield and Alex Dewar.
The first female finisher was Freya Martin in a time of 2.20.09hrs, claiming her third straight victory in the series, but it was consistently strong athlete Samantha Aplin who was crowned series winner.
To view the final Leaderboard and gallery visit www.humanrace.co.uk/off-road