Successful duathlon series tests the best

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AN EXCITING season of off-road racing drew to a close at Bowhill House and Estate, near Selkirk, at the weekend.

The final stage of the Bowhill Duathlon Series attracted more than 200 entries from across Scotland and northern England, despite challenging weather.

The series incorporates three races in December, January and February, and was originally staged at Glentress Forest. It successfully moved to Bowhill in 2012, and is now organised by Selkirk-based Durty Events. All three races were sold out well in advance this season.

The race on Sunday comprised a tricky and hilly mountain bike course, followed by a stiff trail run. Expected winning times for each of the sections were 40 minutes, but heavy rain and deep mud meant that wasn’t achieved on the run course, and was only just possible for the top few cyclists.

First home was Martin Graham of Midlothian CC in 1:30:38, with a two-minute lead over Graeme Warren from Edinburgh. Alexander Kemp of Clovenfords completed the podium places. The three of them also achieved the same positions for the overall result across the series.

For the women, Joanne Thom (Edinburgh Road Club) overcame a deficit on the bike stage with a strong run to take the win in 1:41:36, and got into the top 10 overall as well, beating almost all the men. Second place went to Peebles-based Caroline Wallace, with third taken by Rosemary Byde (Edinburgh Road Club). A notable achievement was Isla Short of Edinburgh, who was only taking part as a cyclist in a relay team – Isla was 4th overall back off the bike, beating almost all the rest of the field.

The overall series standing for the women were: 1, Joanne Thom; 2, Rosemary Byde; 3, Caroline Wallace.

Next up for Durty Events is the Selkirk Mountain Bike Marathon and British MTB Marathon Championships being held on May 10 – www.selkirkmtbmarathon.com.