Near-perfect racing conditions met athletes lining up for the Merrell ICEMan Duathlon in Frimley, Hants. With none of the eponymous ice in sight, unseasonably warm, almost spring-like, weather greeted the 200 runners and duathletes ready to challenge themselves on the gruelling hills of the Merrell ICEMan.
The Merrell ICEMan Duathlon included a 10km run, 15km mountain bike and final 5km run on the challenging tracks and trail of the Army training ground. Organisers Human Race, had promised pain, hills and fun and athletes weren’t disappointed. Colin Dixon led from start to finish, winning with a stunning time of 1:33:42. Jim McConnel (XTerra Pro) had been breathing down his neck for the entire race and took second place in 1:33:58.
Dixon proved, once again, his supremacy as one of the UK’s top off-road duathletes. Sylvain Garde (Addiscombe CC) was third in 1:39:22, but considering it was his first-ever duathlon, he’ll be one to watch in the future. In the women’s race Maddie Horton (ex GB runner and World mountain runner), racing as Team Certini, led from start to finish and never looked in any danger, taking the win in a superb 9th place overall in 1:46:05. Second over the line was Aileen Anderson (Mudman winner from November) in 1:54:08 and 3rd was Nikki Barron (Ashford Tri) and former Ballbuster winner, in 2:02:49. There were 78 finishers.
Summing it up, athletes found it tough, grueling but brilliant fun. XTerra Pro Jim McConnel said, “These races are great sharpeners for the season ahead, you really find out how your fitness is and what you need to work on”. Paul Davies (8th place overall) had a great time: “It was my first race back after injury, so I was pretty pleased,” he said. “I had a lot of fun on the bike, the course was great, you could really get stuck in – I’ll definitely be back for more”.
Full results are on www.humanrace.co.uk. Human Race’s next event is less than two weeks away – the Merrell MudMan Duathlon and Run (Guildford, Surrey) is on Saturday 7 March. The duathlon is 7.5km run/15km bike/7.5km run, or there’s a 7.5km trail run event if you don’t fancy the multisport option. Again, see www.humanrace.co.uk for further details and online entry.