However, this last week I had two races, one of was the British Modern Biathlon Championships, which I will get on next, but first a Cross Country race at Harrow School. A really tough course in their huge school grounds which made me think this was not going to be easy. And it wasn't. With boys potentially almost two years older and from schools such as Harrow, Eton, Westminster, St Edwards and St Albans the field was looking strong. The course was two laps of about 3.5 km each on various terrain. However, most of it was in ankle deep wet grass with a layer of water at the bottom just to keep your toes nicely refreshed. The little grip given in the muddy fields added to the toughness of this course and the obstacle of the stream made for an interesting leap of faith. Nevertheless I set off hard to get space and found myself in third place. About halfway through the lap I knew the pace was too high and dropped back to the group behind. I managed to stick with this group for the rest of the way round finding myself continuously shifting around the top 10. Nearing the finish I upped the pace through a final woodland bit and up the last hill, knowing it was then downhill to the finish. Crossing the line in 9th place out of 55 U19's I was extremely pleased and being the first home from my school added to my joy! Think I'm getting the hang of this off-road cross country racing now!
Now to a slightly more important race; the British Modern Biathlon Championships which I mentioned in my last blog. The race was in Solihull, Birmingham, and consisted of a 200m swim with about an hours break before a 1600m track run. On arrival the conditions were very wet and windy so I knew the run was going to be a challenge. But first the swim. This being me weaker of the two disciplines I had to give it all. Hoping that my bright trunks would distract the other competitors, the gun went and I went for it. Finishing with a time of 2:24 I was pretty pretty pleased as it was faster than my last time by 4 seconds and therefore gained some extra points, 1052 to be exact. After the swim I was in 7th place and knew I had to make up quite a bit of ground to improve my position. I knew I was probably the strongest runner in the field and so I warmed up well bracing myself for the cold and wet conditions. Luckily for us the rain started just as we got going and it got harder and harder throughout the race! To my surprise, despite the atrocious conditions, I finished with a PB of 4:42! How I did that I am not quite sure. This gave me the fastest run of the day by quite some distance and gave me the confidence I would move up the rankings. Sure enough when the final results were published I had 1262 points with a total of 2314 points securing me 4th in Britain for the U19's! A result I was not expecting being ranked 9th going in to the competition! I'm absolutely over the moon!
A huge congratulations to my schoolmates who were up in Birmingham competing as well, Lois Wyatt and Ollie Coles, who both finished 5th in the U19's! The next Biathlon will be sometime in early 2016 which will be the British Schools Biathlon Championships where hopefully I can make more improvements.
December is a quiet month with no races just another good month of solid training and a short holiday in Belgium before Christmas. Oh! and how could I forget the intense pressure of A levels too, its just great! What's even better is the amazing support I have from Pedal Potential! A huge thank you to them for sponsoring me this year and in the future! Thank you to everyone else who supports me to help me achieve my goals! I couldn't do it on my own!
Until the next time...