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Local trio heat up duathlon champs in Potch

Date Released: Mon, 13 May 2013 14:00 +0200

A freezing 2°C start couldn’t deter local athletes Natalie Ross, John van Onselen and Terri-Lynn and Stephen Penney from bringing the heat to Potchefstroom at last weekend’s 2013 African Continental Champs, SA Duathlon Champs and SA Long Distance Duathlon Champs.

The Penneys and Ross dominated their respective races, with Terri-Lynn winning the women’s long-distance duathlon, while her husband Stephen placed first in his age group in the same event.

Rhodes University post-graduate student Ross placed third overall and second in the 20-24 age group of the Olympic-distance duathlon.

This puts her in line to qualify for the South African national team that will travel to the World Championships in Switzerland in September.

The final squad announcement is yet to be made.

Ross had a fantastic race, finishing in a time of 2:16:51, just 40 seconds behind the women’s winner. “I absolutely loved Sunday’s race.

I felt really strong during both run sections and was really happy with the result and particularly with my time,” Ross told Grocott’s Mail.

Although she personally prefers duathlons to triathlons, as running is her strongest discipline, Ross has been selected for the national triathlon team as well.

She hopes to compete in both World Champs events if finances allow.

In the long-distance event consisting of a 20km run, 80km cycle and 10km run, Stephen started the race at lightning pace, completing the first 20km run leg in just 82 minutes.

The cycling leg was admittedly his biggest challenge, yet Stephen pushed through a difficult last 15km, after which he comfortably completed the final run route.

Stephen said he was very happy with his time, finishing 17 minutes under his five-hour target. “This was my first long-distance race and I would definitely do it again,” Stephen said.

Despite it being a “tough and challenging race”, Terri-Lynn said she was well prepared as she had completed the Ironman just three weeks ago.

On Sunday Terri-Lynn took gold in the women’s event and the title of South African and African Long-Distance Duathlon Champ.

This is the fifth year in a row that she has made the national duathlon as well as triathlon team, yet she won’t be going to the World Champs due to a lack of financial support.

This year the talented athlete has participated in her ninth Two Oceans marathon, the Eastern Cape Duathlon Championships, the Spec-Savers Ironman competition and now the SA and African Long Distance Duathlon Championships – all in six weeks.

Both Stephen and Terri-Lynn will now take a well-earned break, owing to the less congested race calendar over the next few months.

They are keen to continue mountain biking and maintain their fitness before the start of the triathlon season in August.

Van Onselen finished fifth in the 55-59 years age category.


 Olympic distance:

  • Natalie Ross - 2:16:51 (37:11 10km run, 1:20:34 40km cycle and 19:06 5km run).
  • John van Onselen - 2:23:18 (44:03, 1:15:08 and 24:07)

Long distance:

  • Stephen Penney - 4:43:49 (1:22:01 20km run, 2:31:16 80km cycle and 50:32 10km run)
  • Terri-Lynn Penney - 4:56:06 (1:23:35, 2:47:37 and 44:54)

By Fabio De Dominicis

RUNNING HOT... Braving 2°C starting temperatures at last weekend’s South African Duathlon Championships in Potchefstroom, local athlete Natalie Ross powers through the 10km running leg of the race. Read full report on page 31. Photo: Julie Walker

Source: Grocott’s Mail