ZOE CHANDLER turned on the style to finish seventh in the elite sprint event at the British Duathlon Championships in Bedford.
Comprising a 5km run, a 20km cycle and another 5km run, Stratford Athletic Club’s Chandler was sitting in tenth place after the first stage with 17:53 on the clock. She maintained her position throughout the cycle stage – covered in 31:49 – and then made up ground on the final 5km run.
Her 20:32 clocking for the third and final stage moved her into seventh place overall. With a combined time of 1:11:25, the University of Birmingham student was just 85 seconds shy of the bronze medal.
Elsewhere, other Stratford athletes tested their form across a range of terrain and distances.
Andy Cox tuned up for next month’s London Marathon by competing over 20 miles at the Dorney Lake Marathon Prep Race in spectacular surroundings near Windsor.
In a race won by James Westlake in 1:47:02, Cox finished 52nd in a time of 2:22.27, which suggests he is on track to break his personal best of 3:16:51 set in London last year.
Stratford AC members Sarah Odell and Lisa Dallisson were in action at the Ironbridge Half Marathon. Organisers of the event say it is one of the hardest all-terrain half marathons in the country, which appealed to the Stratford duo – if it is tough and muddy, they are in their element.
Odell finished in 228th place and fifth in her age category in 1:51:07, whilst Dallisson was 257th overall and eighth in her age category, clocking 1:53:08.
As the name suggests, ‘The Grizzly’ – an annual off-road running event held in Seaton, Devon – is even more of a challenge.
The weather ensured just that and, with heavy snow forecast and an amber weather warning for the region, race organisers decided to cut the race distance from 20 miles to nine.
This did not make the task any easier, as the ‘cub’ route still included shingle beach, hills, clifftops and steep narrow paths – all in heavy snow.
Lesley Kirk was the sole Stratford member competing in a field of more than 1,200 runners and she finished in 1:59:01 in 817th place.
“This run was not about times,” said Kirk. It was about taking part in a completely unique experience. I just wanted to enjoy it all.”