On Sunday Holmfirth Harriers held their first Holme Moss Duathlon. Billed as a tough hilly course, with fantastic views of the Holme Valley (Last of the Summer Wine Country), it certainly tested competitors to their limits. Glorious sunshine greeted the 60 or so brave souls as they gathered for the start.
The race began with a 10.5km run, with the first mile all uphill, and a 2nd mile featuring the stepped climb to the Victoria Tower. As the runners came into sight it was pre-race favourite Richard Anderson of the promoting club who took the steps first, having opened up a 20 second lead on Chris Birchall. Mark Tuckett lead the small chasing group 30 seconds adrift.
In the Ladies race Donna Edmondson Booker (Leeds And Bradford Triathlon Club) had already opened up a 60 second advantage over Kath Farquhar (Holmfirth Harriers) and Sophie Lovell who were running shoulder to shoulder.
The rest of the first run was slightly easier, but finished back down the opening mile, which left some runners suffering from cramp as their came into transition. Worst effected was early leader Anderson, who had to pull out.
The 40km bike ride featured the climb of Holme Moss followed by the long hard drag up the Woodhead pass, but also featured the short sharp climb of Smithy Place Lane after a mile – which is hard enough to walk up, let alone ride up and a hard 10km run.
Chris Birchall was the first rider to hit Smithy Place Lane, followed by Tuckett, with Rob Savin (Holmfirth Harriers) close behind in third – less than a minute separate the three as the headed off on the faster section before the climb of Holme Moss.
Given the running ability of Birchall it was vital his rivals open up a lead on the non-drafting bike course and as they hit the foot of Holme Moss Tuckett had passed Birchall and opened up a 30 second advantage, with Savin still holding third.
Coming into transition two and Tuckett had built up a 90 second lead over Savin, with Mark Walsh (MyTriClub) having moved into third after the faster cycle leg of the day, with Birchall having dropped out of contention for the overall.
Tuckett was full of running and increased his lead further still on the gruelling final run to finish in 2 hrs 19 mins 18 secs. Savin maintained his second place on the final run, with Walsh safe in third. Phil Hinchliffe (Wakefield Tri Club) was first Vet in fourth place, with Birchall having to settle for the two fastest run times and fifth place overall.
In the Ladies race Edmonson Booker completed the first run in 45 mins 44 secs to give her a 3 minute lead heading into the cycle leg, and by the foot of Holme Moss she’d increased her further still on Farquhar, who had pulled well clear of Lovell. But by transition two Farquhar had reduced the gap to 2 minutes thanks to her climbing ability. Edmondson Booker crossed the line in 2 hrs 38 mins 29 secs to take the win, with Farquhar second overall and first Vet (2:41:02) and Lovell in third.