And hot on the heels of her British triumph, 16 year-old Serena O’Connor came an impressive seventh in her first ever European Elite Duathlon Championships.
In the challenging sport of duathlon you not only have to be a fine runner but also a proficient cyclist.
The rising star said: “I’ve only done a few duathlons before – I come from a running background – so I was thrilled to win the British title.
“Taking part in my first European competition held in Germany was an amazing experience and it was an honour to be competing for Great Britain.”
For her British title Serena took part in the duathlon that was being held as part of the British Triathlon Youth and Junior Super Series events.
The run leg of the race headed out towards Windsor Castle and the bike course undulated through the expansive grounds of Windsor Park.
Having recently impressed in cross country events – a third in the inter-county championships and a fifth in the nationals – Serena was expected to do well in the running sections of the race.
She expertly stayed in touch with the leaders during the first leg-run while conserving energy for the cycle section.
Her commitment to training recently, including a Triathlon England regional training camp, showed in Serena’s bike handling skills, helping her to avoid a collision and enter the final run stage in third place.
She attacked the final 2.5k run superbly to overtake her competitors – leaving an impressive 16 second gap between her and her nearest rival to take the British title.
Executive Principal of the LeAF Academy, Gill Blanshard, said: “Winning the British junior duathlon title is an amazing achievement for Serena.
“She then qualified to represent Great Britain in the European championships in Germany, a great honour that she richly deserved.
“Serena is a very talented young athlete and is embarking on what looks to be a very promising career.”
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