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European age group Triathlon Championship, Lisbon, Portugal

Wight Tri member, Liz Dunlop had a storming race, competing in the first of the European Age Group Triathlon Championship races on the Friday, taking place around the Park of Nations on the east side of Lisbon, Portugal.

3 days of racing with both Elite and Age Group Championship medals, contested by over 2000 European athletes.

Starting off with a 750m swim in an enclosed marina, Liz lead out her age group in the swim in 13.26, 1 min 16s ahead of her nearest competitor. Onto the fast and undulating out and back 22km cycle course, with a tailwind and fast road surface on the way out, saw Liz passing many cyclists in the younger age groups. However, a strong head wind on the return, made it a tough return cycle. With positions changing behind her on the bike, Liz completed the bike course in 43.14 and entered T2, 1min 12 ahead of the 2nd place.

Even though Liz was not on her best run form due to injury, she still managed to have her best run of the year to complete the 5km (2lap) course in 23.47 and hold of the faster 2nd place runner to finish in 1.23.00, just 13 seconds ahead of the Irish competitor and take the Gold medal, her first ever medal representing Team GB. This result gives Liz a pre-qualification for next year’s European AG Sprint Championships in Düsseldorf, Germany. Unfortunately, she is unable to compete at this as she will be on IW Tri Team managers duty at the Island games triathlon in Gotland, Sweden.

However, she will soon be donning the GB vest again in September at the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Cozumel, Mexico and competing a massive challenge having qualified for all 3 events (aquathlon, sprint and standard).Onto Sunday and the Standard Distance quartet of Natalie Bee, Daron Perkins, Stuart Dyer and Steve Dines took on the longer distance of a 1500m swim/43km cycle (2laps) and 10km (4laps) run with some excellent performances throughout.

Daron Perkins had a solid swim (23.49), exiting T1 in 14th position. However a very impressive  bike split saw him enter T2 in 4th position, having posted the fasted bike split in the 50-54 category of 1.05.33. However a recurring Achilles problem put paid to any chances of a podium place and saw him lose a further few places to finish in an excellent 8th position in 2.10.16, with a run split of 38.47. Daron finished as the 3rd GB representative which also earns him a prequalification for next year’s European AG Standard Distance Championships in Kitzbuhel, Austria. Daron has also qualified previously for the standard distance race in Mexico, but yet to decide if he will take up his place.

Stuart Dyer in his second outing of representing Team GB had another good all round performance to finish 26th in the 50-54 age group with swim, bike and run splits of 26.11, 1.09.27 and a fast 37.32 run to finish in 2.15.13. This is a fantastic result also as both Daron and Stuart were competing in one of the largest waves with 73 50-54 year old competitors.

Natalie Bee wore her GB trisuit for the first time and had a great debut. Exiting the swim in 25.21and 13th in the 25-29 age category, she posted a super bike split of 1.15.06 (10th in AG), finishing with a PB 10km time  of 48.58 to take 19th position overall in her age group in 2.32.56.

Veteran Steve Dines had his best race of the season to finish in 21st position in the 60-64 age category in 2.38.54 with good performance in all three disciplines.. A PB time of 30.44 in the swim set him up nicely for a solid bike split of 1.16.19and a run of 48.13.

All 5 athletes are part of the IW Talented Athlete Scheme and would like to thank the IW Council,  Wightlink and the other partnerships for their sponsorship and support in enabling them to compete at such a huge international stage.