Stockton Duathlon takes places in the north of England and features three separate races for different abilities.
All races are on fully closed roads. Run and cycle routes are around the Stockton Riverside taking in the three main bridge crossings as well as the Tees Barrage.
The multi-lap nature of the bike route means that spectators can see the bikes up to four times per lap. So it’s also a very spectator friendly race. There is a comprehensive event site with trade stands as well as a range of on-site refreshments. Great to bring family and friends along.
I was not as prepared for this race as I usually am due to having to make a 600-mile round-trip to Loughborough earlier in the week, so I couldn't train as planned.
I drove to Stockton on Saturday and went for a run and an easy spin on the bike but felt fatigued. That wasn't a good feeling the day before a race, but I tried to keep a positive mindset as the race was just a training one. I had a good rest in the afternoon/evening and woke up on Sunday morning feeling refreshed with plenty of time to get ready as the race started at 1pm.
I headed to the race location, prepared transition and went for a quick run to warm up. My warm-up run was fast, effortless, and easy which gave me confidence for the race.
I started at the front of the group, trying to get a good place next to the fastest guys. After 500m or so felt I was running faster than I should so eased my pace a bit, just enough to feel I could keep it up for the full 10k. It was a bit windy and cold but I was running comfortably, trying to control my technique. My form was more important than pace, so I didn't check my watch at all. I knew I was running fast, chasing the fastest guys.
I got to Transition, put my helmet on and took my bike; it was time to let my legs do what they do best. Stockton is a 6-lap circuit with some u-turns and plenty of roundabouts. The first lap was the slowest one as I needed to get used to the course. The next 5 laps were pretty much at the same speed, going hard but knowing I could be a bit faster as I wanted to preserve my legs for the second run.
By the end of the bike I had gained 2 positions, so the job was done. I got to transition and it took me a while to take off my helmet as my hands were so cold!
I started the second run feeling pretty strong. I could see the guy in front of me, he wasn't far ahead so I tried to catch up with him. The 5k run wasn't quite long enough for me to catch him and he finished only 14 seconds ahead of me. Another few metres and I would've taken him.
I crossed the line in 11th position, 4th in my age group. Not my best finish position, but my best overall race, the strongest one and the fastest 5k I've done at the end of a standard duathlon.
So, not bad for a training race. I'm heading to the World Championships next which are on 27th April. I did the best I could and now I feel more confident for the important race!
About the author: Alvaro Martin Hernandez is a Team GB Age Group triathlete and Sundried ambassador.