The European Quadrathlon Championships took place in Brigg (North Lincolnshire). Steve Clark (GBR) and the German athlete Lisa Hirschfelder won the European title over the distance of 1.5k swim, 7k kayak, 36k bike and 11k run.
The athletes and organizers had a few concerns about the weather some days before the race, because it’s been rather cold and wet throughout Europe. But on race-day everybody was pleasantly surprised. Although it was still quite chilly in the morning, it soon got warmer as the sun came out. However, the water was still pretty cold and the official 13°C not that welcoming.
After the starting gun has been fired, Stefan Teichert took the lead as expected: with the fastest relay swimmer – Lee McCarthy – he first climbed out of the river Ancholme and got into his kayak with more than minute distance to Phil Westoby (GBR), followed by Steve Clark (GBR) with a further backlog of one minute.
During the kayak part Teichert maintained his lead but the fastest paddler Adam Norfolk and Michael Mason (both GBR) approached step by step. Once on the bike Teichert accelerated throughout the flat, but windy bike course. The question was whether his lead would be enough, because Steve Clark had nearly caught up with him because of a very strong performance on the bike.
During the run Teichert tried his best, but his legs wouldn’t run as fast as Clark’s. After six kilometers, Clark overtook Teichert and continuously extended his lead. Steve Clark thus crossed the finish-line first in front of Teichert and Westoby, who fought hard for his third place. Especially his running split was stunningly fast, nevertheless he still has to work on his kayak-performance. Adam Norfolk and Brendan Reese finally finished fourth and fifth.
Concerning the women’s race, the victory went to the German budding Quadrathlete Lisa Hirschfelder, but until she could cross the finish-line waving the German flag, it was a long way. After swimming she had indeed taken the lead, but on the paddle course, her hands were shivering because of the cold water. Although she gave everything, she had to let pass the strong canoeist Sharon Colley (GBR). Once on the bike a relentless pursuit was started. Hirschfelder gained 3 minutes, but Colley was still half a minute in front of her. The young German speeded up and got finally ahead of Colley, who then finished second. In the end, Hirschfelder won her first international Championships well-deserved. The third place went to the Irish athlete and strong triathlete Lisa Dunne.
Noteworthy was the performance of Jack Garner: although the junior “only” finished in 37th place, everybody looked in awe at his performance and cheered him across the finish-line. Garner hasn’t seen anything of the course because he is blind. The young Englishman was guided all the time by an athlete – connected by a cord while swimming and running and the bike and kayak part was completed on a tandem respectively in a K2 (two-man kayak) – respect!
Another athlete really deserving our respect was the third German starter Peter Appelt, who dared a come-back to Quadrathlon after a serious accident last year. The 64-years old athlete successfully finished the race despite a flat tire on the bike.
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