Having the ability to qualify to represent for World Championships in triathlon based events has its benefits and its taken Caitlin Peers to some exotic, far flung locations. Last year she travelled to Montreal, Canada, for the World Triathlon Sprint & Relay Championships in the summer and to Utah for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship towards the end of the year.
This time round, she was over in Ibiza for the World Triathlon Championships where she was competing in the Age Group competition in an Olympic distance Duathlon. That meant a 9.8km run, a 39.6km bike ride and a 5.2km run to finish with.
She hadn’t had a huge amount of time to train for it. It was probably about six weeks but in that space of time she worked hard to get into good form. She was coming along to the Tuesday interval sessions and was getting visibly faster and stronger.
Booking the Brighton 10k as a practice race, she secured a terrific new PB of 37:35 which gave her great confidence going to the World Champs. But she knew she’d be up against top level opposition, so she would need to be absolutely on her game to get the result she wanted.
In the first run, Caitlin was out in front, having a nice chat and swapping the lead with fellow Brit Mallory Simmonds who was in the 30-34 Age Group. They were going at a very good pace and Caitlin was the quickest out of any of the women in her age group, which was the 25-29 sector, completing the run in 36:38.
The only woman in the Age Group race who could really top that was Georgina Bell, another fellow Brit. She’d been on a running scholarship in California for a few years and had clearly been elevated to the next level. She blasted through the run in 33:26.
Recording the fastest transition out of any woman in any age group, Caitln then set off on her bike ride. Unfortunately Caitlin lost some time to her rivals on the bike part as they had the speedy time trail specialised bikes which are much more aerodynamic. She was using her road bike with time trial bars on it.
Completing the 24.69 mile distance in 1 hour 11 minutes and 27 seconds, she was now behind four athletes who she had been ahead of. Kinga Bazan of Poland, Eve Sealy of Britain and Emma Varley of Britain all completed the bike ride in around 1:06:40 so that was quite a significant different.
She now had the final run to try to claw it back but that was only 5.2km so she was going to have to really go some. Again, she was quicker than everyone else in the Age Group competition, other than Georgina Bell who did it in 19:06.
Caitlin’s time was 20:39 which put her average pace for the run at 6:18 minutes per mile. It was significantly quicker than all the other women in her age group but the Polish woman, Kinga Bazan recorded the next fastest at 21:02. That was enough to see her take the overall victory for the 25-29 Age Group in 2:06:45.
Completing her second run in 22:16, Emily Varley took the silver medal in 2:09:14. Eve Sealy could only manage 23 minutes for the final run and Rebecca Parkin 23:39 so Caitlin had managed to overhaul both of them and take a brilliant bronze medal. Her total combined time was a very impressive 2:10:35.
It was a proud moment for Caitlin, coming third in the world for her age group. Had she had a proper time trial bike, like her other competitors did, she may well have even been crowned world champion. Nevertheless, a bronze medal was a fantastic achievement from Caitlin and one that she will no doubt look back on fondly for years to come.
What this showed was that Caitlin has the potential to become world champion at this and with the right equipment at her disposal, she will surely be able to realise that dream. For now though, being third best in the world for her age group isn’t too bad.
One good aspect about the event being staged in Ibiza was that she was in probably the best possible place to celebrate afterwards. Ibiza is of course known for its vibrant nightlife and popular party scene. No doubt Caitlin made the most of that afterwards and why not? She’d certainly earned it, doing her running club, her triathlon club and her country proud.