Presenting athletes with the chance to grace the big stage at the European Middle Distance Championships, the stakes were high in the recent Box End Duathlon race. After the success of her recent outing at the World Triathlon Sprint & Relay Championships in Montreal, where she finished 6th in her age group race, Caitlin Peers was all in for another international expedition.

It was by no means a given though. When the prize to represent your country is on the line, the competition is always going to be stiff. Caitlin really excels in the cycling and the running disciplines though so for her, duathlons are the perfect event. With the bike section being 60km as well, if you are a good cyclist that allows plenty of time for your prowess to come to the fore.

Caitlin heads across the grass on the 10k run

Caitlin Peers was competing in the Box End Middle Distance Duathlon Qualifier

It does mean running two 10km sections though either side which is very challenging. Being such a quick runner though, that should in theory have helped elevate Caitlin’s position in the final standings, even though it was a tough undertaking. And what’s more, the runs were off-road as well, adding to the challenge even further.

Caitlin heads along the grass in the Box End Middle Distance Duathlon Qualifier

Caitlin was harbouring hopes of qualifying for the European Middle Distance Championships

Even though it came up slightly longer than the specified 10km, with the distance actually being closer to 6.5 miles, Caitlin still managed to get round the first run in 42:05, which was 7th quickest out of anyone in the field. At that point, she was first female, with Lucy Mapp of Cambridge Tri her closest challenger, just 30 seconds back.

With the margins being so fine, even the transitions could prove crucial. Caitlin was quickest out of anyone in that first transition, getting out of her trainers and onto her bike in just 32 seconds.

Caitlin makes her way down the grass path

Caitlin was the quickest female and 7th fastest in the field on her opening run

On the bike, Caitlin and Lucy were very evenly matched and in the end it was Lucy who was slightly quicker of the two. She got round in 1:57:47, with Caitlin completing the four lap, 38.7 mile route in 1:58:22.

However, Mariana Marques of Clapham Chasers was quicker than both of them and had shot into the lead with her lightening quick time of 1:49:52. That gave her an advantage that was going to be nigh on impossible to claw back in the final run.

Caitlin Peers in action at the Box End Middle Distance Duathlon Qualifier

The second run proved tougher for Caitlin after her long bike ride and previous run

The tiredness was beginning to take its toll on Caitlin at this stage but she showed tremendous grit and character to keep going and continue working hard. Getting through the second 6.4 mile run in 46:31, Caitlin completed her duathlon race, recording an overall time of 3 hours 28 minutes and 17 seconds.

Caitlin gives her all in the Box End Middle Distance Duathlon Qualifier

Caitlin was always in line for a top three female finish

Lucy Mapp had an excellent second run, getting round in 43:24 and Mariana completed her second run in 44:46. In the overall standings, that meant that Mariana Marques had indeed finished as first female with a total combined time of 3:19:59. That was good enough to see her placed 9th overall in the field, which was a pretty impressive return.

Caitlin looks pleased with her performance

Caitlin was happy with her performance as she came across the finish line

Lucy took the runner up spot with a total combined time of 3:25:29 which her in 15th place in the overall standings. Caitlin was less than three minutes behind her, taking third female spot and finishing 19th overall.

Marie Brush of Race Rapid swept in to take fourth female spot in 3:39:57, which was over 11 minutes behind Caitlin.

Caitlin completes the Box End Middle Distance Duathlon Qualifier

It was an excellent third place finish for Caitlin and she was first in her age group

The overall winner of the race was Andy Nice, who completed the duathlon in 3:06:26. Phil Mant of Tri Force Endurance was second in 3:08:11, with Jonathan Reid of Race Rapid taking third in 3:09:16.

Caitlin comes into the finish at the Box End Middle Distance Duathlon

Caitlin completed the Duathlon in 3 hours 28 minutes and 17 seconds

It had been a good day for Caitlin as a top three spot gave her, not only a place on the podium, but also first in her age group as well, which was the 25 to 29 bracket. And more importantly, it was also enough to give her a qualifying place for the GB Age Group Team at the 2023 European Middle Distance Championships.

Caitlin with medal after Box End Middle Distance Duathlon Qualifier

Caitlin receives her well earned medal after a gruelling race

That means she has another major tournament to look forward to next year where she’ll be donning the infamous blue tri-suit and representing her country once again.

The top three females at the Box End Middle Distance Duathlon Qualifier

Caitlin assumes her position on the podium as third placed lady