Former Normanton Knights player Chris Lewis earns World Duathlon bronze medal
Almost perfect dry weather conditions in Northern Spain set the scene for ex-rugby league player turned athlete Chris Lewis to perform well for Great Britain while competing in the World Standard Distance Duathlon held in Aviles.
The Pontefract-born former Normanton Knights player completed his event, consisting of a 10k run followed by a 44k bike race then a further 5k run, in two hours, 54 seconds, finishing in third place in his 35-39 year age group to bag a bronze medal to boot.
In his racing de-brief said: “The first run went off a little fast and although I felt good at 2km in I thought am I going to blow up?
“So when groups formed I stayed at the back as I didn’t want to control the pace and potentially slow it down.
“As the groups split I had to surge past runners three times to get back into groups to ensure my pace didn’t drop off. I finished the 10km run in 31:33.
“On the bike I started picking people off very early and smashed the hill.
At 12km in I was in P4 and knew it was going to be a good day. I could still see the lead motorbike and overtook a French guy to move into third.
“I could only see two bikes in transition and could hear the crowds screaming and cheering.
“I left the transition and saw the Spanish Armada – eight of them – those boys are fast and I had what I estimated a 70 seconds gap.
“My legs felt amazing and strong but my lungs were suffering. As the gap closed to 40 seconds I could here the crowds cheering, but as I passed them they stopped cheering.
“The whole way round I was saying to myself don’t finish fourth, don’t finish fourth. With 100m to go I looked round and couldn’t see anyone. I saw a spectator waving a GBR flag and I grabbed it taking a stroll down the prestigious blue carpet to cross the finish line.”
A fantastic end to an extraordinary period of unprecedented restrictions and cancelled events due to the world wide coronavirus pandemic. Like all focused sports persons he is now looking forward to an even better year in 2022.