Another top-class field is expected to descend on Langstone Harbour for the third and final leg of the Portsmouth Duathlon Series.
The event, which is in its first year, has proven a huge hit amongst south coast athletes – and another large turnout is anticipated as the bid to become overall champion hots up.
Fay Cripps, who won the first female’s race back in March, is expected to return and reclaim top spot on the podium after City of Portsmouth’s Cassie Thorp sprung a surprise in the second meeting.
However, spectators keen to see the duo go head-to-head in the final installment could be disappointed, with Thorp unlikely to defend the crown she secured last time out.
Nevertheless, the women’s race will prove enthralling – as will the men’s competition that has seen Gary Brind and Simon Jackson come up trumps in previous outings.
Added to that will be the presence of Patrick Huczkowski, who has undoubtedly been the most consistent of all entrants over the series following third and second-placed finishes.
Huczkowski be desperate to go one better when an expected 100-plus field sets off at 8am from Portsmouth Lifeboat Station.
To achieve that goal, though, the entrants must be prepared to go that extra mile or two, with organisers extending the course.
The first two races incorporated a 15k bike ride, sandwiched inbetween two runs of either 5k and 10k.
However, the athletes’ time on the bicycle has now been extended to 23.5k, with the field expected to cycle back from Hayling Island to the start/finish line.
They will have time to catch their breath, though, with Sunday’s event also incorporating a trip across the ferry to Hayling to begin the cycle leg in earnest.
Organiser Rob Piggott has chartered the ferry so that competitors can complete that section of the course safely.
He’s pleased with how the series has gone in its debut year and is looking forward to another exciting race.
‘This is the first year of the duathlon and I have to admit I’ve been very pleased with the response,’ said Piggott.
‘We anticipated around 75 entries for each race but we’ve exceeded that every time and I’d say we expect 100-110 this time again.
‘The course looks good and a good standard of entrants is expected, with the likes of Fay Cripps lining up.
‘You don’t have to be a duathlete to compete, however.
‘Anyone who would love to have a go can come along on the day.’