A speedy run leg helped Neil Collins impress for Great Britain in the European Triathlon Championships.
With more than 700 triathletes gathering in Switzerland for the age-group races it was a superb spectacle.
Collins was part of a very strong Great Britain team as they battled Europe’s best.
The top three British athletes in each age group guaranteed a return for next year’s European Championships in Lisbon.
Collins secured one of those spots and finished 13th overall in the 40-44 age category.
The Southsea triathlete completed the sprint distance triathlon with a time of 1hr 10min 7sec.
Collins races confidently in the knowledge he is strong on the run and can make up time on his rivals on the final discipline of the three.
He did just that in the European Triathlon Union (ETU) event with a brilliant 5k run split of 17min 30sec.
That was crucial after he exited the swim in 29th place.
On the bike leg he made up nine places and then another seven on the run.
Collins said: ‘My race all went to plan, but I’m actually quite stunned (and slightly humbled) by the performance of some of the foreign competition in my age group.
‘Our 2014 national champion, Chris Stuart was top Brit with sixth place, followed by Andrew Martin (2015 national bronze) in 11th and then me in 13th.
‘I had the fourth fastest run split with a triathlon personal best of 17.30 but simply couldn’t make up the large swim-deficit.
‘The 40-44 age-group winner, Hungarian Kuttor Csaba totally smashed the course, coming second overall among over 700 competitors. Amazing! He ran two seconds faster than me.’
Collins, who starred in the first two races of Rob Piggott’s Portsmouth Duathlon Series in Southsea this summer, will also be in the GB squad for the trip to Chicago in September for the World Championships.
He was pleased with his performance in Geneva and knows there is room for improvement with the swimming to focus on in training.
‘I think I executed my best possible race so am both satisfied with my performance and inspired to do better in the future,’ added Collins.
‘I’ve got a couple of months now to address the swim weakness and further improve both bike power and run pace.’