Rob Arkell steps up the pace to earn hard-fought Portsmouth duathlon victory

Rob Arkell (left) and Neil Collins competing for the victory. Portsmouth Duathlon Series race one. Picture: David Brawn
Rob Arkell (left) and Neil Collins competing for the victory. Portsmouth Duathlon Series race one. Picture: David Brawn
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Rob Arkell was pleased to get the defence of his Portsmouth Duathlon Series title off to the perfect start in Southsea.

The Ironman triathlete led the way in 1hr 01min 02sec after an epic battle with Neil Collins (01.01.08) in race one.

Lynsey Carveth - first lady. Portsmouth Duathlon Series race one. Picture: David Brawn

Lynsey Carveth - first lady. Portsmouth Duathlon Series race one. Picture: David Brawn

In an exciting opener Lynsey Carveth finished first lady as she showed her class, running and cycling strongly to complete the 5k run, 15k cycle, 5k run in 1.09.40.

Sharn Hooper was the second lady as she finished in 1.10.14.

The conditions were great for racing with sunshine and 223 people finished.

It was an enjoyable start to the season for Arkell and sets him up well for longer distance challenges ahead.

Rob Arkell on his way to a hard-fought victory. Picture: David Brawn

Rob Arkell on his way to a hard-fought victory. Picture: David Brawn

He said: ‘My main focus is on Ironman racing and also I’m hoping to win my age group in a few 70.3s (half Ironmans) so I’m building for those later in the year.

‘Quite a bit of the focus is on longer stuff and endurance work.

‘I’ve not done a huge amount of fast running so this was good.

‘Neil seemed to be really strong and it was nice to have the company, especially with a good push in the last kilometre of the run of 3.12.’

Arkell, from Fareham, revealed he had tried to strike up a bit of a conversation with his rival on the final run.

It was one way to see how things were shaping up as they raced pretty much alongside each other.

He added: ‘Neil overtook me in transition and I went out behind him on the second run.

‘I’d caught him by the time I got to the pier and we ran together. I tried talking to him to see how he was and he was chatting away, it seemed like he was feeling great.

‘After we went around the turnaround he was talking to every single person on the way back, wishing them all good luck.

‘It was a good competition with amazing weather for it and I was pleased I could just get away in the final mile but it was only a small gap of six seconds by the finish.’

Meanwhile, Carveth had a bit to do on the bike leg but she quickly managed to catch up seconds lost to some of her rivals on the first run.

She hit the front, opened up her gap with a good solid bike leg of 26.43 and was then able to bring it home on the run for victory.

Race two of the Portsmouth Duathlon Series, hosted by Believe and Achieve events, takes place on Sunday, March 24 (8.30am).

It starts at Speakers’ Corner, Clarence Esplande, PO5 3PG.