VICTORIA AYRISS is leading the way ahead of the finale as she bids to win the Portsmouth Duathlon Series.
She finished second lady in race two on Sunday.
That moved her ahead in the overall series with defending champion Kelly Stokes (third in race two) her nearest challenger and it promises to be an exciting final event on Sunday, April 15.
The Endurance Hub athlete has been in superb form.
Her tactics have been spot on and her consistently strong performances have put her in the lead.
The hard work is certainly paying off after an overall time of 1hr 27min 52sec for the 7.5k run, the 17.5k bike ride and 5k run event.
She said: ‘Standing on the start line I had a plan, so I was nervously awaiting the start count.
‘After race one I knew how close it was between Kelly Stokes and I knew to stand a chance for the series I had to try to beat her.
‘The first run I felt strong and seemed to pace reasonably well, and managed to keep ahead.
‘When I got on my bike I was about fourth or fifth lady, then on the bike I felt really strong and really comfortable. I was expecting at any point Kelly to zoom past, which to my surprise she didn’t.
‘Going into the second run, again I felt strong and seemed to get my legs back pretty quickly, actually running one of my best 5k times after a bike session. So I was at my best.
‘I’m happy to finish second, the lady in front was miles a head and flying.
‘I finished before Kelly, which means going into the final race is going to be interesting.’
Race three is a 10k run, a 24k cycle and then a 5k run.
With the series being so close it could all come down to the last 5k.
Ayriss holds the lead with an overall time for the two races of 2.41.15 with Stokes second 2.43.46.
Rebecca Hughes is in third place 2.49.26.
Ayriss added: ‘I am excited, but nervous for race three, it is wide open for the title and I know that being defending champion Kelly will come back fighting for the next one.
‘I’m hoping all the hard work and training is paying off and would be delighted to win the series.
‘Anything could happen on the day.
‘I’m so lucky with the support I have from my family and friends and would love to make them proud.’
Helen Nicholls won race two in 1.26.00 but she is not in the series. Stokes, of Portsmouth Triathletes, finished third in 1.30.25.