Dame Kelly Holmes was pleased to continue her transition from track & field to duathlon with a strong performance in Southsea.
The athletics legend enjoyed the banter with fellow competitors as she completed the 5k run, 15k cycle, 5k run event in a time of 1hr 12min 47sec, to finish second lady.
It was a day for cracking performances, with some exceptional times getting the Portsmouth Duathlon Series off to a flier.
Holmes, who won the 800m and 1,500m titles in the 2004 Athens Olympics, revealed she would relish the chance to compete again in Portsmouth, if it fits into her busy schedule.
She said: ‘I would love to come back.
‘I don’t think I can do all three races in the series but I would definitely recommend it.
‘The atmosphere is really nice and friendly.
‘We all had a laugh.
‘I’m up there on the run and everyone is blasting past me on the bike.
‘Then I try and catch them again on the run. It’s quite a nice little banter.
‘It’s people of all different abilities which is really important because you don’t want people to be put off.
‘You have people on really, really snazzy racing bikes and people on mountain bikes.
‘I’m really pleased I came down.
‘I heard the weather was really bad last year but it was brilliant this time.
‘It’s a good experience. I can’t say at this point I totally enjoyed it, because I’m still in pain.’
Holmes is planning to do a duathlon every month this year.
With three events ticked off, she’s already faced plenty of different challenges.
She said: ‘This sort of thing is totally new to me.
‘It’s nice, because it means I’m not necessarily here to be totally competitive. I’m here to improve myself.
‘That’s quite a nice feeling because I haven’t had that for years.
‘The course in Portsmouth was really good.
‘My only problem was that I went wrong twice on the bike.
‘Me and this guy just went off on a tangent and had to turn around.
‘So, I think I could have done about a minute quicker but hey, that’s always good to have something to progress.
‘I got a puncture on my first duathlon, the second one was like gale-force winds. This one I’ve gone off track.
‘So by the time I get to December, I might do a brilliant one!’
Tom Higgins won the event with an impressive time of 1.00.31.
He beat last year’s series winner Patryk Huczkowski, who finished in second place (1.05.37).
Alison Wilson was the first lady to finish (1.11.02).
There was also a superb performance from young City of Portsmouth athlete Ted Yeates, from Emsworth.
He marked himself out as a talent to watch, taking 13th place out of a field of 147 with a time of 1.10.36.
Organiser Rob Piggott was delighted with a perfect start to the race series.
He said: ‘Dame Kelly was brilliant.
‘I think everyone got a picture with her.
‘It’s great she came down.
‘There was a lot more people out and about. It was a great start to the series.’