MORSON SPORT | 5 MIN READ
Morson Bid Writer Charlotte Halkyard finishes on world championship podium in Spain.
Duathlon is the third time Charlotte has represented Great Britain on the international stage.
We're delighted that our bid writer Charlotte Halkyard, part of our #TeamMorson sponsored athletes, finished in a podium third place at the 2019 Pontevedra ITU Duathlon World Championships in the 25-29 Female category.
Taking place on 27th April 2019 in the northern Spanish town of Pontevedra, the duathlon consisted of a running leg (5km), followed by a cycling leg (20km) and was rounded off by an extra running leg (2.5km). She finished with a total time of 01:11:40, making her the third-fastest in the world and the second fastest British entrant.
Charlotte joined Morson's proud roster of #TeamMorson sponsored athletes which includes world champion boxer Callum Smith, champion horse racing trainer Paul Nicholls and Sale Sharks rugby club.
This is the third year she has raced internationally for Great Britain and her previous highlights include the Duathlon World Championships In 2017 (Pentiction, Canada), and 2018 (Fyn, Denmark) where she finished in 4th place in both races. Acknowledging the frustration of finishing so close to the podium, Charlotte felt this 3rd place finish was her taking care of unfinished business.
We spoke to Charlotte about her experience, her feelings about her podium finish, the Morson sponsorship and her next race:
Talk us through your race-day experience.
I actually arrived in Spain on Thursday, so I made sure I did a bike recce of the course after race briefing on Friday. We get given the details of the race course in advance, but there's nothing like running or riding it yourself to know where you can ease off or attack. I knew after this that I needed to focus my energy and efforts on the first 10km of the bike race.
On race days I wake up around 5:30am, make my porridge and try to keep the nerves in check for as long as possible! We had to rack our bikes in transition the night before, so race morning consisted of heading into transition to check in my helmet, trainers and nutrition. The male athletes set off about 45 minutes ahead of us, so after watching the first few waves of age groups athletes go, it was time for me to warm up and stretch.
We all set off at a rapid pace, as always happens with these races - you hit the course hard and fast, hoping you can hold the pace for as long as possible. The reality was for me, 2.5km in the 5km run, I was struggling. The first few hills took a lot out of me and I was losing the lead pack. I knew if I was going to stay in touch of lead pack after first transition, I couldn’t drop off the pace too much. As I went into the first transition, I was unsure if I’d dropped too much to make it back, but I knew that the bike leg worked in my favour. A lot of the runners were worried about the uphill climb, but for me it was where I was going to gain some time back. Unfortunately, I had to work much harder than I had planned to catch onto a pack. In a drafting race, you have to get a decent group of riders to gain your time back, working together. If you’re left solo on a drafting race, it’s a killer!
I could see a pack ahead of me, and every uphill I gained on them a bit more, every downhill they pulled away. I kept working and I knew I was picking off a few of the speedy runners, and I managed to catch the lead pack on the turnaround point 10km in, feeling fairly broken. The descent on the bike was quick, comfortably hitting 45mph. I knew coming back into transition I had gained a few places back overall, but I didn’t know how many people in my age group were ahead of me already out on the run.
The second run is always brutal, you have jelly legs, and I had given so much on the bike course. I had no idea at that stage I was the quickest in my age group on the bike course by over a minute, and it had put me into 3rd place in my age group. Crossing the finish line is a bit of an odd emotion; you’re exhausted, desperate to know how you’ve done, and still on a huge adrenaline high. I had no idea until my husband told me I had placed 3rd, and then the emotion hit. Years of hard work had finally paid off!"
Did you do anything different to prepare for the temperatures of Spain?
We race pretty early in the morning (typically anywhere between 7am-9:00am) so the temperatures are normally cooler. The problem is with racing abroad, the temperatures jump very quickly. Unlike at home, where it stays a similar temperature for a few hours, I have noticed abroad that it can jump from early teens to early 20’s in an hour or two. It was a decision to be left till the last minute on race day if to wear a base layer or not. Once you commit to wearing one, you have to wear it for the race. So it’s always a last minute decision - you don’t want to be too hot or too cold, but the reality is with adrenaline going and when you’re giving you’re everything, it’s only on the downhill descent on the bike you’ll feel the cold unless you’re in single figures!
What’s it like to be sponsored by your employer?
Having the support of your employer makes a huge difference. Training around 10 sessions a week with 4:30am alarms is hard work. You sacrifice a lot, so knowing you having the backing of Morson really changes things! My life is run to a fairly tight schedule Monday - Friday, when I need to get up, eat, train, work, sleep, and do it all again tomorrow. Genuinely knowing your employer backs and supports what you do (in what in reality is a hobby) makes things much easier, and takes off a little bit of pressure. I’m incredibly grateful to Ged and Morson for backing me on this crazy journey!
What’s next in line for you?
I have three other international races this year for Great Britain, in Netherlands (triathlon), Romania (duathlon) and Switzerland (triathlon). The competition is going to be seriously tough in some of the races so it’s going to mean some hard work and training between now and then, and fingers crossed I can be representing Morson on the podium again soon! I'm also taking part in their '100 miles in a day' challenge for charity in June!