Written by Ben Price
In early May I raced in the European Middle Distance Elite Duathlon Championships hosted by Powerman Denmark in Vejle. I placed a very pleasing 8th and absolutely loved the race, but that was only a small part of the weekend.
The main part was the people there whether athletes, supporters or officials. Whilst the cheering from the crowd was brilliant, it was the encouragement from my fellow athletes that was most inspiring. The nervous wait on the start line was punctuated by words of good luck between fellow athletes who were about to try and smash one another but have the respect and decency to wish each other well.
Another example of it was deep into the bike leg when the Dane, Nic Ward came past me on a slight incline. Despite the fact that we were fighting for the top 10 (and the prize money!) he shouted, ‘Come on Ben. Keep spinning’. He saw I was struggling a bit – shifting around in the saddle – and thought he’d give me some words of encouragement on the way past.
I made sure to return the support as I passed him on the final run, to which he replied, ‘Go, go, go!’. What a legend.
Once it was all over – after 2 hours 46 minutes of hard effort – I crossed the line to the usual exhausted handshakes and sweaty hugs with complete strangers drawn together in sharing an incredibly tough mental and physical experience.
Sport is unique in that regard. The Danes were so friendly – they even invited me into their team photo as I was the only Brit in the elite race! The winner Soren Bystrup and I had a great chat about the race and Felix Kohler and Seppe Oden – utter legends of duathlon – were more interested in my experience than theirs.
Then after a bit of refuelling – coke, banana, water and more coke, I headed out to support the GB age groupers who were working incredibly hard on the final run in the hot sun. When they had all finished it was great to share stories and chat about the day.
It’s incredible how sport can draw people together from all generations and backgrounds through one common interest. It’s incredibly uplifting and just one of the reasons why I love multi-sport so much.
You can follow Ben’s duathlon journey through his posts on Instagram @benpriceduath