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Nadia nails second

Twenty-year-old Nadia Pretorius surprised herself and the world when she finished runner up in the 20-24 age group at the World Duathlon Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland on Sunday.

Pretorius covered the 10-kilometre first run in 40min 46sec behind Ireland’s Kelly-Anne Speight (39:17). Both were passed by Canada’s Marie-Noel Labrecque on the bike. The Canadian was far too strong for the field, storming through the 38.4km technical and tough course in 1:22:54. Pretorius had the next fastest time 1:27:35. Labrecque’s aggressive bike tore the field apart to the point that virtually every athlete was racing on their own, making it more of a time trial.

The Canadian needed that bike leg, as she lost two minutes on Pretorius in the final 5km run recording a 23:15 split to Pretorius’ 21:11. The toughness of the route was evident in that Pretorius’ finishing time of 2:31:43 was over nine minutes slower than the time she set when winning the Under-23 African Duathlon Championships in Bloemfontein earlier this year.

Pretorius had been very nervous at the beginning of the race. ÔÇ£I just did not know what to expect and had no idea how tough this race was going to be.ÔÇØ

She then decided to run her own race which turned out to be the correct decision. ÔÇ£The start wasn’t so hard, but at no point did I know where I was in the raceÔÇØ, testament to how the field had split up already early on in the race. For Pretorius the bike leg was extremely tough. ÔÇ£Going around that loop five times was no joke. That hill in the middle of the course was hard, very hard. But I had really good support from my team-mates. Climbing off the bike I just ran (5km) and just focused on finishing.

“The best feeling was seeing that finish line after hitting the hill another two times on the run circuit. Crossing the line I just tried to catch my breath. My team-mates were gathering around me and congratulating me. I had no idea why. Then they told me I had finished second. At first I thought they were joking with me but then I heard the official results come through on the PA system. I couldn’t believe it, this is definitely the best race of my life.ÔÇØ

Andrea Steyn had a similarly tough experience in the Elite ladies race where she finished seventh. The run route was a 1.25km climb and then a 1.25km decent. She was able to stick with the leaders in the first 10km run leg, recording a sub 35min. ÔÇ£I was quite happy with that time, but on the bike leg they got away from me. On the second lap Catriona Morrison and Sandra Levenez broke away from us.ÔÇØ

Steyn was able to stay with the chasing five riders over the last five laps, but the hard ride had taken the sting out of her legs. Usually a strong runner over 5km, Steyn had to dig deep for that final 5km run and settle for 7th. ÔÇ£This was probably one of the toughest duathlons I have ever raced.ÔÇØ

Results
20-24 women

1 Marie-Noel Labrecque CAN 2hr 29min 49sec
2 Nadia Pretorius SA 2:31:43
3 Kelly-Anne Speight IRL 2:32:47
Elite women
1 Catriona Morrison GBR 2:02:47
2 Sandra Levenez FRA 2:03:05
3 Felicity Sheedy-Ryan AUS 2:06:14
7 Andrea Steyn RSA 2:07:58


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