EVESHAM multi-sport athlete Helen Russell is celebrating after winning two prestigious World Quadrathlon titles.
Russell, sponsored by the Rivers Evesham Gifted & Talented Scheme, travelled to Germany for the World Sprint Quadrathlon Championships and did battle against the world’s best for the coveted world title.
The competitors assembled at Ratscher Lake in Thuringen to race over a challenging course of 750m swim, 20km cycling, 4.5km kayaking and 5km running.
Russell, competing in the 40-50 age category, was first out of the lake in her age group with a 1min, 10secs lead over the second-placed athlete – fellow Brit Helen Dyke – who was the 2017 European sprint champion.
Russell struggled to find a rhythm on the undulating bike leg but despite that posted the fastest time in her age category and extended her lead over Dyke to 2mins, 27secs.
Having only taken up kayaking two years ago, the kayak leg is Russell’s weakest discipline, but she was still able to post the second fastest time in her field.
However, German athlete Anke Trilling had a great kayak leg, overtaking Dyke and closing in on Russell, whose lead was reduced to 1min, 05secs going into the run.
Meanwhile, Dyke struggled with the choppy lake conditions and dropped to fifth place behind athletes Susanne Walter and Gabi Menke.
Russell knew she had to push hard on the run to stay ahead of Trilling and in doing so slightly extended her lead to take the win in a final time of 1.46.18.
Trilling took silver in 1.47.37, with Walter making up the podium with 1.51.58. Russell’s finish time meant she was second overall woman on the day, with only Lisa Teichert from the elite category posting a faster time.
The championship race win also meant Russell secured the Quadrathlon World Cup Series title in her age category.
The series rewards consistency over the season and Russell scored points with wins at World Cup races in Brigg in May, Box End in July and the World Championship race in Ratscher.
A delighted Russell said: “It is no exaggeration to say I am ecstatic to be crowned world champion in my first international quadrathlon race.
“There were lots of times during the race, especially during the kayak leg, where I doubted I could hold on to the lead, but I tried to focus on pushing hard to secure the win. To take the World Cup Series title is a great bonus.”
Her final race of the season is the British Championships in Bude later this month, when she hopes to retain the title she won last year.