It was a weekend of mixed fortunes for Elite Triathletes Aileen Morrison and Gavin Noble in the Olympic test event at the Dextro Energy ITU World Championship Series race in Hyde Park London.
Lisburn based athlete, Morrison put in a solid performance in the Women’s Olympic dress rehearsal which took place on Saturday morning and was won in convincing fashion by the host nation’s Helen Jenkins.
Following the one lap swim in the Serpentine, Morrison was just behind the lead pack, in 34th position. She soon latched on to the lead group in the early stages of the first bike lap, where she stayed for the remainder of the bike leg. The route wound its way around Hyde Park and out past Buckingham Palace 7 times giving spectators plenty of viewing opportunity.
Morrison ran well, making her way from 25th position out of T2 up to finish in 18th place. The picturesque 4 lap run course was fast and predominantly flat.
Triathlon Ireland High Performance Director Chris Jones was happy with the performance: “It’s a good solid performance for Aileen, consistent with the performance markers we have in place for her. It shows that her Olympic campaign is on track, particularly after a few niggling injury and illness woes in the past few months, and performances below her best in Pontevedra and Hamburg recently.”
In the men’s race which got underway at 1pm on Sunday, Noble also looked on course for a positive result when he exited the water just 20 seconds down on the swim leader and World Champion, Javier Gomez.
Exiting T1 the group split with Noble working in the 2nd pack to bridge up to the leaders. The groups came together a short time after. The rain had also arrived resulting in greasy conditions. Noble and three other athletes went down on one of the 112 turns on the tight and technical London Olympic course.
Showing true fighting spirit, Noble soldiered on, completely the race, albeit as the final finisher.
Speaking after the race, Noble was philosophical. “A man learns nothing if he quits”, he said. Luckily Noble escaped serious injury, unlike his Austrian counterpart, who limped back to transition sporting what looked to be a broken wrist. “I’ll take the hit and just move forward – but I’ll be sore in the morning” Noble said reflecting on the race.
The race was won in fine form by GB’s Alistair Brownlee. Brownlee was part of a four man breakaway in the bike stage, along with Russian Dimitry Brukanykov who finished in second place. Brownlee Jnr (Johnny) posted the fastest run split of the day to claim the final spot on the podium.