Brownlee brothers share limelight with Matlock triathlete

Matlock AC runner Mike Blair on his way to success in the Calver Fell Race.
Matlock AC runner Mike Blair on his way to success in the Calver Fell Race.

Never mind the Brownleee brothers, what about Nicky Dick! That’s what Matlock Athletics Club were screaming from the rooftops after the World Triathlon Championships at the weekend.

While hundreds of thousands of TV viewers were watching Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee race to another gold and silver medal one-two in the main event at Leeds, about 5,000 amateur triathletes were also competing in various competitions on the same courses as the world’s best.

And they included Dick, who tackled the British Aquathlon Championships and finished second in her age group with a time of 42.16 minutes. The following day, she was at it again, finishing second in her age group once more in the Open Race Spring Distance Triathlon thanks to a time of one hour, 42.31 minutes.

Closer to home, Matlock AC’s exploits were largely about Mike Blair, who covered himself in glory at the Calver Fell Race and also in the monthly Whitworth Thread event.

The former event, which is also one of the club’s senior grand prix contests, attracted a field of 253 on a warm, dry night and included a tough climb soon after the start before a fast, rock-strewn descent into Calver village.

Blair took his fifth consecutive grand prix win as the first Matlock runner to finish in a time of 33.37 minutes, which placed him ninth overall. Next was the ever-improving John Thorpe, who was 38th overall in 37.20, followed by Scott Thompson, who was 45th in 38.09. Other strong performances were put in by Bob Foreman (71st), Simon Brister (85th), Dan Ashcroft (119th), Mark Chimley (126th) and Les Thurston (196th).

In the women’s grand prix, Andrea Atkinson scored a maximum, while Rosanna Croft, who favours marathons over fell races, was the second Matlock runner to complete.

The overall winners were Jake Lane, of Totley AC, who took the men’s race in 31.23, and Caroline Brock, of Steel City Striders, who took the women’s race in 37.26.

At Whitworth, Blair produced a fine performance to win in 17.52 minutes, closely followed by teammates Ricky Wood, who was second in 17.58, and John Thorpe, who was third in 19.15.

In a field of 69 runners, Hannah Walker was the first lady in 21.45, followed by Shelley Fairey, who was second in 22.23. And there was more Matlock success in the juniors section as Jacob Jones took first spot in 22.48, with Matthew Foreman second in 23.32.