STRATFORD-upon-Avon Athletic Club’s Fern Horder stood up to the challenge of the Fugitive Half Iron Duathlon to become the only woman to complete the race distance.
Held at Marlow on a scenic course, the format was a 5km run, 85.6km bike ride and a 20km run on both tarmac and grassy footpaths which meandered back towards Marlow to the finish at Higginson Park.
For Hordern, the event proved to be quite a challenge, with the weather truly awful throughout, with heavy rain and strong winds, particularly on the bike section.
She felt her first run went OK but it then began to rain harder and harder.
On the bike, she couldn’t get her left shoe to clip in and so did the whole race without it clipped in. She thought she must have got a stone stuck in the cleat or something from transition.
The bike phase became a fight for survival after the surface water hid sections of the poor road surface. She also damaged her bike tri bars holding on for dear life through a bad patch of holes, which she couldn’t see and so nearly fell off but luckily she didn’t have a puncture.
Many competitors were left on the road side with broken bikes and punctures.
Her bike time was a bit slower than she had wanted and she felt she definitely could have gone faster but she didn’t dare because she either couldn’t see or was aquaplaning.
It was so windy, Hordern was unsure how much energy she would have left to do the half marathon at the end.
Considering she felt her fitness was not not great, she was really pleased with her time of one hour 44 minutes.
Fern was the only woman to complete the race distance, finishing in a time of 5:28.04. The race was won by Richard Derrick in 4:20.49.