Remarkable Rhys races clear to become British champion

Ruby Frankland, Hannah Edwards, Will Howard and Rhys Ashton.
Ruby Frankland, Hannah Edwards, Will Howard and Rhys Ashton.

Carnforth Otters’ Rhys Ashton has become the British triathlon champion for the 11 and 12-year -old Tristar 2 age group.

Competing at the annual U20 festival on the 2014 Commonwealth Games course at Strathclyde Country Park, Rhys took gold against 39 of the country’s top young triathletes.

Rhys, 12, was selected as one of three boys to represent the North West area where the regions of England, Scotland and Wales compete for the highly prestigious Inter-Regional Championship and individual British titles.

Prior to the event, expectations for Rhys were for a top-10 place with an outside chance of a podium given that several of the athletes including elites from the South West and North East had 200m swim times 10 seconds faster and 1,500m run times also ahead of him.

On the day however Rhys’ improvements over the summer became evident.

In the 200m swim he managed to stay on the back of the lead group, exiting the water in seventh place.

Rhys then joined the chasing pack on the bike who over 4,500m managed to pull in last year’s champion Kieren Mutch from the North East and Lawrence Martingdale from the South West, 
resulting in a group of six triathletes exiting transition together for the final 1,800m run.

Rhys attacked at 400m, dropping the rest of the group and pulling out a 16-second lead that he maintained to finish in a time of 20 minutes and 20 seconds.

Also competing in the older age groups were Will Howard, 16, Ruby Frankland, 14, and Hannah Edwards, 15.

Will, who has recently joined Carnforth’s performance programme, put in a solid 400m swim (5:43) and excellent 2.4km run to finish 28th in the Youth category.

Ruby, a North West academy member, had an excellent swim exiting the water in 11th place but following a difficult transition did not make the main chase pack on the bike but finished in a very respectable 26th position.

Hannah also performed extremely well, putting in a solid performance across all three disciplines, finishing in 29th position.

The festival brings to a close the 2016 triathlon season with the exception of the last junior event at Salt Ayre on September 25 that will see a number of Carnforth Otters swimmers and COLT members compete for the final places in the North West Series.

Rhys will aim to add gold in the series to his British title prior to winter’s preparations for the 2017 season.