First ever podium in Hamburg World Championships Series…!
July 19th, 2011 by Will
I’m currently on the plane to Lanzarote ready to get back to some hard preparation ahead of London World Championships Series, but I’ve got a massive smile on my face because this weekend I finally got myself onto the podium in Hamburg which is my first time ever in a World Championship Series. I finished 2nd a few meters behind Brad Kahlefeldt and just ahead of David Hauss.
It’s been a long, long road to get to this point in my career and so much perseverance and dreaming but finally this weekend I could do it and I’m so happy! I hope this is me now and I can take confidence from this and keep pushing and pushing!
Hamburg has always been very special for me. When I was a 21 year old I finished 7th in the World Cup with the 2nd fastest run. In 2007 I finished 5th at the World Championships in my first real Senior Worlds and now this!
Hamburg is one of my favourite events on the calendar. The atmosphere is incredible with 250,000 people lining the streets it’s hard to even get a vantage position. There is also another 10,000 athletes competing. The flight is very easy, we always stay in nice hotels and eat tasty food. We’ve also got the shops to save ourselves from boredom! I have really started to notice that my performance is often dependant on enjoyment of the trip and I think that’s why I usually do well here. Lots of happy memories help that’s for sure.
I had a decent swim, it was bloody rough on the first lap with so many athletes packed in. I’m sure everyone received quite a few kicks to the head but on the 2nd lap I saw an opportunity for some clear water and put in an effort to exit in the top 15.
We had about 20 guys away in the pack but for this one my plan was to hide on the bike. I’ve been quite active all year, trying to get in breaks and attacking out of corners but it’s not really got me anywhere so for this one I wanted to see how fast I could run off easier ride. I found the pace quite solid, more solid then I thought it’d be actually. We had some strong cross winds, to contend with, sprinting out of corners as well as 8 prime lines which kept the pace solid but I got round safely and got off my bike feeling alright.
I didn’t have a great transition from the bike to the run so unfortunately I had to run 5 seconds quicker then everyone else for the first kilometre. On the first lap the boys were really pushing the pace and I was definitely a bit unsure how long I could hold on for. There were 10 guys and I was kind of the guy hanging at the back struggling. I made a decision to move up the group from the back more towards the front so mentally I could start to feel stronger! It worked a treat and I started to feel better and better and before I knew it I was the one pushing the race. In the next few laps Brad Kahlefeldt, Javier Gomez and I tried to split up the group but into the last lap there were still 6 of us left. With 2k to go David Hauss attacked and really split it up, I looked behind and saw that only Brad Kahlefeldt and I had the legs to go with it. I couldn’t believe it, if I kept this up I would be on the podium!
I now had to make a decision…I could tell that Brad and David didn’t want to waste any more energy keeping the pace going because it’d take away from the inevitable sprint finish we were about to have, but I panicked because if we slowed down it’d give the other guys an opportunity to get back into the race and potentially take away my podium! So, I just ran as hard as I could for the last 1k to rule out the chance them catching back up. As we ran into the tunnel of roaring spectators with the finish line in sight, I was leading but Brad was on my shoulder. We managed to drop David from my effort before but Brad came round me with a sprint that I had no more gas to contend with to take the win. I could feel David coming back at me so I just got on my toes and sprinted as hard as I could into the finish. Topping it off with some well deserved vomiting at the finish line! Always the sign that you did a good job!
All I could think about in those last meters was standing on the podium with the giant Erdinger glass and that medal I’ve dreamt about around my neck. I was delighted to turn left at the finish into the recovery area to see the beer and medals waiting for us. Adding further Clare delivered me the totally unexpected news that I’ve moved from 8th in the World rankings to 2nd!!!
Finally I’d like to thank Michelle Dillon who’s been totally inspirational for me and has done such an incredible job this year! My family who sometimes see all mood states in 1 day, Stu Hayes, my manager Richard all my wonderful sponsors and everyone who was cheering for me this weekend.