Chris wears his Great Britain colours for Dutch challenge

Team GB -  Louise Goddard and Chris Hornber (front)  competed for their country in a testing duathlon in Holland. They were supported by  athlete Annie McAvoy and Chris's fire service colleague James McAteer.(back row)
Team GB - Louise Goddard and Chris Hornber (front) competed for their country in a testing duathlon in Holland. They were supported by athlete Annie McAvoy and Chris's fire service colleague James McAteer.(back row)

Garstang’s Iron Man made a triumphant return home on Monday - after representing his country for the first time in an international sporting event.

Fireman Chris Horner was a proud member of The Great Britain Age-Group Team which gained 12 medals in Horst at the ETU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon European Championships.

Chris himself came 143rd overall out of a field of some 300 and was placed 26th in his age group. The 40 year old, who is Unit Manager at Garstang Fire Station and Incident Commander/Station Manager at Springfields Fuels Ltd, said the team competed in a ”top field with the cream of Europe” and noted: “There were 64 in our team aged from 20 plus to 75. It’s really nice to run in Great Britain colours and represent your country. ”

He added: “I’m just pleased to be half way up the field.”

Also taking part and relishing the contest was Louise Goddard, a member, like Chris of the City of Lancaster Triathlon Club (COLTs).

The 48 year old competed in the Vet 45 category for 45 - 49 year olds and celebrated coming seventh in her age group in Europe.

Chris and Louise were accompanied by fellow fireman James McAteer who works with Chris at Springfield and athlete Annie McAvoy from Cockerham who is a member of Garstang Running Club. Annie will be representing Great Britain in two weeks time in Madrid in the 25 -29 year age group.

As for the terrain, Chris, from Scorton, says don’t be kidded that it’s easier because Holland is flat. He said: “In this country you are climbing hills and freewheeling down... . there’s respite. In Holland you’ve to pedal all the time as it’s flat. Even the elite cyclists have posted on their forums how biking is harder than in Switzerland!”

Chris and Louise were selected after submitting their recent results. He explained; ”Because it’s a long distance duathlon there are no qualification races that take part across the U.K. You send in (results of) all your recent long distance races.”

The challenge comprised an initial 10K race, followed by three loops by bicycle of a 13 mile course with each loop having 21 turns on it and a dead stop.This is followed by another 10K run.

Chris notched up times of 37 mins 56 secs for the first run, 1 hour 40 minutes for the bike ride and 40 minutes 19 seconds for the second run.His next big event is a Half Iron Man contest on June 14, when he will be joined in by brother Kevin, a crew manager at Garstang Fire Station.