Juliet Vickery showed she still remains a force over Olympic distance events after tasting glory at the England Age Group Championships.
Having not raced over the trip since 2011 due to suffering an Achilles injury, the 50-year-old overcame her three-year absence in impressive fashion at the end of last month to take victory in the 50-54-year-old age category at the Dambuster Triathlon.
In the end, the Reach-based triathlete’s winning time for the race — which consisted of a 1.5-kilometre swim, 42k cycle ride and 10k run — of two hours 25 minutes 40 seconds was more than 10 minutes quicker than her nearest age group rival.
“As I have been out for a while, I didn’t know some of the names that were on the list, but I was hopeful I could finish on the top three,” said Vickery. “However, to win by that margin was quite a surprise.
“Although it was a really good result for an England Championships, it was quite a weak field.”
While in previous races Vickery has been made to work right until the closing stages before finding out her finishing position, the Cambridge Triathlon Club member knew from a fair distance out where she was likely to finish.
“I had a good swim and I knew there were not that many ahead of me,” said Vickery. “I then passed two early on the bike and when I racked it up I saw there were no others there so I knew I was in front.
“From there, it was just a question of my Achilles holding out.
“Around the six-kilometre mark the Achilles started hurting, but it is amazing what endorphins and adrenalin can do.
“The fact I knew I was ahead meant I didn’t have to kill myself on the run and, although it was not pretty, I survived.”
Although taking charge of matters on both the cycling and running sections, for Vickery her most pleasing performance out of the three disciplines came in the water.
“I was really pleased with my swim time as I had been doing a lot of open water swimming over at Histon and the hard work in that area really paid off,” said Vickery.
With her troublesome Achilles holding out on her step back up in trip, Vickery is planning to take on at least one more Olympic-distance event before the year is out.
“I have got a few more sprint distance races planned then I will go for the City of Cambridge Triathlon in September and at the moment I am trying to decide whether to do any more Olympic distance events before that,” said Vickery. “Before I compete in that though I will be joining up with the group of women I won with at the National Club Relays Championship last year to try and defend our title.”