Barnard Castle triathlete celebrates top 30 finish in world finals
By Lyndsay Oxley - Reporter
A DALE athlete has celebrated a top 30 finish in a world event.
Mark Elliott travelled to Australia’s Gold Coast to compete in the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final.
The 61-year-old, who lives in Barnard Castle with his wife Kathleen, completed a one-mile swim, a 25-mile bike ride and a 10k run alongside 5,000 of the world’s best triathletes.
He finished 30th overall out of around 80 competitors in his age category.
He was also placed fifth out of those representing Great Britain.
He said: “It went really well. I would have liked to get a medal but there were good people there.
“It was an honour to represent the country. It was fantastic to be there at the world championships with all the elites.
“The whole experience was amazing.”
Mr Elliott’s swim on the day saw him achieve a new personal best of just over 22 minutes. He completed the bike ride in one hour and 11 minutes and the run took him 47 minutes.
He said: “Kathleen was a great support and she was there at the finish line. When I looked at the winners they had phenomenal times.
“I beat them in the swim but their bike rides were just over an hour and their runs were really quick.”
Mr Elliott has been competing in triathlon events for the past 20 years. He is also a swimming coach and has been training Teesdale Amateur Swimming Club for the past ten years.
Back in 2013, Mr Elliott reached the European finals after qualifying in Turkey. He came fifth but was placed first out of those representing Great Britain.
He has also appeared twice on the TV gameshow Total Wipeout and has competed in the Ironman triathlon four times.
Mr Elliott is now planning to have a couple of years off from competing internationally and is hoping to be back at the world championships in 2022. Meanwhile he has signed up for a couple of UK events which are taking place next year.
He added: “I gave it my best. I gave it as much as I could but next time I think there are ways I can improve.”