Black Dog duo fly the flag in Chicago
- Credit: Archant
Team-mates from Bungay Black Dog Running Club helped put their outfit's name in lights by competing at an illustrious event in America.
Tom Pullinger and Dale Skoulding travelled to Chicago for the ITU (International Triathlon Union) world championships having qualified earlier in the year to represent Great Britain in their respective age groups. While it was Pullinger's second major appearance in the red, white and blue, the race was Skoulding's international debut.
The pair warmed up for the big stage on day one of the four-day festival by taking part in the World Aquathlon Championships – a 750m swim in Lake Michigan followed by a 5km run in what was scorchingly hot and humid conditions.
It gave the duo an opportunity to test the swim and run courses ahead of their Olympic (standard) distance challenge with Pullinger coming 28th out of 38 in his age group (40-44) after crossing the line in a time of 39 minutes and 54 seconds. Skoulding (35-39, 37 mins and 37 secs) claimed 29th in his category, which contained 46 competitors – one of which did not finish and another who was disqualified.
Three days' later the endurance specialists were back at the start line as heavy rain and a thunderstorm the previous evening had done little to dampen their spirits. Both gave the 0.9-mile swim, cycle (24.8 miles) and 6.2-mile (10k) run everything they had and did themselves, their families and their club proud.
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Skoulding, the 601st finisher in a field of 1,038, came 77th in his age group in a time of two hours, 17 minutes and six seconds. He spent 25 minutes and 43 seconds in the water, 58 minutes and 41 seconds on the bike and ran for a time of 46 minutes and seven seconds.
A 97th-placed Pullinger (688th overall – two hours, 21 minutes and 11 seconds) completed his stages in the following times; swim 25:50; bike 1:00:27 and run 47:52.
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The Harleston-based 44-year-old said: 'The whole Chicago experience as mind-blowing and I have to thank my sponsors at Capital Index and Greg Secker for all their help and support in getting me there.'
The amateur athletes were pounding the tarmac on the same day as some of the multi-sport's finest operators on the planet.
They were attempting to add big points to their World Triathlon Series collections.
Spain's Javier Gomez Noya became the most successful man in ITU world championship history when he completed a drive for five world titles as the overall winner of the World Triathlon Series with a second-place finish in Chicago.
'I think it is great. I can't understand it yet, I sometimes can't comprehend doing something like that in the last few years. It is just amazing,' Gomez said .
'I felt good, I had a great race. I felt really good on the race, I just couldn't beat Mario – he was just too strong. But I am really pleased on getting the title and on the podium.'
Fellow countryman Mario Mola gave Gomez a tough battle as the two went back and forth across the run, with Mola kicking into overdrive the last 100 metres to take the win in a time of one hour, 44 minutes and 53 seconds. He finished just four seconds ahead of Gomez.