PHIL Holland braved the sweltering heat to be crowned English Triathlon champion in his own back yard on Sunday.
The Milton Keynes athlete crossed the finish line first in the English National Championship held at Emberton Park in a time of 1 hour 55 minutes – some 39 seconds ahead of nearest rival Harry Springhall.
The race, which was of Olympic distance, started with a 1,500m open water swim in the lake at Emberton Country Park, a 40km bike which was a challenging but scenic lap around undulating country roads, and then onto a 10km run course, three laps of the park.
Speaking after his victory, Holland said: “It’s a fantastic achievement to win this title, especially in this year where triathlon is more widely appreciated, and I’m very happy to have raced well.
“I have been doing triathlon for a few years now, but it’s great to have an event such as this in my local area.”
Jem Lawson, chair of Triathlon England, said the sport was more popular than ever after the Olympics, which saw Brownlees brothers Alistair and Jonny bring home gold and bronze respectively for Great Britain.
He said: “The National Triathlon Championships has been a great success and is the perfect way to experience a triathlon event, whether you race or come down as a spectator.
“We have been delighted by the positive response we have seen towards the sport over the past few weeks and it shows the sport is growing significantly.
“The great thing about triathlon is that it’s open to every ability, each discipline - swimming, cycling and running is easily accessible to everyone, and the National Championship series highlights this message, with the range of abilities and reasons people have for participating.”