City triathlete wins three gruelling races

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A triathlete who trains at Bletchley Leisure Centre is celebrating after winning three gruelling races.

Claire Vallance, 34, won the Chilling Challenge 5K cross country endurance race in Oxfordshire on March 10 with her firefighter husband Piers coming first in the 10K. The pair battled obstacles including haystacks, streams, forest and mud.

The couple then went on to win the Manchester 2UP duathlon on March 16. This was a paired event, which involved a 6K run, 30K bike and 6K run. The couple entered the mixed event and won, no easy feat when you have to stay within 20m of your partner. he UK Fire Service Championships were held within the event and the couple won the mixed event.

They began their 2013 season with Bournemouth Duathlon on February 16. A 5K run, 24K bike, and another 5K run, Piers won overall and Claire won the female event, coming 8th overall.

Claire said: “The membership that Bletchley Leisure Centre has kindly given to support me with my training has helped so much because it is very difficult to train in the winter. During the winter when it is cold and dark, it is near impossible to get out on my bike during the working week. I have been using the spinning classes regularly to supplement my training and tend to use the pool early in the morning before school.

“Last year I was knocked off my bike, breaking my elbow, so I am now more cautious with the darkness and weather conditions as to when I go out on the roads on my bike. The full membership has also allowed me to use the gym to do some core work. I would like to thank Bletchley for their continued support. is a superb leisure centre, with up to date facilities and there are so many classes that it is easy to fit around work hours.”

Claire lives in Woburn with her husband Piers who also competes to a high level. He is a Firefighter and works at Broughton Fire Station. Where possible they try to train together.

Sarah Clark, Manager of Bletchley Leisure Centre, which is managed by Milton Keynes Leisure in partnership with Milton Keynes Council, said: “We are delighted by Claire’s success this year. We have sponsored Claire two years running with a six month gym membership which allows her to access our pool, gym and classes.

“Predominantly Claire uses our spin classes and the pool as she cannot get out on her bike so much in the winter.”