Abbie sets her sights on championships

TALENTED Suffolk teenager Abbie Thorrington has her sights set on both the World and European Triathlon Championships this year.Ipswich-based Abbie, who is a student at the University of Essex in Colchester, has been posting some impressive results on the British Universities scene this spring, despite a winter of injury anguish.

By Carl Marston

TALENTED Suffolk teenager Abbie Thorrington has her sights set on both the World and European Triathlon Championships this year.

Ipswich-based Abbie, who is a student at the University of Essex in Colchester, has been posting some impressive results on the British Universities scene this spring, despite a winter of injury anguish.

The 19-year-old capped a recent good run of results by winning the British Universities Triathlon Championships in Bath earlier this month.


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“I've been dogged by a hip injury for most of the winter, which has especially affected my running,” said Abbie.

“The injury comes and goes, and it all began when I fell over last December. But I've surprised even myself with how well I've been doing, despite the lack of training.

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“The British Universities was the first triathlon event of the season. I was fifth last year. I just wanted to improve on that result, but you never quite know how you will fare in the first race.

“I ended up winning the title, against some good competition. It was pleasing because I have recently moved up to the under-23 category, which means that I compete over double the distance.”

At Bath, though, she still tackled her familiar distances of a 750 swim, 25K bike leg and 5K run. Abbie was particularly happy with her split time of 19mins 15secs for the run, which was a personal best for that distance when incorporated in a triathlon. Sponsored by 53-12.com, which is the team she also represents in bike races, Abbie is also a member of Ipswich Swimming Club.

She is currently immersed in study for exams, as she approaches the end of her second year of a sports and exercise science degree, but she is also focused on the big triathlon challenges of the summer. “I'm looking at qualification for the World and European Championships,” insisted Abbie.

“The European qualifier is in Wales on June 9, and the qualification for the Worlds will be at the popular London Triathlon in August.”

Because she has recently moved up to the under-23 level, that means she will be competing over the Olympic distance of 1,500m swim, 40K bike and 10K run. “The volume of my training has therefore increased. It's all about quantity now,” she said.

In her build-up to the triathlon season, Abbie retained her British Universities Cyclo-Cross title, thanks to a good display at the championships in Nottingham. She said: “Obviously my expectations were high after winning the race the previous year.

“It showed that I was in good shape, because one of the competitors had finished in the top five at the national championships the previous week, and yet I took four minutes out of her.”

Abbie confirmed her fine form on the bike by then finishing second in the British Universities ten-mile Time Trial, staged at Oxford.

She said: “My sponsors, 53-12.com, had just supplied me with a specialist time trial bike, and I hadn't really had the time to practise on it. I had never ridden one before. It's more unstable, though of course more aero-dynamic.

“I still ended up clocking 24.50, which was a minute quicker than last year.

The immediate future, though, is all about exams and triathlons. There are ten exams to sit over the next few weeks, after which the books will be put to one side and the big triathlon qualifiers will begin.

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