North London triathlete targets medal at World Championships

Triathlete Danny Russell has collected his first English title – now his goal is a medal when the World Championships come to London next month.

The 29-year-old software architect, who is also a distance runner for Highgate Harriers, triumphed at the national aquathlon championships in Tamworth.

And Russell is hoping that warm-up success can catapult him into the medal reckoning when he competes over the Olympic course in Hyde Park on September 13.

Confusingly, he will run, swim and cycle in the 30-35 years age group – although he has yet to reach that category – and admitted: “It makes you deal with all the issues of turning 30 a little bit earlier!

“I was really pleased to win my first English title and now I’m looking forward to Hyde Park. They’re dusting off the Olympic course, so that’s going to be a fantastic experience and there should be quite a big crowd.

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“I’ll be aiming for a medal. I won the European age group Championships in Turkey in June, but there are plenty of Aussies, Kiwis and Canadians coming over for this one and it’s going to be tough.”

Russell originally hails from Brisbane, but has lived in Islington for the last three and a half years and qualifies to represent Great Britain through his Kent-born mother.

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Although running remains his first love, Russell made his triathlon debut for his adopted country at the last World Championships in Auckland, finishing 11th in the 25-29 years category.

“I’ve had a lot of injuries running-wise, but my competitive spirit came back and things have snowballed since I’ve been running for Highgate,” he added. “The club system is something I really enjoy.

“Cross-country’s not my favourite form of running – unlike some people, who seem to live for the mud! – but I’ll do it when I can to help support the team.

“Over the last few years, I’ve really focused on triathlon, trying to get my swimming and cycling up to speed. Having grown up in Australia, I’m a fairly good swimmer, but I’ve been training at Cally Pool and stepping it up a bit.”

Russell clocked a time of 26 minutes 45 seconds at the Tamworth event, which consisted of a 750m swim, followed by a 5km run.

His victory was an impressive achievement, given that he took an embarrassing tumble and fell flat on his face towards the end of the run.

“It was a bit comical,” Russell recalled. “I’d just overtaken the leader 200m earlier, I tried to put the power on a bit too soon and went flying, but not quite in the way I’d hoped!

“The marshals were laughing, but I just got back on my feet, dusted myself off and recovered and I felt strong at the finish. Hopefully it’ll go a bit more smoothly in September.”

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