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TRIATHLON: Injury woe for Cullen
A YEAR-long quest to represent his country at the World Triathlon Championships in London’s Hyde Park ended in joy and agony for Whitefield’s Tony Cullen.
The Bury Athletic Club member was leading an international field of 160 in his 40-44 age group after the bike ride – the second stage of the three-discipline event – and hung on to finish ninth.
It was a fantastic achievement for the dad of three, who only took up the sport seriously after taking part in last year’s IronmanUK event in Bolton.
“It was an amazing experience being cheered on by 15 family members and thousands of GB fans on every part of the race course,” said Cullen.
“It’s been my biggest achievement so far and I was so proud to be part of Team GB and for my girls to see their dad wear the GBR suit.
“I gave all I had and I’m very happy to make the top 10 in the world in my age group.”
While clearly proud of his achievement, the amateur triathlete, who finished second in the British Championships to qualify for the team, admits to a tinge of regret.
He went in to the race nursing an injury and was unable to hang on for a podium place, which had looked on after the 41-year-old finished the 1.5k swim in 30th in a time of 11mins 37secs.
“I had a brilliant bike ride, which is my strongest discipline,” he said.
“I began reel in everyone in front of me and took the lead around the halfway point.”
Cullen went on to finish the 40k bike stage in 57:53 – the fastest time in his age group – and took a minute lead into the 10k run.
But he gradually fell back into the field, finishing the final stage in 38:20, and completed the race in 1:53:11, 2mins 50secs behind Swiss winner Bruno Invernizzi.
“I knew the run was going to be about damage limitation after a recent runing injury,” he said. The event was run on the 2012 London Olympics course with all eyes on the British Brownlee brothers in the elite race.
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