2015 has seen the last year for our Elite athlete, Jimmy Kershaw racing as a junior so it was particularly important that he had a successful year to make the transition from Junior to Under 23 / Senior in 2016. With new qualification rules applied by British Triathlon we had to ensure that Jimmy was ready and prepared to deliver top performances at any Championship race as well as qualifying races as these races were the only way to be selected; basically one day one race as per the Olympics selection criteria.
The first test in the year was the British Duathlon Champs in March which would act as a qualification race for the European Champs. In what were awful conditions Jimmy did enough to qualify finishing in 3rd place thus his first important race completed and first selection secured.
The European Duathlon Champs were held in Spain at the end of April. After a great race; Jimmy secured a Silver medal. Jimmy missed out on Gold by a couple of seconds, however, he had done enough to secure a place at the World Duathlon Champs in Australia this October. Hence, a successfully delivered race bringing back not only a silver medal but also securing qualification for another major event.
The next big race was the European Traithlon Champs qualifier at Llanelli in May. Again the only way to guarantee selection was a top two finish. Jimmy raced the perfect race and managed to win the event by some distance and secure his spot on another British Team.
The next couple of months were spent training and focusing on race preparation through a carefully selected low-key races prior to the European Champs in Geneva this July. Again Jimmy had a great swim, bike and first part of the run to put himself at the front of the field only to get stitch which meant he dropped to 20th; not a bad result but not what we wanted.
With the next big race at the beginning of September, August was spent in Morzine training, followed by a trip to Belgium to race in the Belgium Champs. The later was a warm up race for the World Qualifier the following week. In extremely hot conditions Jimmy finished 6th, top junior only to be beaten by Senior Belgium athletes. A good work out for what was to follow.
So onto Mallory Park last weekend for the World Championship qualifier. Again it was all about an athlete’s performance on the day. After an exciting and challenging race, Jimmy performed and delivered a great race to finish 2nd; securing his spot with the British Team heading to Chicago next week. As the triathlon season draws to a close, Jimmy has two final races to deliver; World Triathlon Champs in Chicago followed by the World Duathlon Champs in Australia.
Our aim this time last year was to finish his Junior career with a big season; we got exactly what we wanted. Jimmy has been able to deliver the right performances on the right day on a number of occasions this year, most importantly, when it mattered most!
So, having gone full time as an athlete and moving to Nottingham in the summer of 2014, Jimmy has worked exceptionally hard in the past 12 months to make sure the 2015 season was what he wanted. We have learnt many lessons along the way which will help in his transition from a junior to a senior but importantly he has proved he can deliver when it matters. We have also proven that, through high levels of communication and a collaborative working relationship, Jimmy was ready and prepared physically and mentally to deliver the performance required at key races and Championships. Being prepared and in the right condition to deliver has been absolutely crucial this year, we have achieved this in a plethora of ways; through the right amount of training and increased volume and intensity as well as making some critical key technical changes and all without being injured.
The end of 2015 will be great no matter what happens and 2016 should be a good first year as a senior.