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News Item20 November 2023
World biathle title for Trafford runner
In early November, Trafford athlete Richard Wallace travelled to Bali and was crowned World Champion!
Representing Team GB at the 2023 Biathle-Triathle World Championships, Richard took the world M60+ title after sprinting to victory in hot and humid conditions.
And not content with taking gold in the Biathle event, Rich also picked up a world silver in its sister sport, Triathle.
But success did not come easy. Rich tweaked his hamstring two weeks before the world championships and went to Bali not knowing if he’d be able to compete.
He managed to get through the Triathle event but in the Biathle final, disaster almost struck, as Rich explains:
“I went off strongly on the first 800m run and entered the water in first place. A German competitor overtook me on the 200m swim and left transition about 20m in front of me. Took it reasonably easy over the 300m sand section of the last run, but as soon as I hit the grass, opened up and gradually reeled him in.
“Kicked again as I overtook him with about 200m to the finish, and that’s when I felt my hamstring again. Looked behind and saw that he had no response, and managed to hobble over the line to become World Champion!”
Nearly 500 athletes from six continents gathered in Bali to compete in the 2023 Biathle-Triathle World Championships between 31 Oct and 5 Nov.
Not to be confused with biathlon and triathlon, Biathle and Triathle are shorter multisport events which grew out of modern pentathlon. Biathle is a run-swim-run event while athletes in Triathle compete in a swim-run-shoot format.
With temperatures hitting 32C and humidity at 75%, the course and conditions were particularly challenging.
Of the 800m run course, 300m was on soft sand, 200m on grass, with just 300m on road. Transition into the water was 25m down a sand bank followed by a tough return climb out of the sea.
‘Absolutely made up’
A former member of Man Tri, Rich has been competing in Biathle on and off since 2015, finishing 7th Masters 50+ at the World Champs in Georgia.
Prior to this year, his best results were World Championship Bronze 60+ in Portugal 2022 and European Championship Gold 60+ in Greece 2022.
This was Richard’s first ever international competition in Triathle, having only taken up laser shooting two years ago.
“Absolutely made up with my first ever individual World Championship gold medal,” he said.
“I’d won World titles in the past two years in mixed Laser Run relay, but this was extra special. Planning and hoping to do the double next year as long as the body holds out for another year!”
Over the relays and individual events, Team GB came away with 44 medals in total, with just 2 individual world champions. Georgia Lees in the Women’s Junior AG (19-21) and Richard Wallace (M60+)