Tuesday, 24 June 2014
A University of Worcester student has recently returned to the UK after registering an impressive seventh-place finish at the World Duathlon Championships.
Having recovered from a bout of pneumonia earlier in the year, Dan Geisler overcame an achilles injury to finish seventh in his age group at the championships, which were held in Pontevedra, north west Spain, at the beginning of June.
“I finished seventh overall and was the third British athlete back, so I was very happy with the result,” Dan says. “I had an absolutely amazing time – the crowd on the day was amazing and I made some great friends and received excellent advice, which was the topping on a fantastic experience.
“The result also means I pre-qualify for the 2015 World Championships, which will be held in Adelaide, Australia.”
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Dan in Spain though, who went through the pain barrier after injuring himself in training just days before the race, the latest in a long line of highs and lows which have blighted his season.
“I contracted pneumonia in February, but managed to overcome it and successfully qualify for the Worlds in March, which, considering the Worlds took place on June 2nd, was always going to be quite a short turnaround time.
“Nevertheless, I got to work and trained hard, although I still didn’t feel like I had the balance of my training sessions quite right. Then, after arriving in Spain four days before the race to familiarise myself with the course and the surroundings, I rolled my ankle during a training run.
“I felt it go as soon as I did it and knew that it was going to be a little serious, although I wasn’t too sure what damage I had done. It wasn’t until the day after that my Achilles started to feel very painful whenever I took a step. I didn’t let it stop me though and I went out and trained as normal, making sure I rested it sufficiently as well.”
Despite his fitness worries, Dan went on to clock 35:45 in the first of the running sections, before making up time on his fellow competitors in the cycling and second running phases of the race.
He adds: “The sun was beating down and the race went off at an electric pace, but it’s not my style to start fast, so I was able to pace my race and managed to pass quite a lot of athletes who had plenty taken out of their legs by the heat and the challenging course.”
Thirty-eight men were registered in the 25-29 age category, with age group winner Duncan Bullock and the third-placed James Coleman the only two of the seven other Brits to finish in a quicker time than Dan, who is quick to acknowledge the support he has received from the University of Worcester Elite Athlete Mentor Scheme, which offers support and advice to those balancing their studies with high-level sporting competition.
“The Elite Athlete programme has really helped me,” he says. “It’s been good to have someone to turn to and talk to throughout the year, and they supported me well through my pneumonia.”