Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club hosted its first commitment on the 2023 Race Calendar when it organised, under the auspices of the Malta Triathlon Federation, the National Standard Duathlon Champions in Fleur-de-Lys.
The duathlon consisted of an 8km (3 loops) run, a 30km (12 loops) cycle and a 5km (2 loops) run.
In the first segment of the duathlon, the 8km run, Keith Galea, Josef Azzopardi and George Said took the lead, running neck to neck throughout the whole distance.
Galea and Said entered the transition area together but it was there that Galea took off and set a comfortable gap ahead of the rest. Azzopardi and Said were next out but it was Azzopardi who kept chasing Galea until the end.
The bike leg set the pace and it was the more experienced cyclists who started switching places, whilst having to contend with the strong winds. With Galea in front, Azzopardi was chased by Steve Ritchie. The trio kept the lead as they proceeded to the final part of the race, the 5km run. Galea, determined to clinch his seventh title kept a composed yet determined pace to finish the race in 1:42:30. Azzopardi finished in second place with a time of 1:43:12 and Ritchie in third, clocking a finish time of 1:45:00.
Krista Kuusijarvi lead the females throughout, keeping a steady gap ahead of Maya Schembri Rodgers. Pursuing them in third place was Denise Cortis. The three females kept these placings until the very end with Kuusijarvi finishing first in a time of 1:52:02. Schembri Rodgers finished in 2:03:05 whilst Cortis clocked 2:19:05.
Since the race was designated as the National Duathlon Standard Distance Championships, the title went to Schembri Rodgers since this is reserved for Maltese Nationals. This was Schembri Rodgers first duathlon title.
“The race was challenging in many fronts, due to the undulating nature of the course and the strong winds. Nevertheless, there was a show of determination by all participants. The Club congratulates the winners and thanks all participants for being part of the race” – Euchar Camilleri, Secretary General, Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club
Trophies were presented to the overall and Age Group winners by Club Board member Joseph Farrugia.