Serpentine target as veteran duathlete strikes silver

SUPER BIKER -- Pete Orme, who finished second in the British Duathlon Championships.
SUPER BIKER -- Pete Orme, who finished second in the British Duathlon Championships.

A veteran Hucknall athlete, who trains alongside his faithful pet dog, has come up trumps again in a major championship.

Pete Orme, of Wighay Road, has landed the silver medal in the 50-to-55-year-olds’ category at the British Duathlete Championships at Rutland Water.

Now he is looking forward to a unique challenge in London, following in the footsteps of last year’s Olympians.

For he is to switch to the triathlon, which incorporates swimming as well as the duathlon disciplines of running and cycling.

And London is hosting the World Championships in September, with the swimming set to take place on the Serpentine at Hyde Park, just as it did in the Games.

Orme, who turns 55 in July, first hit the headlines as the athlete whose training partner was his dog, Ben, a collie/labrador cross.

Ben died of liver cancer at the age of 13, just weeks before Orme finished second in the English Duathlon Championships at Carsington Water, Derbyshire last year.

But now has has a new sidekick in border collie Kodi.

“At the moment, Kodi can only take in about a mile because he’s just a year old,” says Orme. “But he’s a real livewire!”

The pair are sure to get plenty of training in before London.

“To qualify, I have to compete in races at Liverpool and Llandudno,” Orme explains.

“It’s a question of getting out on the bike and improving the technique of my swimming, which is my weak link.

“At the moment, because of the weather, I’m spending a lot of time on a static bike in the garage.”

The signs are good for Orme because although he wasn’t that pleased with his performance at Rutland Water, it did confirm he is recovering well from a leg-muscle injury that kept him out of action for six months.

The event compriseda ten-kilometre run, a 42-kilometre bike-ride and then a further five-kilometre run.

“My time wasn’t that fast but because I wasn’t race-fit, it was pleasing,” Orme says.

“I also got awfully cold on the bike and had frostbite on the end of my fingers.

“There is definitely more to come from me.”

Amazingly, at the presentation ceremony, Orme was announced the champion.

But the administrators had dropped a clanger and after a protest, his old rival, world champion Pete Wheddon, of Bristol, was promoted to first place.

Wheddon also pipped Orme to the gold medal at the European Championships in Greece in 2008.

But the Hucknall man, who has also competed in more than 30 marathons since starting competitive running at the age of 16, is determined to beat him one day.