Derry’s Aileen Morrison produced a superb performance to take second place at the latest round of the ITU World Triathlon Series in Madrid at the weekend.
Morrison, who has cemented her place in the Ireland Triathlon squad for the London Olympics, finished only four seconds behind Swiss winner, Nicola Spirig in the final Olympic qualifying event and came in two seconds ahead of third-placed, Barbara Riveros Diaz of Chile.
Morrison was 25 seconds off the pace after the swim but then produced brilliant bike and run performances to finish in a time of 2:06:38.
The Derry woman’s runner-up finish moves her up to eighth in the current world rankings and follows her second place at last month’s World Cup event in Japan.
“I’m really pleased with the run as I was in a really bad place coming out of T2 which has been typical for me over the last couple of races,” said Morrison.
“I really can’t figure out how to get a good T2 done, but luckily they were running at a nice steady pace at the front and I just slowly made my way there.”
By lap two of the four-lap run, the gruelling bike leg was beginning to take its toll on some of the women however, Morrison dug deep to join the leaders.
On the final lap, none of the front four were giving anything away and it was not until the final 400 metres that Spirig began to push.
Morrison and Riveros Diaz followed suit, but the sprint to the line was won by Spirig who claimed her second WTS title and continues her high class form in 2012.
“When I got there I thought well why not push this on, but in the last 800 metres I thought I was coming in fourth as my legs were like jelly and I knew Barbara (Riveros Diaz) had the strength.
“In fact when I got off my bike, I was just happy to be still alive and in the race at all,” she added. “That was honestly the hardest bike course ever. But after another shocking T2 I managed to pull back from a 12 second deficit to catch the leaders who were running steady as a group at the front.
“I knew Nicola (Spirig) would kill it in the sprint so I pushed some more, and then she went with 800m to go and Barbara too, my only thought was pretending the line was closer than it was.
“I can’t believe I managed to hold on for second I’m really delighted with that and it moves me up the rankings some more,” she concluded.