Vegan Vlad's Duathlon experiment leads to glory
Vlad is known for his running – long distances on tough courses with plenty of height gain. So it’s been a surprise to some to see him turning his hand to triathlons, and then to the run-cycle-run world of duathlon.
“After doing 3 triathlons in Germany few weeks ago I knew that i needed a better bike and got a new TT bike 2 days before the race and had one ride on it” said Vlad. “I only got an old road bike about 2 months ago and it was my first time on a road bike and the first time i owned a bike since I was maybe 10 years old.”
With little experience on two wheels he may have been out of his depth at such a high quality event.
“The race went well” says Vlad, “I didn’t run all out in the first 5k as I know I better save my legs for the bike. On the bike section I was leading but I knew that the gap was getting smaller. Once I started the second run I saw that there were maybe 10 guys about a minute away from me – I was hurting a lot after the bike and didn’t run too well on the 2nd run. But I could just hold them off – winning by 2-3 seconds and just ahead of 6 guys finishing within 30sec.”
This extraordinary performance means that Vlad is now Australian Champion for his age group and has qualified for something that athletes aspire to for years – A Pro Triathlete licence that qualifies him to race at the top level.
What seems particularly striking is that runs of 5 km and 2km either side of a 20 km cycle section represent a much shorter race than the epic distances the ultramarathoner has been training with such success for.
“I think for a long time I’ve been racing long distance and going long and slow and it might be a nice change to race a little shorter. I will still run on trails but maybe aim for 2–30k races rather than 50k+ races for the next year. I’m not getting any younger so I might as well use the last of my speed before I will be back to running long and slow when I’m a little older.”
Which to onlookers may just mean that this vegan can do almost anything.