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This year’s FitBrit challenge proved to be the hardest-fought contest yet. Here’s how the competition came to a climax
The above is a action-packed taster of the 2012 FitBrit final video. The full version will appear in the March 2013 interactive issue, which you can download from iTunes from 23rd January.
Ask anyone about the toughest part of theFitBrit course, and the answer’s always the same: it’s the treadmill. Running akilometre at speeds of up to 20km/h is tough enough at the best of times – aftera 3km bike ride and dozens of box jumps, bunny hops and squats, it’s a certifiedleg-frier. In the grand final, it’s also where titles are won and lost, sothere’s no time to take it easy.
At the FitBrit 2012 final, acombination of a vocal crowd, stiff competition and some very encouraging timekeepers helped push the athletes past their previous limits. Super-fit 2011 runner-up Nuno Barreto was one ofhalf a dozen competitors to crank the treadmill up too high and be forced toleap off, suffering a stiff time penalty and conceding second place to WayneThomas, with whom he went head-to-head in the final.
Personal trainer Vlad Penev looked like hemight make the most dramatic come-from-behind victory in FitBrit history with ablistering sprint – before he accidentally yanked the treadmill’s emergencystop cord with 200m to go. Among the shaky legs and thousand-yard stares, itwas Timothy Gilbert who claimed first prize, putting in a fast time onthe bike before holding strong on the run. He beat his qualifying time by nineseconds to win a highly competitive contest, attributing his performance to thequality of competition – and the crowd. ‘I couldn’t have done that without thecrowd,’ said Gilbert, after claiming a bike from Evans and a watch from Nite. ‘Itmakes a huge difference.’
The women’s final was equally dramatic.Former Kona Ironman competitor Marie Kirton put in a ferocious showing on thebike and personal trainer Tracy Davies looked unstoppable hitting thetreadmill, but in the end it was defending champion Gwen Fennell who triumphed,smashing her previous best (set in the 2011 final) with a scorching 10min 31sec. Thehighlight was her last-minute burst on the treadmill, where she was actuallyspeeding up as she hit the 1km mark. ‘I run near the back, so it always lookslike I’m about to fall off,’ said a smiling Fennell. ‘But that’s just where I’mcomfortable. I get stronger the longer it goes – I’d like an even longer runnext year.’ Plenty of athletes confirmed that they’re planning to return – butthey might not all agree.
Thanks to all the competitors and sponsors for making it such a memorable day. Here are the top five times for men and women.
Men1 Tim Gilbert 11min 17
2 Wayne Thomas 11min 33 sec
3 Andy McTaggart 11min 44 sec
4 Vlad Penev 11min 53sec
5 Nuno Barreto 12min 31 sec
1 Gwen Fennell 10min 31sec
2 Nicola French 10min 48sec
3 Christine Hardy 10min 55 sec
4 Tracy Davies 10min 58sec
5 Cheryl Williams 11min 0sec
Check back soon for more details. For more information on Nite Watches, go to nitewatches.co.uk
If you want to see an action-packed video of last year's final, click here.