Burgess puts in big ef­fort to re­tain his World crown

Leek Post & Times - - SPORT -

JASON Burgess has suc­cess­fully de­fended his OCR world cham­pi­onship ti­tle and ad­mits it was hard work.

Leek-based Burgess said it was im­por­tant to prove last year in Canada was not a one­off and was de­lighted to once again claim the gold medal ahead of Poland’s Robert Kryzysty­niak, who fin­ished just over a mintue be­hind Burgess’s time of 1-40.03.

His Team GB col­league Dave Rogers was third in a time of 1-42.08 as the world elite ath­letes com­peted against one an­other in the ex­tremely test­ing ter­rain in Kelve­don Hatch, Es­sex.

“This de­fence of my world ti­tle was al­ways what I felt I needed to do to prove win­ning it last year was not a one-off and I have to say it was much tougher than the ti­tle I won last year, and I think that’s down to the added pres­sure of be­ing race favourite,” said Burgess.

“I’ve had a lot of sup­port from the peo­ple of Leek and my team-mates at Bux­ton & Mud­sta­cles ma­chines, as well as the staff at Brough Park Leisure Cen­tre for let­ting me use the fa­cil­i­ties there for train­ing. My suc­cess is also down to coach Dave Owen, who has made sure I have pre­pared prop­erly the cham­pi­onship.”

And Owen be­lieves the ti­tle clearly es­tab­lishes Burgress as the world number one in his sport (Ob­sta­cle Course Rac­ing).

Owen ex­plained: “He now holds con­sec­u­tive World ti­tles and Euro­pean gold to back up his claim. It is an awe­some achieve­ment from a lo­cal lad who we all know just loves sport and com­pe­ti­tion.

“He is an in­spi­ta­tion to me and our group of ath­letes who train to­gether in Leek at Bir­chall. I have told him it is time to quit as this elite level, but my guess is he will want to de­fend his Euro­pean crown next sum­mer,” added coach Owen.

Burgess, com­pet­ing in the 40-44 age group cat­e­gory, hit the front early along­side a number of other ath­letes from GB, Poland and Aus­tralia with no-one giv­ing ground dur­ing the early stages of the 15K course, and just be­fore the half-way point, Burgess fi­nally hit the front of the lead group.

It was at this point that he ex­pe­ri­enced his first prob­lem, made worse by an arm strain, which had not stopped him com­pet­ing, but nev­er­the­less, had been on both his and his coach’s mind through the two months lead­ing up to the race.

Burgess had to at­tempt the hang­ing rings sec­tion more than once to gain full com­ple­tion with­out any penal­ties, which would have meant the end of his medal chances, and he frus­trat­ingly dropped to fourth place over­all.

There was still al­most half the course re­main­ing and it was at this point that Burgess made a key de­ci­sion to re­main calm and use his ex­pe­ri­ence to make up ground on those in the medal places.

Burgess passed GB team­mate Rogers to move into third and then quickly passed the top Aus­tralian ath­lete to con­sol­i­date sec­ond place where, de­spite fa­tigue set­ting in from more than an hour of com­pe­ti­tion, he set­tled him­self and re­gained com­po­sure be­fore mak­ing an as­sault on the lead run­ner. He fi­nally passed Poland’s Krzysty­niak in the clos­ing kilo­me­teres and once back in top spot there was only go­ing to be one win­ner and he re­lent­lessly pushed on to take the gold medal.

World cham­pion Jason Burgess, right, and his coach Dave Owen.

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