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Race Review: Rempstone Roast Duathlon

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Rob Murray

Rob is a self confessed running geek, obsessed with all things related to the sport, whether road, track or triathlon.
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With a weekend’s break in the race calendar for running, it was with great interest that I saw the Rempstone Roast Dusathlon was this Sunday! I’d wanted to try one of these last year but they always seemed to clash with other runs. So after a week of uming and ahing (10 mile race next week so should I do the duathlon or go for a 10 mile run??!) I decided to give it a go! The duathlon was a run/bike/run, with the bike portion 80% off-road. Unfortunately, I sold my mountain bike last autumn to buy a road bike so found myself sifting through my parent’s garage to find dad’s old bike. Found it! Brakes and chain rusted up, tires flat as a pancake and crank shaft that wobbled so much I thought it may come off. But with the race 20 minutes drive away and registration starting in ten there was nothing for it but to chuck the bike in the back of the car and go!

So I arrived at the venue (Burnbake Campsite) at 9:15 and registered straight away with some very cheerful volunteers!

Rempstone Roast Bikes Racked

Rempstone Roast Bikes Racked

Racked up the rust-bucket with a transition pack consisting of a drink (the bike didn’t have a water bottle bracket) and a pump in-case the tires went flat, went for a warm up and then the start line, with 37 other cold, nervously-stretching competitors.

The Race

Rempstone Roast route and course profile

Rempstone Roast route and course profile

The duathlon started with a 2.5 mile run, the first half a mile of which was uphill – way to take your breath away! The run route then curved round to a rough track which eventually became a lovely flat-ish forest trail. I managed to hold myself back a bit, which I find VERY hard to do and came in to the bike transition in second place. A good job given how terrible the bike leg was…

rempstone roast

rempstone roast

Considering the age of the bike, it coped quite well with what was a very muddy, sandy and bumpy route. However the old chain was obviously very loose as it came off THREE times! The gears appeared to change randomly too, meaning I had to jump off a couple of times and run with the bike up a hill! But enough excuses, my lack of experience and training on the bike showed – it’s just lucky that I could claw back time in the final run…

So back into transition with the bike now down to 15th place after two extremely hard loops, a quick swig of drink and off for the final 2.5 mile run. This was just a case of ignoring the weird jelly bike legs for five minutes and doing what I DO train for – running! Managed to pass three people to move up to 12th place and cross the finish line.



The Rempstone Roast is a challenging race in the beautiful setting of the Isle of Purbeck. This was another reminder for me that the bike section of duathlons/triathlons is by far the most important and where the race is won and lost. Time to get a turbo methinks…


Run 2.5m // Bike 11.5m // Run 2.5m – 16 miles total

Run 1: 14:42
Bike: 46:41
Run 2: 16:27

Author: Rob Murray

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