Sheffield father and son compete in World Duathlon

Father and Son Chris and Alex Smith from Sheffield will represent GB in the World Duathlon Championships in Spain in the summer.
Father and Son Chris and Alex Smith from Sheffield will represent GB in the World Duathlon Championships in Spain in the summer.
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It’s a passion that certainly seems to run in the Smith family.

Alex Smith took up running and cycling as a boy, influenced by dad Chris who competed in both sports long before his son was even born.

Father and Son Chris and Alex Smith from Sheffield will represent GB in the World Duathlon Championships in Spain in the summer.

Father and Son Chris and Alex Smith from Sheffield will represent GB in the World Duathlon Championships in Spain in the summer.

For years, Alex recalls his dad cheered him on from the sidelines and then, once he was old enough, they began taking on races together, competing in various marathons across the UK.

Now the duo are taking on their ultimate challenge, after both qualifying to represent Britain in the World Duathlon Championships this summer in Aviles, Spain.

“We were delighted to qualify together, after both coming fourth in our respective qualifying heats,” said Alex, aged 29.

The duathlon will see hundreds of people, from all over the world, compete in a race that consists of a running leg, a cycle ride and then a final run.

Father and Son Chris and Alex Smith from Sheffield will represent GB in the World Duathlon Championships in Spain in the summer.

Father and Son Chris and Alex Smith from Sheffield will represent GB in the World Duathlon Championships in Spain in the summer.

And Alex and Chris, 57, are both training hard for the race on June 5, putting in hours of training every week.

“The training has been quite severe – twice a day, six days a week,” said Alex, who, along with his dad, is a member of Sheffield Triathlon Club.

“I do a run or cycle in the morning, go to work, then come home and do another run or cycle in the evening. It’s tiring but it’s the only way to be prepared.

“My dad has been doing this for so long now, he doesn’t really need to build up his fitness. But he’s hit that age now where his body is starting to show signs or wear and tear, so he’s spending lots of time in the gym working on his strength training.

Father and Son Chris and Alex Smith from Sheffield will represent GB in the World Duathlon Championships in Spain in the summer.

Father and Son Chris and Alex Smith from Sheffield will represent GB in the World Duathlon Championships in Spain in the summer.

“He still works full time, as a portfolio manager for an IT company and he travels a lot, which makes training tough, but he’s still getting around 12 hours a week in, which is impressive.”

And Alex, who is the manager of The Stag pub, on Psalter Lane, is no stranger to high-pressure races, after previously qualifying for another world championship when he was 22, where he came very close to winning in his age category, before falling at the last hurdle.

“I was struck with cramp in muscles I didn’t even know I had!” recalled Alex.

“It was a tough one for me, after working so hard, and it did kill my love for running for a few years.

Father and Son Chris and Alex Smith from Sheffield will represent GB in the World Duathlon Championships in Spain in the summer.

Father and Son Chris and Alex Smith from Sheffield will represent GB in the World Duathlon Championships in Spain in the summer.

“Once I stopped running I really missed it though, it’s in my blood, and I’m back at it now harder than ever.”

And Alex says he can’t even bring himself to imagine winning the race this summer, which will see him go up against around 200 other runners of his age.

“This race really is the cream of the crop, so it’s going to be tough,” he said.

“This is my comeback race, in many ways, so I can’t think too much about how it would feel to win, though I’d love to finish in the top ten.”

For Alex it means a lot to be heading to the starting line with his dad.

“Dad was the one who got me into running and cycling when I was just a kid and he acted as my coach in my younger days.

“It’s been a real bonding point for us over the years, so it means a great deal to be doing this together.”