Ontario’s Joanna Brown leads Canadians on rough race day in Leeds

LEEDS, U.K.— One battled through illness, the other contended with a dislocated thumb, but Joanna Brown (Carp, Ont.) and Matt Sharpe (Victoria, B.C.) powered through and accomplished what their teammates were unable to on a tough race day in Leeds, U.K. – they posted Canada’s two race results at Sunday’s ITU World Triathlon event.

Brown and fellow Canuck Amelie Kretz (Blainville, Que.) were up first in the women’s elite race, with Brown going in knowing she wasn’t in top form, having suffered from illness following Thursday’s Mixed Team Relay in Nottingham.

“Sometimes you just feel like a bag of bricks,” said Brown of her overall disposition on Sunday. “I went into the race knowing that I wasn’t at my best but that I could still have a strong performance if I stayed focused and gave myself a chance to perform.”

After a decent swim, Brown headed into the transition with the main pack and her group was pushing the pace early on in the bike portion before that pack grew and she realized her energy had been largely expended in those early kilometres. Brown fought “mentally and physically” through the cycling portion of the race, finding herself in bad position when the pack finally broke apart.

“When it came time for the run, I took it one lap at a time and just kept building and fighting for every position,” she said.

The effort resulted in the day’s top result for the Canadian squad, as Brown recorded a 17th-place finish, crossing the line at 2:00:02 and 3:30 behind the leader. Kretz pulled out of the race following the swim and recorded a DNF.

Leveraging the opportunity to race on home soil, Great Britain’s Vicky Holland and Georgia Taylor-Brown finished one-two in 1:56:32 and 1:56:49 respectively, while American Katie Zaferes rounded out the podium with a 1:57:02 to earn third place.

On the men’s side, Sharpe, who dislocated his thumb in a slip-and-fall accident during the first transition in the Mixed Team Relay event on Thursday, battled through to finish 33rd in a time of 1:51:47. Oak Bluff, Manitoba’s Tyler Mislawchuk, who notched top times in his leg of Thursday’s relay, was unable to complete the race, recording a DNF.

It was South Africa’s Richard Murray who stood atop the podium for the men’s event, crossing the finish line in 1:45:52, while Mario Mola of Spain finished second (1:46:01) and France’s Vincent Luis finished in 1:46.14 to earn third place.

Full women’s results here

Full men’s results here

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