Hannah Kitchen stepped up her preparation for the triathlon season with a fourth-placed finish in the British Elite Duathlon Championships at Windsor Great Park.

The GB athlete was only using the event as a training run but that did not stop her from heading into transition with World Duathlon Champion, Emma Pallant, with an 11-second lead as they headed for from run to bike.

And the Rickmansworth-based former Watford Grammar School for Girls student was still leading after lap one on the bike before she was reeled in by Pallant and Michelle Dillon, the former Olympian and World Duathlon champion.

Kitchen eventually had to settle for fourth in the event which consisted of a 5k run, followed by a 20k bike ride and finished off with a 2.5k run. But it was an encouraging event for the Watford Harrier as the duathlon does not include her favourite discipline, the swim.

Kitchen said afterwards: “I was pleased to get out and race well after a couple of weeks of having not felt great in training [with a week of illness]. I had no idea what to expect but I’m extremely pleased to finish fourth behind world class athletes.”

She added: “I’ve had a good winter of swimming and biking and have been slowly building my running up from December, although I still have a long way to go with that.

“I’m really looking forward to the triathlon season and I have a couple more months to get my running to where I want it to be.”

Her next event is scheduled to be the Mallorca Olympic Distance Triathlon at the end of the month.