Darlington'S Mike Trees has become the Japanese National Duathlon Champion for the fourth time.

Trees, who recently scooped the British National title, was as impressive as ever in the Championships, which were held at Wakasaji - a small town by the Japan Sea in the west of the country.

The course was very mountainous, and Trees's gruelling hill climbing training paid dividends.

He was able to control the bike pack to his advantage.

The race over 5km (run), 40km (bike) and 5km (run) was made tougher not only by the long hill climbs but also by the strong winds, but his winter preparation ensured he was in good shape going into these.

In a strong field the run pace was very hot from the gun. Trees was able to drop all but two contenders in the hills during the bike section.

At the start of the second run he pulled clear of these two as well, and won by just under 20 seconds.

The Darlington man is in Japan to improve business links between Europe and the Far East and he spends days studying business practice and the Japanese language.

However, the 39-year-old has still found time to train and continue his successful Duathlon revival.

Owing to work commitments he has not been able to race as much as he would like to this year, but this success puts him in line for the World Championships in the USA in October when, if selected, he will represent England.