CHRIS Perham realised his dream of rubbing shoulders with the finest triathletes when he competed in the UK’s second largest event, held in the stunning grounds of Blenheim Palace.

The Portlanders’ CV was sufficient to gain entry into the national junior/senior elite race, where he stood toe-to-toe with the best Britain has to offer – including world number one and two Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee.

At just 17, Perham was at the bottom of the age group so faced a host of more experienced competitors in the 750m swim, 20k bike ride and 5k run.

Among more than 100 elite competitors, the Tornadoes of South Dorset member enjoyed a personal best in the swim and was the 16th athlete out of the lake and first in his age group.

The transition did not go smoothly, however, as the teenager faced some difficulty with one of his cycling shoes.

Unfazed, Perham pressed on and still managed to clock another personal best.

Perham found his legs were a bit heavy during the run, thus denying him a trio of pbs. Nevertheless, the islander’s overall time of 1hr 9mins 56secs secured third place among the 17-year-old competitors, 24th for the junior elite category and a top-50 spot overall.

To round off a fine day, Perham was also able to meet the Brownlee brothers, who will be going for gold in this summer’s Olympics, and get their autographs.