Saturday, 1 April 2017

Spring Training Update

It's been over 6 months since my last post and, like most triathletes, I've had a winter of laying the foundations for a strong 2017 season. Since my last post about the National Relay Championships, my typical work load has increased drastically. I'm now regularly reaching over 20 hours in a typical hard training week, despite the fact I've also had to rehab from shin splints over the winter. I've had some epic training sessions and some fairly miserable ones in typical british weather. I also took part in the Rapha Festive 500 from the 24th December til the 31st, a cycling challenge which requires participants to cycle over 500km over the Christmas period. This was the longest week on the bike for me to date and saw me log some mega miles.

Last season, the International Triathlon Union updated the format of the world championship races, making them draft legal for age group athletes. For those not Tri-lingual, this means that you can ride very close behind someone to gain an aerodynamic advantage, like the peleton in the Tour de France. This change in format provides entirely new race dynamics, placing much greater emphasis on being a fast swimmer so you can join a group on the bike, and making the run the discipline where the race is won. As such, changes to my training have been implemented, with an increased number of hours in the pool and the addition of a weekly cycle track session working on group riding and cornering skills.

So apart from training, training and more training, what have I been up to for this past 6 months?
As club captain of the uni tri club, it's been a busy time for me, having a hand in everything from introducing new students to the club, running aquathlons, spending a weekend away training in the peak district and being in charge of the clubs entries for the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Duathlon. It's been tricky at times trying to balance my time on committee with studying and training but I think I've got it sussed now.

I would have liked to race a couple of times to finish off 2016, but the unfortunate resurgence of injuries kept me out of BUCS and all but the last of this seasons XC races. Thankfully I was able to take part in the North Mids XC meet at Wollaton park, a mere 10 minutes from my flat. A brilliant venue (the location of Wayne Manor from the Batman movies), though I would have preferred the course to have a few more hills to suit a mountain goat like me. I went into the race with the confidence of bambi on ice, having only run 10k once in the past 4 months, and that was the week before!

With this in mind, I would have been happy just to complete the race, but as ever, the competitive beast within me was awakened and following the starters gun, I was very surprised to run a rapid 3:20 first k, a lot faster than I thought I would be capable of. My pace quickly slowed from there but I was still able to post my fastest 5k split for an entire year and hang on to finish a respectable 67th against a decent field.

There's no doubt in my mind that all the work I've been doing on the bike over the winter has kept my engine ticking over nicely. Therefore, although I don't quite have the leg speed right now, I can still keep going at a decent pace, and hopefully bounce back fitter and faster.

In hindsight, I went a little too hard in that race than my body would have liked, and it's left my legs a little worse for wear. In a sport like triathlon, where you're spending so much time, day in, day out training, it's very important to listen to your body, and back at the end of January, my body was telling me that I was teetering on the edge of injury. Previously, I might have ignored the signs and ploughed on through, but I think I made the right decision in taking some time off my feet, resetting and now, at the end of March, I think I've finally got it right, returning to running with no more than 10% volume added each week, with all of my runs on grass. I've just started returning to harder surfaces and I'm confident that I'll be fighting fit for my first race on the 23rd April at the Southwell triathlon.

Southwell will act as a warmup for me before BUCS Sprint the weekend after, where I hope to improve on my performance from last year, against a field which has previously featured olympic athletes.

Before Southwell though, I have two major events to look forward to, the first being the Notts Triathlon on the 2nd April, i.e. tomorrow. For a change, I won't be racing in the Notts Triathlon, as it's an event put on entirely by the university and I have an important role in the running of the event (though I will be donning my swimming trunks for a relay team or two). It's a great event and being on the committee for the club this year has given me a real insight into the months of planning and the hard work, blood, sweat and tears that go into making it a reality.

A week after the Notts Tri, I'll be jetting off to Majorca for a week for UoN Tri's annual training camp. Depending on the days aims, we'll typically be open water swimming every morning, followed by a ~100k ride, featuring some of the epic climbs the island has to offer, and some form of run session in the evening.

So 2017 is well underway now, yet the only racing I've been doing is to the front of the queue at the Aldi tills, what are my aims for this season I hear you ask?

Too much racing last year left me a little underprepared and so I'm starting off the season later, and with fewer races this year. The first race I'm targeting is the Deva Triathlon on the 4th June. It's one I've had my eye on for a while as a qualifier for the world championships in September, though I've been waiting to receive my exam timetable before entering, so it doesn't clash with any exams! I got my timetable yesterday and after seeing I have an exam on the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th of June, I decided to enter anyway!

After this, my next race will be the European championships in Dusseldorf, where I'm aiming to finish on the podium this time. Following the race in Germany, I'll take a short break from training before building back up to target a European championship qualifier for 2018, and the world championships, where I'm aiming to finish in the top 10.

Now things are in full swing, I'll be posting a lot more frequently.
As ever, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Club Relays post for UoN Tri

23rd August saw 8 of the University of Nottingham Tri Club’s finest descend upon Holme Pierrepont, the site of the 2016 National Relay Championships. We had 2 teams racing, one in the Mixed Open category (Rosa Lavelle Hill, Alex Johnson, Zoey Garlick and Sam Broomhead) and one in the Male Club category (Stephen Jones, Peter Rought, Sam Evans, Niall Rennie). Both were competing in the ‘Relay x4’ where the first athlete completes the swim, tags the second athlete who completes their swim and tags the next person and so on, until everyone has done swim and then bike and then run. We’d decided in advance of the race it was only fair to let other teams win the national honours so instead we were competing for the title of ‘University of Nottingham Triathlon Club Relay World Champions’.

First into the water were Stephen and Rosa - though Rosa decided to make things slightly more interesting by accidentally giving Stephen a minute head start while she struggled to put her hat on, knee deep in the water, as the starting gun went off.  Both had really good swims but Stephen was out of the water over 30 seconds quicker – work to do for the mixed team! The second swim leg saw Pete build on the lead of the men’s team but by the transition to the bike leg, the combination of Zoey and I managed to claw back a chunk of time, opening up a gap of around 2 minutes.

This gap was built upon, particularly by Alex who lay down the fastest bike split of our athletes, smashing the legs off the rest of us. Great rides were had throughout but as the 4th members of the teams rolled into transition, it was looking almost cosy for the mixed team, who had a 3 minute cushion to play with. I must also give a shout out to Zoey who left some skin behind after testing just how wet and slippy the road was on one of the corners. Kudos to her though as she still finished with a smile on her face.

The run course was a 1 lap route around the outside of the regatta lake. The weather had started to brighten for the final part of the race, making it quite warm. The men’s team began to eat into the time gap from the word go, but it was still very even as the second runners exchanged the baton. Sam Evans had a great run to pull back 2 minutes on Zoey and as I set off on the last leg, I could see Niall right behind me. For the first 2k I felt like I was running for my life, but it wasn’t enough to hold him off. After a cheery hello and a dying grunt in response, Niall pushed on and, try as I might, I couldn’t stay with him. He disappeared into the distance to claim the title of University of Nottingham Triathlon Club Relay World Champions for the men’s team with the mixed team finishing a minute behind.

All in all the day was a big success, all of the team had a lot of fun and I would definitely recommend taking part next year if you’re in Nottingham and looking for something to do.

Racing Update

Hey folks, I thought it was about time I updated you on what I've been up to. It's been a busy summer for me, with a few races, a trip of a lifetime and an early (and much needed) off season. For now I'll just talk about the races and follow up in a later post.

The first race I did since my last post was the Woodhall Spa Triathlon. It's a sprint distance race (400m, 24k, 5k) which I've done many times before with varying degrees of success. With how well my training has been going this year I thought it would be a good way of testing myself against a large field on a course I know well. I was off in the second to last wave and opened up with a reasonable swim split - not quite performing to my best but not too shabby. I was in 3rd overall as I set off onto the bike but knowing quite a few of the other athletes in mine and the following wave, knew I would have to work hard.

 I pushed myself hard the entire way round but dropped down 3 places to some very fast cyclists, including Mark, the owner of TFN, and Simon George, who went on to set a new course record holder. Onto the run and I was definitely struggling, the whole way round I was expecting to by passed. I managed to move up 2 places but with about 1500m to go was passed by the fast finishing Chris Davies. Overall I finished 5th - probably the best position without actually getting an award. Despite Chris taking the age group win, I'm pleased with my position as this time last year I was nowhere near him. Happy with 5th out of 800+ and I'll be back next year looking for some silverware.

Next up was the Peak District Triathlon at Chatsworth, held only 20 minutes away from my house. This race was a backup in case I failed to qualify for the European Championships at the Nottingham Tri. As I'd already qualified, I was able to go into it quite relaxed. In advance I didn't think the course would suit me as the only flat part of the race was the swim. However, it turns out it suited the other competitors even less. The swim was a balmy 11 degrees Celsius and I was only able to warm up in the last 100m. I posted the 6th fastest swim in my age group - a good enough start to the race given the cold conditions.

The bike immediately took in a 3rd category climb. I had quite a few riders from earlier waves to chase all the way up to the top and managed to make up a lot of ground. Knowing the climb well definitely worked in my favour. The route then shot downwards and I was able to overtake a couple of riders from my age group, despite a particularly nasty section which was in the process of being resurfaced.

Onto the run I was in 4th position in my age group and chasing down the 3rd place athlete. The route was again very steep, winding its way from the transition area all the way to the hunting tower at the top and back down again - not for the faint of heart. I was pretty pleased to say I managed to run all the way up and I managed to come home in 3rd position in my age group and 11th overall.

My third race was at the Bassetlaw Triathlon in Worksop. I competed here 2 years ago and had a fairly decent result for my ability back then. This year I was looking for slightly more but didn't have the greatest preparation. The week before the race I picked up a nasty cold, courtesy of my brother. In an attempt to be healthy for the start I took a week off training but was still not 100% on the day of the race. With about 10 minutes to go until the start, I would have been content with just finishing.

I had a disappointing swim but came out of the water only 10 seconds behind the leaders. Within a kilometre of the bike I'd made it into 2nd position overall and that's where I stayed until the conclusion of the race. The overall winner was very strong and put time into me in every discipline. After a solid bike leg and a run within my current capabilities, I was happy to finish with 2nd overall and 1st in my age group.

I had in mind to do a couple more local races after Bassetlaw but one cold after another after another I decided to take an early off season and come back to training healthy, if not entirely fit! Since then I've gotten back into training in a big way, laying the foundations for a good winter block. I'm already looking forward to the new season. Once again, thanks for reading!


Sunday, 21 August 2016

Memorable Moments

I’ve recently been challenged to write a slightly different post to my normal race report style. After 6 years of racing, I’ve picked up quite a lot of tips from the sport of Triathlon and experienced a lot, racing in every weather condition (apart from snow) and spending my fair share of time laid on the floor trying to get my breath back.

For this post I thought I would reflect on some of my best/worst moments in my athletic career thus far. Whilst some of the stories mat have been mentioned previously, my hope is that this will be a refreshing twist to a blog which ordinarily just focuses on my current season and race performances.
One of my worst and most memorable races was back in 2011, in my first season of racing tri, at the grand old age of 15. The race was the Grantham Sprint Triathlon and if memory serves, the winner was Andy Tarry, a guy who is still beating me to this day. The race started bright and far too early for my liking. Before I even entered the sports centre where the race was based, I knew I was in for a rough ride.

The only part of the race I enjoyed was the swim, and that was only because the pool was heated. Out of the pool, I headed toward the exit and what was pretty much a hurricane. I proceeded to limp (relative to the other competitors) around the course. My usually slow bike pace dropped to snail pace and following that, my run slowed to a mere shuffle. I was so cold from the driving rain and freezing wind that I couldn’t even blink properly. Somehow I managed to reach the end of the race and, after staggering across the finish line with cramping legs, was helped inside under the protection of a foil blanket. I then spent the next half an hour huddled under a hand dryer, which seemed to be the only source of warmth in the entire town, as I attempted to recover from my hypothermic state.

Another memorable race for me is the Woodhall Sprint Triathlon. It’s a favourite of mine, one I do every year. However, in 2015, it was less than favourable. I started off with fairly good swim and bike times but in the process of transitioning from bike to run made a monumental cockup of things. The dismount came naturally as usual but on the uneven ground, my bike was far from stable. A wobble took the bike out to the side and I was unable to do anything other than kick it with my bare foot. This was a) very painful and b) rather upsetting as it caused me to drop my bike on the floor. As all triathlete’s should understand, it’s all about the bike. It also resulted in me breaking my toe. As you can imagine, this is not ideal when you still have 5k to run. It’s safe to say my run was little more than a hobble around the course. Yet that isn’t where the fun ends; pushing through the pain of my foot, I triggered a migraine, and by the time I crossed the finish line, my vision was blurry and complete with blind spot. Fortunately this wasn’t something completely new to me as I have suffered from migraines before, but it still meant that I had to spend around 20 minutes in the medical tent being checked out.

It’s impossible for me to talk about memorable races without touching upon the European Champs this year at Kalkar. My debut international race (unless Cornwall counts because that was a very long drive indeed) was a success and a half and left me craving more. Having my whole family their watching me and the rest of the british supporters cheering me on was incredible and I was super happy to take 4th place.

Although I haven’t been counting, I’ve probably competed in around 60 multisport events now and like I said before, I’ve got a lot of experience in triathlon. The vast majority I’ve entered have been brilliant but there are some improvements I’d bring in if I were ever to create my own event. There would absolutely have to be superbly clean toilets, some luxury type portaloos at the very least. I would also have music playing at regular intervals along the entire length of the course, like in the Rock n Roll running race series. Of course it would be my taste of music, so you can say what you like about that (cue. Lose yourself – Eminem). My tickets would be sold via Eventbrite, for ease and simplicity and there would be prizes for the top 3 in each age category. There’s nothing worse than waiting an hour for prize giving only to realise you’ve come 2nd and there’s no prize for that. Following that, the most consistent thing wrong with races is the amount of time it takes to prepare for prize giving. If the wait time could be under half an hour, that would be ideal. Live results during the race would also help with this. Fancy dress would be fun too. Maybe I’ll host the inaugural fancy dress sprint triathlon world championships someday, who knows. Lastly, there would be an insanely good buffet at the end of the race, featuring a hog roast – everyone loves a hog roast (except vegetarians).

Lastly, if I were to give any advice to prospective or novice triathletes out there, it would be to a) do nothing new on race day, b) build up your mileage and your training hours slowly, c) start off small (eg sprint racing rather than an ironman for your first race) and d) consistent training is the key to success.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Post Exams Update Pt 2

The next race on my list was also a BUCS (British Universities and College Sport) one, this time the standard distance championships. This format is basically double the length of a sprint, with a 1500m swim, 40k bike and 10k run. It was my first time racing over this distance so going into it I didn’t really feel that much pressure, with no idea what I was capable of I just wanted to see how my body would react and to see if I could race at my usual intensity. Getting ready for the race was a bit of mad dash but I made it to the start on time, heading into the marine lake at Southport in my brand new Orca Equip wetsuit along with 150 other athletes. Compared to the times I’ve been hitting in the pool my swim was a bit of a disaster; I was aiming for just over 20 minutes, including the short run to transition but my actual time was 21:25. I came out of the water feeling relatively fresh so I think it’s likely that I could (and should) have pushed more, something I struggle with in open water racing. After the race I heard a lot of people saying the course was longer than 1500m but I still feel I need some more practice in open water! My transition was also not up to standards and I struggled for what felt like an eternity while my team mate David Keasey got away.

When I finally headed out on my bike I started off a little easy, knowing I had more than an hour and a half of racing still to go. The bike route was 2 out and back laps and so it made it very interesting to be able to see everyone else in the field. It also made my acutely aware of just how many people were drafting at the sharp end of the race. For those that don’t know, drafting is where you sit close behind another rider to give yourself an aerodynamic advantage, and reduces the amount of energy to go at a certain speed by around 30%. In this particular race, drafting was banned and as such 2 minute penalties and disqualifications were being handed out for offences. As I approached the first 180 degree turn I spotted a couple of large packs, made up of some very good athletes who should definitely know better. It seemed very unfair on those athletes racing honestly, and particularly frustrating for me as I spent the majority of the bike by myself. This frustration fuelled my ride and I hammered along the closed roads, recording both 10 mile and 25 mile TT PB’s. I was impressed with how I handled the ride, only slowing noticeably in the last couple of kilometres where there was a substantial headwind.

I was still in 2nd place from Nottingham as I set off onto the run, though my friend Alex Johnson was hot on my heels. I started off at my usual 5k pace and though I dropped off a little, finished strongly with a big smile on my face. Well done to all of my friends who raced as there were some brilliant performances, too many to mention individually but I’m proud of you all. (Special mention to Sam Evans who finished the race despite crashing on the first turn around, breaking his hand and fracturing his cheekbone!)

The last race of this particular update was a favourite of mine, the Nottingham Triathlon. Being a qualifying race for the European Triathlon Championships, it was one I was particularly focused on doing well in. 

A slightly delayed start saw the first wave go off from a different location to normal, as there were concerns over toxic algae. This didn’t make much of a difference however as the swim portion of the race still took place in the regatta lake of Holme Pierrepont and with a distinct lack of wind, was abnormally calm. In complete contrast, the swim start was the most violent I’ve ever experienced. I was late getting into the water so didn’t get a good start position. Once the gun went I launched into a sprint to move ahead of the field but instead received a kick to the face followed a few strokes later by a punch to the head – all in good faith of course. By the first buoy things had quietened down and I focused on keeping my stroke rate high and making sure I swam the straightest line possible, a sure fire method of getting a fast swim time. However, the distance was slightly inaccurate and I ended up swimming further than expected yet again. My transition was rather lethargic and I emerged out onto the road surrounding the lake in around 35th position. 

The bike leg at Nottingham is exceptionally fast, a 4 lap course with absolutely no elevation gain and a guaranteed tail wind on one of the straights. I felt really good and was regularly catching people on much better bikes, showing that money isn’t everything. I knew a couple of people in my age group were ahead, having performed better on the swim and so my aim was to catch up to these and get myself into a podium position. I eased up a little on my last lap, partly to get my legs ready for running and also so as not to be included in a group that were drafting just ahead of me. On entry to transition number 2 I was in 4th place in my age group, courtesy of a 25mph average speed on the bike. I felt really strong setting off onto the run and managed to run a couple of really fast k’s early on. Stomach troubles caught up to me at this point but I managed to keep it together, moving into 3rd place and finishing only 20 seconds behind 2nd place. After the race I dashed off to go and watch Sheffield Wednesday play in the Championship Play-Off Final and so my mum took the job of collecting my award, though she declined to stay for the podium photo!

If you have managed to get to this point, I applaud you, it can’t have been easy to read through all that mumbo jumbo triathlon nonsense. Since the Nottingham Tri I have had confirmation that I successfully qualified for next year’s European Champs in Dusseldorf, the main aim of my season. I also competed in 2 local aquathlons, finishing 1st overall in both and I obtained the results of my first year exams. I achieved a 2:1 which I’m very pleased with and shows I’m not too bad at juggling triathlon and studying for a degree.

Next up for me is the Woodhall Spa Triathlon on Sunday, followed by the Peak District Tri the week after, and then some much needed chill time.

Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it! I got some really nice comments from people who read my last post so thank you for that, it means a lot!


Post Exams Update Pt 1

A couple of weeks ago I finished my exams and since then I have finally had some free time where I haven't had to think about memorising all the different drugs for malaria, or the hormones needed for ovulation, or even the difference between gymnosperms and pteridophytes (I'm still not sure). With that free time I've had to chance to reflect on my start to the triathlon race season and that's what I've got in mind with this post.

Since the European Duathlon Championships a lot has happened, the first thing that springs to mind is my buddy and training partner Will Bloomer getting taken out in style by some very poor driving. A full on over the bonnet jobby requiring a trip to A&E with some major golf ball sized swelling. He had to skip a couple of races but still managed to represent at the European Triathlon Champs in Lisbon on the 27th of May, #LEGEND.

My next race was the Nottingham Varsity Tri. This was my first time at the race but I’d heard big things after its debut the previous year. I was off in the last wave of the day at 11:30 AM alongside the best University of Nottingham athletes that money could buy. I was fairly happy with how my swim went, recording a 5:33 split to enter the transition area just behind the leader. 30 seconds of speedy tri magic later and I was in the lead just ahead of Birmingham athlete Chris Silver.

Despite having a few problems with his bike Chris powered ahead of me and before long he was a figure in the distance. After failing to chase him down, my aim was to simply maintain my lead from the swim over the other Nottingham athletes in the wave. I entered transition in 3rd place having just been overtaken by Chris Joyce from the local TFN Race Team. I still had a healthy lead over my team mates and quickly set off onto the run. My running legs still aren’t up to speed and so I was happy to finish comfortably in 3rd position, and as the first university athlete, making me the winner of the varsity competition.

A week later was the BUCS Sprint Triathlon, held in Calne at St Mary’s school. This race had a pretty stacked field, with future Olympian Gordon Benson competing and finishing 2nd overall, just behind Sam Dickinson, another top tip for the future. The day began for me with an altercation with one of my flatmates who was laid outside my room at midnight groaning because he was tired. 4 hours later I was up and preparing for the 4 hour drive to Calne with the rest of the team. We arrived just in time for the first waves at 8:45 AM.

Though our first athlete was off at 9 AM, I wasn’t racing until nearly 3 PM, so I spent most of the morning lounging around and cheering on the rest of the team. At 2:40 PM I was lined up and ready to go, with a couple of big hitters who were also in my lane. Unusually we had a 750m pool swim, but with my lack of open water experience this worked out quite well for me. I hit a very respectable time of 10:10, including the run into transition, and I was only overtaken by Sophie Coldwell, who will probably be at the Olympics in a couple of years anyway.

The start of the bike began with a very sharp hill and I had made the decision earlier to run up this before mounting my bike. I quickly got into my rhythm, powering along the relatively flat course, aided slightly by the tailwind. It was quite a lonely race for me with not many people to chase but after the turnaround point and a slog into the wind I caught back up to some of the athletes from my wave and entered transition ready to give my all. My best performance probably came around this point as I managed the 2nd fastest transition time in the whole field! I set off at a fast pace onto the run, but by 2k I was flagging. Sophie Coldwell came past me at this point and I managed to hang on to her for the next couple of k’s to finish only 20 seconds adrift. A successful race in my eyes considering some poor preparation and the start of a cold which took me out of action for a week.

Monday, 30 May 2016


When I first dipped my toe in the waters of triathlon back in 2010, it never for a moment crossed my mind that I might one day be able to represent my country at an international level. Fast forward 6 years to the 14th April 2016 and I've just boarded the ferry to take me from Hull to Rotterdam, and then on to the destination of the 2016 European Duathlon Championships, Kalkar, Germany.


 It's an interesting choice of venue for a major championships; a nuclear power station turned garish theme park called 'Wunderland'. I can't comment on the quality of the rides but the facilities were more than adequate, with the park allowing us to keep bikes in rooms. I arrived early on the 15th April, just in time for the course recce with 250+ other athletes. The thing that struck me most was the enormous amount of carbon fibre on display, a bike lover's dream! It was strange riding with so many people but I managed to get a decent feel for the course, pancake flat and super fast as long as it stayed wind free (it did not).

Later that day, after a rather poor race briefing in broken English, I headed over to Kalkar town centre for the parade of nations. This was a very strange yet exciting experience, with athletes from each country walking behind a local child carrying their flag. Residents lined the streets and the brass band at the front only added to the atmosphere, with interesting renditions of various Michael Jackson hits. Next came a welcome speech from dignitaries including the head of the European Triathlon Union and the Mayor of Kalkar. Following this I left for my hotel and, after being reunited with my mum, dad and brother, went straight to bed, expecting big things for the next day.

The racing kicked off bright and early with the first athletes off at 9:00 AM. I wasn't there to see it as I stayed in bed until midday, with my wave kicking off at 7:00 PM. With the unusually late start I had a lot of time to kill pre race so spent this either lying down in bed or on a massage table in the capable hands of the team masseuse Kevin.

Come 7:00 PM and I was ready to go. The start was a bit of a manic affair with 100 testosterone fuelled 15-40 year olds all trying to get to the first corner first. The run course was flat like the bike course, an out and back. I set off at a fast pace, keeping my eye on a couple of others in my age group. After the first couple of kilometres my recent lack of running became apparent as I just couldn't keep it going like normal. I entered transition in 7th place with a lot of work to do on the bike. Thankfully my coach Steve Lloyd's bike sessions had been building up my engine over the winter and I was able to do some real damage to the rest of the field, quickly reeling in a number of athletes. The bike course was very fast due to the terrain but there was a constant wind coming in from the side, though nothing too troublesome. I managed to claw back some time and came into transition in 4th place in my age group, just 12 seconds behind 3rd place. A brief bout of cramp and being held up by some older competitors in transition fuelled the fire of my running legs and I shot out of the transition area in hot pursuit of a European medal. As the metres ticked by I could see the black tri suit of my nemesis getting closer and closer and as we passed each other at the turn around point I even tried to cover up my number to hide the fact that I was coming for him. In the last 400m of the race I caught up to within a handful of seconds of him but could do no more.

I finished 4th in my age group at the European champs, only 8 seconds behind a bronze medal and I could not have been happier. I tried my absolute hardest and I will be back next year looking to take away some silverware. Heading into the race I had absolutely no expectations and was ecstatic just to be there taking it all in. Therefore my eventual result has me on a huge high and I want to thank everyone who has believed in me and supported me so far. A mention must go out to my coach Steve Lloyd of Absolute Tri. This is the first year I have had a coach and under his guidance I have come on in leaps and bounds so he deserves a big thank you, as do all the guys at the Uni of Nottingham Tri Club who continue to push me in training. Thanks go to my brilliant sponsors Fusion Group and CK Group who are helping me to achieve my goals this year, it's fantastic to have 2 great companies believing in what I do. I'd also like to thank my family, particularly Mum, Dad and my brother Mikey who trek up and down the country to watch me no matter what, even if they only get a glimpse of me for a couple of seconds. Thank you to Lauren who puts up with me talking about triathlon literally 80% of the time I am with her. Finally, thank you to Mr Wileman, my PE teacher from Brookfield Community School who got me involved in triathlon all those years ago.

GB Age Group Triathlete and Duathlete