I have been selected for the Great Britain Age Group Duathlon Team for the 2016 European Long Distance Duathlon Championships in Copenhagen next May.
I have never been an Elite athlete nor a serious Sportsman, but always enjoyed being active. Then came an Office job and I began to plie on the pounds eventually weighing in at 19 and a half stone. It was then that my son was born and I decided I needed to loose weight and get fit so that in future years I could be able to run and kick a football with my children and enjoy being active with them as they grow and develop.
I joined a local running club where the regular running sessions helped loose some weight and get fitter but had a few bumps along the road including a broken ankle, I then joined East Essex Triathlon Club only then to end up having knee surgery due to a minor misshap at work.
In 2012 I had the good fortune of watching the Paralympics from the Olympic Stadium and recall Lord Seb Coe's speech at the closing ceremony and the success of Team GB and in particular the Triathlon performances from both Elite and Para squads. In his speech he said " When our time came- Britain, We did it right !". Never in a million years have imagined that I would one day be wearing a Team GB tracksuit with 'Chaplin' on it and that one day maybe I might just " Do it right".
The Road to Team GB
Over the last three to for years I have worked hard and especially in the last year with the addition of coaching and some nutritional advice I'm so fortunate to be in the position I am now. I am current;ly working 3 days a week for Royal Mail as a Postman in basildon, Essex which alows some time to train but then limits the amount of extra work i could pick up as and when it is available.
In January this year I was also voted as Tri247.com and Erdinger Alkoholfrei Athlete of the Month http://www.tri247.com/article_13675.html
which really is a great honour when you see the Atheltes that joined that list through the rest of the year.
In 2014 I entered a Sprint Distance European Qualifier race at Oulton Park and although fared okay I knew I was a long way off the standard of fitness and pace to be competitive. Having now run several marathons and raced a few more more qualifying racers against this countries top Age Groupers, including Clumber Park where I narrowly missed Qualifying for the 2015 World Sprint Championships in Adelaide, I am now proud to be selected for the Long Distance team which will also help me in my long term ambition to represnt GB as an Age Group Ironman.
In Copenhagen the Long Distance European Championships will consits of 10km run, 60km bike and a final 10km to finish.
Team GB - The Costs.
Like all amatuer sports our sport is Self funded, even at Team GB level. The honour of represting your country comes at a cost. The flights and Accomodation are booked and paid for by myself.
The cost of Team kit, training kit and race day Tri Suits cost around £640. Then there is the cost of Race Wheels and the bike upgrade to compete at European level and the rigid bike box to protect the bike on its way to Copenhagen and back.
In Total my trip to Denmark is likely to cost around £1,500. However I'm intent on working and training hard to ensure my GB career goes longer than this first season.
It may sound like a famous Supermarket advert, but 'Every Little Helps !', ah now maybe they could sponsor me.
Being an Age Group Athelete is very rewarding when you represent your Country and anyone of us will tell you it's harder than being an Elite Athlete, as we balance full time work, training and family life without the funding from major backers.
Any help I receive will be gratefully appreciated and I hope you gain great satisfaction in helping me and being part of my support team to represent our Great Britain !!
Further more I hope this shows that with a little bit of determination hard work and support anything is possible if you just believe in yourself and have a dream to follow no matter how big or small, we all have a part to play.
Yours in sport