I started doing triathlons in the same year as I did the London Marathon in 1983. My first race was in East Kilbride on a freezing cold November day on a borrowed bike. Since then I have continued to compete several times a year with a break only when work restricted training time.
Preparing for a triathlon involves a lot of organising and time management and plenty of advice on training can be found in specialist books and magazines and on the internet. I chose a programme which I considered would best fit in with my weekly/monthly and long term plans. Then I customised it a bit to include local club sessions-AA run sessions, swimming, cycling, core sessions with Cheltenham Triathlon Club and extra sessions when I train on my own. Situations do crop up in the real world when training is not possible-injury, illness, holidays etc-and the plan has to be flexible enough to cope with these.
In June of this year I qualified for the World Triathlon Championships, as a Team GB competitor, with a silver medal (65-69 age group) at the British National Championships.
The final of the World Championship Series was held in Budapest in September. The weather was unseasonably cool and wet and heavy downpours made conditions extremely difficult in the transition area which became very muddy and slippery. The swim section took place in a little inlet of the Danube. The cycle course followed the Buda side of the river, a flat route with some tight turns and the run was a point-to-point along river's edge. We crossed the famous Chain Bridge, the original crossing between Buda and Pest and which was destroyed in WW2, to finish in Roosevelt Square.A fleet of local ferries transported the athletes, wrapped in fleece blankets, back to the start area.
This was my third World Championship and I was delighted to finish in fourth place with a personal best time.
Since I started I have collected eight Scottish Championship awards-six for triathlon and two for duathlon-and a gold medal for European Duathlon. My most recent event was the Lido Devil's Aquathlon-2K swim and 10K run to the Devil's Chimney. It was a totally unique challenge in very testing weather conditions. Plans for the future include next year's triathlon and duathlon championships in Spain along with a selection of local events.