A Bit of Background

How it all Started



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I was born on 30 April 1954 in Kingsbury, Middlesex and spent the first 10 years of my life in Northolt. Since then, I have lived and worked in Bristol, but most of my life has been spent working in central London and living in Surrey. I joined the Civil Service aged 19 and two years later married my wife, Angela. We have two children, Gemma, in her second year at Bristol University studying Veterinary medicine and Tim, aged 14, whose dream is to one day own a Bugatti.









My interest in sport has gone in fits and starts. As a youngster, I played football to a reasonable standard and even played in two West Surrey Boys League Cup Finals, losing on both occasions! But I soon got tired of getting kicked off the park by blokes more interested in fags and booze than in playing the beautiful game so it was with a heavy heart that I hung up my boots and very quickly descended into a life of work, family and no exercise.




That was until 1984 when, as a bet in the office, I agreed to take part in the Civil Service half marathon championships, held then at Windsor Great Park. After a few months of largely unstructured training, I managed to get around the undulating course in 1hr 36min 10secs and was happy enough with my achievement to believe that there was something in this running lark. 


I soon became confident enough to join the local athletics club, Woking AC, which boasted a good road running section that also competed well on the cross country circuit. The Tuesday and Thursday night club runs were evenings to look forward to with post race analysis on the Tuesday and pre-race aspirations the main topic of conversation on the Thursday. I donít miss the projectile vomiting 10 x 400m track sessions but those long, slow evening runs are sorely missed. I very quickly learnt that my strength was not speed, but more on the endurance/stamina side. Try as I might, I couldnít get any faster than 34 minutes for 10km so it didnít take much persuading to shift the training emphasis to the half marathon and marathon distances. In 1986, I completed my first marathon at Abingdon in a time of 2hrs 50 min and this time persuaded me to have a go at the 1987 London Marathon. I managed to get one of the places allocated to all AAA affiliated clubs and after a good winterís training I clocked a time of 2hrs 42min 58secs. But the hard training and high mileage weeks finally took their toll and by 1988 I had stopped running altogether.


To try and keep a semblance of fitness, I started swimming at the local indoor pool and it was about this time that I started to read about this new sport called triathlon. In a fit of enthusiasm I ordered a racing bike from the wifeís Grattonís catalogue and was soon training on all three fronts. My first event was the Wokingham Try-a-Tri sprint race on May 7th 1989. For the record, I finished in 17th place in a time of 1hr 10mins 51 secs, with the 400m swim taking some 11min 19secs. I do remember most of it consisting of flat out front crawl (for two lengths) and the rest breast stroke! But I was well and truly hooked and went on to compete at all distances up to middle distance until 1992 when work and the demands of a young family took their toll. Yet another retirement!

Some 7 years and 3 stones later, I was asked by our Departmental sports officer if I would like a charity place in the London Triathlon. He knew about my running/triathlon background and to be honest, this was just the kick up the proverbial that I needed to lose weight and get back to a good level of fitness. And so it was in April 1999 that I started training for the holy trinity (swim-bike-run) once again. As it happened, the London Triathlon spot didnít materialise and it was not until 1 August 1999 that I embarked once again on the triathlon race circuit. That race was the Cotswold Sprint - the citizenís version  - which, perhaps because it was my first race after a long lay off, has always held a high place in my affections.  I have continued to race triathlon to the present day and can honestly say that I am enjoying it now as much as I ever did in the early years. Its one of the few things in life where growing old has distinct advantages and is almost looked forward to!


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