From couch potato to GBR age group triathlete,

Ben’s 20kg weight-loss reward

Most of us in the age group team, we all have a personal story, usually, change-driven, my own personal one was to manage stress and when I stopped the commute to the city, fill the time with a positive change in my lifestyle, a single sprint triathlon has turned into a passion and one that I am pleased to say allows me the privilege of sharing this story.

One such story really impressed me when I was sent it this week, meet Ben Ruston from Aberdeenshire.

One fellow GBR athlete has gone from couch potato to securing a Great Britain triathlon team spot – in just two years after a decision to change his unhealthy lifestyle.

Ben, who lives in Aberchirder, Aberdeenshire, was 12st 9lbs (82kg) when he made a 2020 New Year’s resolution to get fit and eat better.

With the help of a personal trainer, he lost nearly three-and-a-half-stone in 11 months, getting down to 9st 4lbs (60kg). However, getting fitter also led to a new passion – triathlon; something he never envisaged doing. (We are checking to see if his passion has also brought about the new collection of bike and trainers 😁)

 

Ben, 28, has qualified for the GBR team in the competitive 25 to 29 category for the European Sprint Distance Championships in Germany in August and the European Cross Triathlon Championships in Spain – again in his age-group category – just 18 months after taking up the sport.

Through social media Ben, who is 5ft 6in, spotted that Portsoy-based Aurora was holding a ‘try a triathlon’ event and decided to give it a go. Despite not being a great swimmer and never riding a road bike until the start of his new fitness regime, he was first home in a training run 10 weeks after the trial event in June 2020.

Ben says a huge amount of credit goes to his teammates and his personal trainer Stephen Gauld, of Core Nutrition and Fitness, who developed a plan for Ben for his initial goals and tailored it when things began to take off. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ben’s first official race was a triathlon in Chester in June 2021 where he finished sixth overall and fourth in his age group.

Ben’s biggest success to date was coming fourth and first home in his age group in the Aviemore Cross Triathlon in September 2021. This put him in the mix for selection at GB level. He will represent Great Britain in the European Sprint Distance Championships in Munich in August and, a month later, at the European Cross Triathlon Championships in Bilbao, where a mountain bike is used instead of a road bike.

Ben, a completions engineer with Magma Products, a Global Energy Group company, said: “I woke up one day at the start of January 2020 and decided enough was enough. I needed a healthier lifestyle, It was all takeaways and visits to the pub. While that was fun, I wanted to do something different. I had tried various fad diets and the odd run in the past, but nothing worked, or I couldn’t stick to it. I knew I needed professional support – and engaging with Stephen has been a life-changing decision. In February 2020 I bought my first road bike. My first ride was 8km and I slept for 3 hours after it! I kept going, then the Covid lockdown happened. There wasn’t much else to do so I kept increasing the levels of training and I’ve not looked back since.”

Stephen Gauld, who helps people at all levels, said: “Losing 22kg has been a crazy transformation for Ben. Most people overestimate what they can do in a few months, and underestimate what they can do in a few years. Sometimes you need to go all in and just trust the process. Ben’s journey from essentially a standing start to qualifying for European events is an amazing story.”

In January, Ben became a dad when his fiancée, Adele Henderson, 29, gave birth to Aria. In September 2021, he used his new-found fitness level to raise £5,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society in memory of his grandad, John, after taking part in the Ride Across Britain event. This is a 970-mile cycle over nine days from Land’s End to John o’Groats.

Ben said: “It’s fair to say I’ve really got into it. Adele, my family, in particular, my mum and dad – Helen and Paul, and Adele’s mum and dad – Elaine and Duncan – and friends have all been very supportive. It takes effort and consistency but I’m sure if I can do it then so can others. Triathletes seem to get better as they get older. I’ve enjoyed it over these past 18 months and just going to see how far I can go.”

A fantastic story of a couch potato to GBR age group triathlete, an incredible achievement and what a fantastic story, welcome to the age-group team Ben and good luck with those races, let us know how you get on.

 

If you want to hear more age group stories check out the podcast here:

Stuart Hall – Age Group Athlete & Coach

Instagram – @trimadness