TriRadar’s member of the month for July is slim-fast NB Hero who will be competing at Challenge Henley in September
- What made you first get into triathlon?
For me it was weight loss, I started cycling in 2010 and I was just under 20 stone in weight. After 2 years of cycling I saw a video on triathlons and decided to get into it to help shift the next three/ four stone.
- Would you say cycling is the strongest of your three disciplines?
Definitely! I did a ride across Britain last year, I’ve cycled across Europe, and done four-day rides. So I think cycling is definitely my strength.
- And if you were to rank the three disciplines from strongest to weakest?
It would be cycling, swimming and then running. Running is my definite weakness at the moment. Mainly because the events I’ve entered aren’t long-distance so I haven’t really done much long distance running.
- Are you doing anything to improve on this?
Yeah I got a place in the Ride across Britain so I stopped doing any triathlon training to concentrate on cycling. But at the end of that I booked a number of different events for this year. I did a sprint triathlon again, I won a place on the Outlaw Half, and had about three weeks notice to get ready for it, and I’ve got a half Ironman in August. But I’ve got the Challenge Henley, the full long distance, in September. All my training has been focused on building up for that one because that one is just phenomenal.
- Will that be your first long distance triathlon?
It’s my first long distance. Going from cycling and endurance cycling to the ride across Britain and that side of it meant that triathlons were the next step up. There were a few of us in my workplace talking about it and we formed a team of two of us to basically spread the word of the charity I came across this year and do stupid things that are going to hurt us endurance wise. So we couldn’t ask for better than doing a long-distance triathlon.
- Were you involved in charities from the very start?
I was weighing 19.9 stone and I got dared to do the Brussels to Frankfurt four-day cycle in my workplace. That’s what started it off because my work is connected with Unicef. The following year I did my cycling but didn’t do any real charity events but last year I did the Ride across Britain for the Paralympics and Unicef, again through work.
This year I wanted to have a look at what charities were about and I came across NCCA UK. It’s a children’s cancer charity and I’m a parent of three so it hit all the right buttons. Going from just raising some money for them they decided that having a team of normal people put together was an aspect that no other charity has got. So myself and my training friend formed the NB Heroes and from there everything we do is wearing the charity kit, spreading awareness, trying to raise some money and building their profile.
That’s the reason I signed up for a number of different events and I booked the first half Ironman with only 3 weeks notice from winning the competition through High Five to doing it and completing it. It’s a big part of what drives me in doing it for the charity itself.
- How did the Outlaw Half go?
I really didn’t know what to expect going into it because I’d only ever run one half marathon. In training, in Janaury, I did it once and it killed me. Cycling I knew wouldn’t be an issue, swimming I’d done the distance in the pool but I’d only been in the sea once. So I went into it thinking let’s see what happens. I need to do a full distance this year so lets treat it as a training day and it was an amazing event. I came in 6 hours 13 minutes and my ideal time would have been 7 hours so I was way ahead and I was a lot more prepared than I actually realised. As for the event it was the best event I’ve done so far in terms of the organisation and the people cheering provided a different element to what I was used to.
- How often do you train?
I train six days a week. I live 40 miles from work so I do my cycling on my normal commute and it ranges from 30-70 miles a day depending on what I’m doing. I’m a dad of three so it’s not the easiest of things but luckily I get in the longer distance on a normal workday and I’ll get a couple of hour swims and runs in the evenings. Then on the weekend I’ll do a long run. There’s always something going on but it means it doesn’t impact family time on the weekend.
- How has your nutrition plan changed from when you first started?
It’s a complete turn-around. I was regularly eating two takeaways a week; I ate what I liked at the time. I’ve dropped to about 14-stone so I’ve dropped four-five stone. It’s been a life-changer. My whole family has changed. They’re into sports and they all like doing mini-triathlons I arrange for them in the park. And my food now, I don’t diet, but I’m more conscious about what I’m eating so there’s no takeaways anymore. It’s about making the right choices.
- It must be lovely seeing your kids getting involved?
Oh absolutely, they love it. My boy is desperate to do his first triathlon but obviously you have to be eight years old before you can do some of the kid’s ones. He’s started swimming and it’s pushed him forward to actually learn to swim properly which he’s now doing. He’s ready for it, he keeps saying that when he’s eight he wants to do his first one.
- What is your greatest achievement to date?
It’s got to be the Ride across Britain, doing the Lands End to John O Groats in nine days was something else. The smallest day was 100 miles and the longest 136 so as an overall achievement it would have been that event.
The biggest satisfaction would be the first bike ride I did, cycling across Europe, when I first started to lose weight because nobody thought I could do it. And achieving the Outlaw Half was a pinnacle of this year. For me it was the case of I am a different person now. I can get up and do this rather than having to train for three years in order to do an Ironman. I’d never thought I’d be able to do that.
- And lastly, who do you think your inspiration has been?
I would love to say a person or a team but for me it’s the kids that belong to the charities I’m apart of because they follow our blogs, they look at our facebook page. They’re constantly struggling, they’re ill; they’re going through so much rubbish they’ve got to deal with and their families. But finding out they want to read our blogs and they want to meet us is just huge. So that’s what drives me to do the events. It makes it worth it just making one more person aware of what the charity does. It’s huge for me and that’s my drive.