Malcolm Bradbrook outlines what has finally inspired him to take to the mountain tops and challenge his limits in triathlon
Ever since I completed my first triathlon, I promised myself that one day soon I would push the boundaries and go for a really tough event. That was 12 years ago and now I am just one month away from finally fulfilling that promise.
Braveheart Triathlon is the chosen event. It is in the country of my ancestors – not even distant ancestors – for my mum is from Dunoon on the West Coast and I lived just outside Glasgow until I was eight and, as it finishes with a run up and down Ben Nevis, it is sure to be a hefty challenge.
What has taken me so long? Cowardice, for sure, plays a part but I have also fitted three children into the intervening decade and even training for standard half-iron distance events has been tricky. I have also fitted in a good number of marathons and the 6am training proved tough enough when the children were young and restless sleepers. It’s different now though, they don’t waken in the night any longer, and the 5.30am wake-up call has been replaced by a much more relaxed 8am.
So, here I am. Now just four weeks away from the event itself. I have a lot of miles in my legs on the bike ,having done the epic Fred Whitton sportive in May, and I have been building up the running miles for the past two months.
I’m told the bike is relatively flat (rolling at worst), which gives me hope after the gruelling challenge of Hardknott Pass and its evilly brilliant brothers and sisters. The trickiest thing for me is getting hilly training in for the run.
I live in Oxfordshire, and the Thames Valley is noted for its flat and uninspiring landscape so, while I am attempting repetitions of local ‘hills’, it feels scant preparation for the challenge of the highest mountain in the UK. A 1341m ascent to the summit will be the toughest challenge of the race but, as is always the case, the greater the work, the greater the reward. I am always happiest when high up in mountains or hills and, hopefully, I will still be able to appreciate the view after the 6.5miles slog to the top.
In the next few weeks I’ll document how my training has gone and share some tips I have begged and borrowed from professionals and top amateurs. Let’s not make it one way though, feel free to take to the social channels and pass on your wisdom – unless the advice is ‘don’t do it’. I feel my brain has provided enough of that negativity for the past 12 years!