Triathletes Sam and Ollie hard in training for European challenge

By John Hutchins in Endurance Sports


TWO Tavistock triathletes are hard in training this week in preparation of representing Great Britain to take on some of Europe’s finest next month in a lung bursting challenge.

Oliver Beilby and Sam Lake from Tavistock Triathlon Club are heading for Denmark on June 10 to compete in the European Triathlon Union  championship - where they will both swim 1.9 kilometres, cycle 90 kilometres before ’finishing’ with a half-marathon of 13.2 miles —  Ollie in the men’s 35-39 age group and Sam, in the women’s competition. For both amateur triathletes it is a difficult task balancing the demands of their training regime, trying to reach their physical peak, and at the same time balance work and family.

Ollie, born in Tavistock and aged 36, is the co-owner of Taylor’s Restaurant in the town with his wife Frankie, in a family run  business. They took over the business four years ago when Ollie came back after working for a chalet catering company in the ski resort of Chamonix in the French Alps.

Ollie and Frankie turned up to do a triathlon at Roadford Lake in  2014 to ’have a go’ and since then he has been hooked. Now Ollie not only has his sights on the European Championships but he also qualified for the Ironman World 70.3 Championships, which takes  place in September in the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.

Ollie told Times Sport: ‘Training is now full on, every day and about 15 hours per week. The bike riding is my biggest strength and fortunately the main part of the event and my running is coming on too. Preparation is everything. When you get up and running you just  block everything out and get focused. You learn how to control the pain in your legs but you must keep pushing harder.

He is aiming to be in the top 20 per cent of his age group and looking for a time of 4 hours 40 minutes —seven minutes better than his personal best that he achieved at the GB triathlon in Staffordshire.

Ollie said: ‘I’m not going to worry about other people. Races like this are not just physical, which you have trained hard for and hopefully prepared. At that level it is more in your head than in your legs, especially when you are driving on to the end.’

He thanks the club for its support, which has seen its membership rise from around 10 to around 45 such is its growing popularity. He also thanks his sponsors NLFitness and PL20 Pilates.

Fellow TTC member Sam Lake, will no doubt have the collective backing  of everyone at Tavistock Community Primary School, where she is a teacher. She is married to Tavistock Swimming Club coach James — the couple have two children JJ, aged 10, and Miley, 8.

Explaining how she got into the sport Sam, 38, said: ‘I am really competitive but I got bored with just swimming so in my 20s I decided to do something different so tried a triathlon and really enjoyed it’

Such was her success that in 2007, representing GB, she was fourth in  her age group world championships and seventh in the sprint.

Now 10 years later she is heading for Denmark and is looking forward to the challenge.

‘I finished the recent London Marathon in 2 hours 59 minutes and I  was so relieved to get under three hours. I am now hoping for under  five hours in Denamrk at the European champion-ships.

‘It makes such a big difference to have the support of the TTC,  Tavistock Running Club and the Tavistock Running Project, which all  help to make training more fun. I also would like to thank local  businesses, who have backed me such as Fairway Furniture and Morrisons.’

No doubt, once Sam has finished the European Champion-ships she will  not be putting her feet up and will be looking towards her next  competitive adventure.

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