Howard’s Path: Barcelona to Kona
Hello all and thank you for taking time out to read my page.
AGE IS NO BARRIER IN SPORT!
My name is Howard Middleton-Jones, I live in Mumbles, Swansea, South Wales, and in November I will be 69.
My background is in swimming and Triathlon. I started triathlon training in 1983 at the age of 37, and entered my first Triathlon in 1984. In 1985, I set up the first triathlon club in Wales, Triathletes Swansea, and in 1990, when I returned to University as a mature student I set up the Swansea University Triathlon club, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this month and is currently a very strong and thriving club.
In 1986 – 1987 I held the Welsh Vets title in Triathlon, and in 1989 was team manager to Wales when we won the first Home Countries Triathlon Championships.
In 1990 I was selected to be team manager for Wales at the Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand, where triathlon was selected as a demonstration sport before being introduced into the Games in 2002.
Unfortunately, at the time I was raising my two girls on my own, their mum died suddenly in 1979, and had just started at University so could not afford the extended time away,
Between 1984 and 1998, I had competed in over 100 triathlons and duathlons (run bike), including a number of half ironman competitions. After a long break and now in my very late 60’s, I have recently begun to train again for the sport of Triathlon, where my goal is to demonstrate that age is no barrier for multi disciplinary events.
I also wish to show that by gradual and regular exercise and cross training, no matter what your age or circumstances, one can look forward to a fitter and healthy lifestyle.
However, while age may not be a barrier, for those who want to realise their goals and dreams in any venture or sport, the financial costs are somewhat draining, especially for us ‘seniors’ (I loathe the term O.A.P.) on a state pension alone, is highly restrictive.
I realise there are many out there who, like me, have much potential and capabilities but lack the finances. I wish to demonstrate that with funding, one can attain their dream and goal, not matter what age, and who knows where the ceiling lies in our lives. To live a healthy life is to enjoy what surrounds you especially within the family circle.
My initial aim is to enter Barcelona Half Ironman – (known as a 70.3 event) 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and half a marathon run – in May 2016, and hopefully from there will have my eyes on the ‘big one’ (the full Ironman, 2.4 swim, 112 bike and a full marathon) at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii in 2017 or 2018.
In January 2016, I will be in the 70-74 Age group and my aim is to be up in the top of my age group. However, without support I am unable to realise this goal.
Currently my biggest expense is a road bike, I only have my old heavy mountain bike to train on, nothing too expensive (many athletes have highly costly gear these days!) but a bike that is light and manageable in order I can improve my cycle times.
Another costs is that of a swimming wet suit, when I first started triathlons in the 1980’s we did not require wets suits as the BTA (British Triathlon Association) ruling regarding the wearing of wet suits in competitions was yet to come into being.It is now compulsory for all triathletes to wear full wetsuits in the swim section of a triathlon.
Finally, entry fees, these have escalated since I started out in the early days, and even in small local competitions can be a minimum of £50. The average cost of an entry fee for a half ironman, for example, is around £180.
I am determined to get to Barcelona 2016, it is quite a tough event but hope to demonstrate that age is no barrier when it comes to personal dreams and goals.
With your help, this project funding will go towards the purchase of much needed equipment, travel and entry fees and hopefully offer inspiration and motivation to all ‘seniors’ ( or anyone of any age) to begin their journey to fitness and health.
All contributions, no matter how small will be greatly appreciated and make a huge difference towards my goal. If I am fortunate to raise more than my goal for next year, any surplus will go towards my ultimate goal of Kona in 2017 or 2018.
My family have always been very supportive in my ventures and I hope to extend this support by reaching out to those interested.
Thank you for taking time to read my project background