TRIATHLON: It's no holiday for Richard
MARLBOROUGH’S Richard Cooper is hoping he can handle the Hawaiian heat when he takes on the world at the World Ironman Championships later this month.
Cooper, 55, who is chairman of Marlborough and District Junior Athletics Club (MADJA), earned his world championship berth by winning the 55-60 age group at the Ironman UK race in Bolton in August, finishing his 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile marathon in just under 11 hours (10:59:59).
Cooper, who raised around £8,500 for St Catherine’s Hospice in Preston and other causes by competing for the Rotary Charity Fundraisers, will now be doing it all again in Kailua-Kona on October 12 and says that he hopes to enjoy his trip to the central Pacific.
“I’d done quite a few distance races in the past but the Ironman was something I’d always wanted to have a go at, so I trained really hard for Bolton,” said Cooper, who is a father of four.
“I wanted to do it properly so training was quite brutal – I was doing roughly 12 to 13 hours a week.
“There were around 50 slots for British athletes to get a world championship place in Bolton and because the majority of those would be going to people much younger than me, I knew that only the winner was going to be going from my age group.
“But I wasn’t expecting to win and going to Hawaii is a bit of a bonus for me.
“It’s going to be really difficult because it’s a bit hard to prepare for that kind of heat and a warm sea swim when you’re training in this county but I’m going to give it my best shot and see what I can do.
“I’ve had plenty of well wishes and messages of goodwill from people and that’s been nice.”
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