JONNY McLEAN from Holmfirth Harriers is a European Triathlon Champion.
The 34-year-old from Wooldale scooped the gold medal when he competed for Great Britain in the 35-39 years sprint championship in Turkey (his birthday falls within the necessary age range)..
McLean, a physio who runs the Holme Valley Sports Injury Clinic at Lockwood, came out top in Alanya after a 750m sea swim, 20k bike ride and 5k run.
“I put in a lot of good training over the winter and in the early part of this season and, after some good results, I was quite confident about competing,” said McLean, who took up the sport only two years ago.
“My hope was to come away with a medal without really expecting to, but I felt really slick on the day and it went well.”
McLean was joint first after the swim and joint second in transition after the cycling.
“I was around a minute down going into the run, but I managed to catch the leader and go on to win,” explained McLean, who trains six days a week.
Several summer events are now on his agenda before he takes part in the World Championships in London in September.
“That’s being staged over the same course which was used for last year’s Olympics and is the full triathlon distance of 1,500m swim, 40k bike rid and 10k run, finishing in Hyde Park,” he added. “I went over to Chester to qualify for the Worlds and I’m delighted to have those championships to look forward to.”
A talented swimmer in his teens, McLean – originally from Golcar but who attended Brighouse High and Greenhead College before going to university in Manchester – took up triathlon after tiring of simply running to keep himself fit.
“I just thought it would be good to mix things up a bit,” he said. “I swam to quite a good level when I was younger and I’d also done some mountain biking in the past, so I just thought instead of running I could give triathlon a go.
“They have a really good triathlon section at Holmfirth Harriers and I must thank all the coaches there for the help and time they give me.
“Alwyn Dewhirst helps me a lot with the running, Andy Kerry, Kevin Page and Graham Howatson with the swimming and then Rachael Mellor and Andy Kerry have been invaluable with the cycling.
“They all give up their own time, and I wouldn’t be able to train like I do without the understanding of my wife, Martha, while my kids – Annie (7), Ruby (6) and Charlie (2) – always like to come along and support, which is great.”