Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Health Club Duo Qualify FORTEAM GB Competition

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Health Club Duo Qualify FORTEAM GB Competition

Article excerpt

Byline: DARREN KELSO Reporter

STAFF and members at the award-winning Matfen Hall Hotel Golf and Spa will have a special reason to cheer on Team GB in the upcoming European Championships.

Fitness manager Ian Walton and Aqua Vitae health club member Suzanne Sharp will be taking their places in Team GB after posting qualifying times . Ian has qualified to compete in the triathlon event at the European Championships in Glasgow in August, while Suzanne will begin training in the autumn in preparation for her first Team GB outing in the duathlon during next year's competition.

Both Ian and Suzanne will be wearing Team GB colours in the age group events, which allow qualifying participants to represent their nation on the same course as the elite athletes.

Ian, who has been taking part in triathlons for 20 years, will be lining up with his 50 to 55-year-old counterparts at Strathclyde County Park on August 11 for a triathlon made up of a 750m swim, a 20km bike ride and a 5km run.

He said: "I'm just 50, so I'll be the bairn in the age group. My qualifier, which I did in 1hr 10mins, was actually last year up in Strathclyde so I suppose I have a bit of an advantage - at least I know the course!" He added: "It has been a while since I've done anything for Team GB.

"In 2008, I qualified for the world long course championships in Holland and I also competed in the duathlon championships in Rimini. I'm looking forward to it. It's always a brilliant atmosphere."

As well as competing himself, Ian - who has worked at Matfen since the health club opened 14 years ago - has also had a big role in helping Suzanne achieve Team GB status.

Just three years ago, the now 54-year-old mother-of-two had zero experience when it came to cycling. She had been a keen horse rider but, following a nasty accident, had decided she needed to find a new way of keeping fit. …

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