Rupert roars to success in Euro triathlon championships

Rupert Clifford-Brown in action in Mallorca
Rupert Clifford-Brown in action in Mallorca

Rupert Clifford-Brown stumbled upon triathlons about three years ago when he was looking for a hobby that would help him get fit and lose weight.

Having been a runner when he was younger the 38-year-old from Boxgrove initially thought he’d do a few 10k races and a half marathon. Then he was encouraged to do a duathlon so he got on the bike as well.

By now he was getting the ‘buzz’ of multi-sport challenges and the next step was a triathlon. Fortunately in Chichester there are opportunities to practice all three disciplines and after participating in local standard-distance triathlons Clifford-Brown set himself another goal – a half-ironman, middle-distance triathlon.

This was the Ironman 70.3 UK Wimbleball in June 2013, which he successfully completed.

Realising he was more competitive over the longer distance of 70.3 miles he set himself a new challenge: to qualify to represent GB in his age group 35-39 in the 2014 European championships in Mallorca.

In September 2013 he raced Ironman 70.3 Aix-en-Provence and after five hours of racing missed qualifying by just two minutes.

Time was running out as the GB team was about to be announced and he knew he had to dig deep for the next race.

Clifford-Brown booked in for Ironman 70.3 Italy in June last year knowing this was the last opportunity to obtain a qualifying time for GB. By now he was training more than ten hours a week and had lost nearly two stone through exercise and diet change.

Feeling confident and having worked hard on improving times in all three elements of triathlon he knew he was in great condition. On completing the race he knew he had secured a good time and was thrilled to learn he had achieved a qualifying time.

Now came the wait to see if his time would earn him a GB place.

There were more registered athletes for the 35-39 age group category than available places but then came the email to confirm he had qualified for the 2014 Challenge-Paguera Mallorca ETU middle-distance triathlon European championships.

Representing GB was a huge honour and the race in Mallorca was extremely tough as temperatures reached 36C.

Overall, he finished 28th in his age group. Initially he said he would race for GB only once, but is more determined than ever to do it again.