Whalley man (50) completes Windermere triathlon

Mark Darbyshire
Mark Darbyshire

A WHALLEY man used his 50th birthday celebrations to take part in a triathlon in Windermere – 30 years after he completed his first!

Mark Darbyshire has managed to raise almost £1,000 for the National Stroke Association thanks to his second triathlon – the first one he did is believed to be the first ever triathlon in Britain at Clitheroe Ribblesdale Pool in 1981 aged just 19.

Mark completed the swim/cycle and run triathlon at Lake Windermere earlier this month raising money for the charity after his mother died in 2009 having suffered a stroke.

The 49-year-old, who owns Darbyshire and Co accountancy firm in Whalley, had been training hard for a year and not only lost weight, but put in a fantastic training regime.

Commenting on his challenge, he said: “At the age of 19 I took part in the first ever UK Triathlon held in December 1981 at Clitheroe. From memory the event was over a medium course of one-mile swim, 30-mile cycle and 10-mile run, sponsored by New Balance sportswear and the event attracted National Athletes. Now age 50 I am delighted to have completed my second triathlon at Bowness and I have chosen the Olympic distance, which is a 1,500m. swim on Lake Windermere, 27 miles cycle around Lake Windermere via Hawkshead and a 10km run.”

He added: “I carry a number of old football injuries, so I had to be careful when training with my routine based mainly on early morning training from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.; swimming at Ribblesdale Pool in Clitheroe, cycling over and around Longridge Fell and running over Pendle Hill. My objective was to successfully finish the course at Windermere. I took up Open Water Swimming Races last year and although very much still a novice I have enjoyed more races in the Lake District already this year as part of my triathlon training. Co-incidentally, at Derwent Water, Keswick, in April, I met Nick Parke, a fellow triathlete competitor from the Clitheroe 1981 event who became one of our top triathletes in the mid 1980s, but he had to move to the USA to compete in those days – he actually remembered me after 30 years of ageing!”

Mark went on to say: “I would like to thank everyone who sponsored and supported me. Thanks to generous donations, I have managed to raise almost £1,000 for the Stroke Association. It was a great swim of 1500m., good cycle ride on a hilly 43k, but a very tired run 10k. Total time was two hours and 50 minutes, plus 14 minutes in transitions and getting changed. The weather was typical Lakeland rain with the odd dry 10 minutes here and there.

“I enjoyed the challenge so much that I may do another one in the near future!”

Anyone wishing to support Mark can do so by sending in cheques made payable to the Stroke Association C/O Darbyshire and Co, Nymrod House, 85 King Street, Whalley, BB7 9SW. Mark will forward them in memory of Patricia Darbyshire.