Triathlete Mark is ready for latest challenge

Mark Darbyshire
Mark Darbyshire

A WHALLEY man is going that extra length to take part in a triathlon in Windermere to celebrate his 50th birthday – 30 years after he completed his first!

This is Mark Darbyshire’s 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 is taking part in the swim/cycle and run triathlon at Lake Windermere on Sunday, July 1st, raising money for the National Stroke Association after his mother died in 2009 having suffered a stroke.

The 49-year-old, who owns Darbyshire and Co accountancy firm in Whalley, has been in training for a year and has 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 taking part in 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 have to be careful when training but it is going fairly well, 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 is to 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 am looking forward to once again being a triathlete and I am delighted to see the progression of the event to a recognised sport and to now have full Olympic honours over the last 30 years!”

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.