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Clarke ready to embrace chance to represent GB

Chris Clarke is ready to fully embrace his opportunity to represent Great Britain at the upcoming ITU Duathlon World Championships.

The Stradbroke father-of-two will fly out to Avilés in Spain to compete in the 40-44 year olds category after coming through a qualifier at Windsor earlier this month.

After completing the course in two hours, 10 minutes and 42 seconds to finish 42nd out of the 522 finishers, Clarke booked his place at the world event by virtue of ending up 12th in his age category.

“I’ve always wanted to stay fit,” he said. “I’ve done a bit of running and in the last four or five years I’ve started competing in local events.

“I knew I had the capability to do it, but it was my wife who encourages me. She always gives me the support and without her I wouldn’t be doing it.

“I’ve got friends who come and support me as well. They were on the phone checking the results to see if I had finished quick enough to qualify.

“A week later the notification came through that I had qualified and it didn’t sink in for a day or so to be honest. My wife was more excited than me!

“The firm who I work for came to me and offered to sponsor me to go and do it, which is amazing of them.”

Clarke, who works at the Thurlow Nunn Vauxhall dealership in Diss, plans to increase his training routine in preparation for the World Championships in June.

“I’ll be stepping it up,” he said. “I’m hoping to do seven to eight hours a week but it is very difficult to do.

“As well as working in Diss I’m also retained on the fire service so I have to stay local.

“I’ve also got my family as well. I’m a father-of-two so it is hard to find the time to put the hours in for the training.”

Clarke trains with fellow local athlete Lee Shipp, with the duo regularly meeting once or twice a week to train.

“I train with Lee on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Clarke said. “He went to the (ITU) World Triathlon Grand Final in Chicago last September.

“He’s going to Portugal for the European Championships in May this year, so we both push each other in training.”

Clarke will be without his trusted support in Spain but insists he plans to enjoy the experience of representing GB.

“I’ll be going on my own unfortunately,” he said. “My wife and two daughters always come to all my races to watch and support me.

“I’ll be there for five nights on my own but I’m certainly going to enjoy it. It could be the only chance I get to represent Great Britain.”

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