Paul Clucas, 45, from Kingswood, has always had a keen interest in keeping fit, but needed to step away from sports such as rugby and football following a series of knee and ankle injuries.
Since taking up triathlon, which includes swimming, cycling and running, as well as duathlon, which is made up of running and cycling, he has never looked back.He is to compete in the European Championships in Geneva before heading to the World Triathlon Championships in Chicago in September and the World Duathlon Championships in Adelaide, Australia, in October.
Paul, who is Station Manager for Emergency Response on the North Bank for Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, says his love of triathlon and duathlon means he has to follow a specific training and diet plan to compete with the best.
He said: “I’m a competitive person with an addictive personality and I want to do things the best I can. My first triathlon was South Hunsley and I got the buzz for it. That addictive jean kicked in and I didn’t like being beaten, so I had to train specifically and eat the right things.
“It was a starting point and I knew I could do so much better if I tried, so I kept on with local triathlons and I kept improving. You can represent your country if you qualify as an age group athlete, so you go through three qualifying events, and and I first qualified in May last year.”
Paul represented Great Britain last September in the World Triathlon Championships in Edmonton, Canada, finishing 32nd out of 90 in the 40-44 age category.
He then travelled to compete in the World Duathlon Championships in Madrid, Spain, in the 45-49 category, in March of this year, finishing 14th out of 42 competitors.
“Canada was great and there was a real buzz everywhere you went. There were people from all over the world and it was an honour to be there,” he said.
Paul, a member of Humber Triathletes, has to fund his costs for training and competing, and has been boosted with the support of Neil Hudgell Trust, which awarded him a £1,000 discretionary grant to help cover costs.
And Paul says he can’t thank the Trust enough for its support.
“It’s a massive help because there are so many competitions and that means a lot of expense. The grant has also helped me to upgrade my equipment so that I can compete on a level playing field, which means a lot,” he said.
“I’m a local lad and Hudgell Solicitors is a local company. It is putting money back into the community, which is great.
“It has certainly given me the chance to not only represent my country, but also my city as well, and I’m really grateful for that.”
Paul is also sponsored by Elite Office Furniture UK Ltd in Goole, Henderson Insurance Broking Group in Hessle, as well as receiving support from Reckitt Benckiser and David Lloyd Leisure in Kingswood.
Though his membership with Humber Triathletes ,which has also received financial backing from the Trust, Paul is aiming to pass on his passion and enthusiasm for both triathlon and duathlon, hopefully inspiring others to give the sport a try.
Jo Hudgell, chair of the Neil Hudgell Trust, said: “Paul has worked extremely hard to get to where he is and it is remarkable to see him representing Great Britain considering he only took up triathlon four years ago.
“We feel it is really important to support individuals like Paul through the Trust as not only is he determined to be a success himself, but he is also keen to give back and help others enjoy the sport.
“We wish him continued success and will be following his progress with great interest.”
The Neil Hudgell Trust invites groups which are making a positive difference to their communities to apply for grants of up to £2,500, with a total of £100,000 available over a 12-month period. Individuals can also apply for ‘discretionary’ awards to help support their own goals.
To find out more about Paul’s journey and progress, visit his blog at https://clukes.wordpress.com/about/