DUATHLON: Cycling to work leads Josh to the European Championships

Josh Reed competes in the European Championships in Germany this weekend.

Josh Reed competes in the European Championships in Germany this weekend.

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Twelve months ago Josh Reed tackled his first duathlon - riding a 20 year-old bike he borrowed from his girlfriend’s dad.

This weekend (April 16) he competes for Team GB at the European Sprint Duathlon Championships (5k run, 20k bike, 2.5k run) in Germany.

“It’s all rather happened by accident,” said 25 year-old Josh, a former Arthur Mellows Village College student who hails from Newborough.

“I’ve always been a bit of an athlete - I used to run for Nene Valley Harriers in my teens and was county champion a few times over 800m - but I never really took up cycling until the end of 2014.

“And that was only cycling to work and back to get fit.

“It was about a 30-mile round trip in London - from my home in Clapham to the office - and I soon discovered I was quite quick.

“I’d been out of athletics for a long time with bad shins - caused through too many long hours pounding the roads and wearing cheap footwear - and that included the whole time I was at Loughborough University, which was a bit of a shame.

“Anyway, when the shins got better I decided to get back into athletics. But I was working long hours and was really struggling to fit the training in around my lifestyle. So I thought about cycling to work.

“It strengthened my legs without hurting my shins and I also enjoyed it. I had no intention of doing a duathlon when I started cycling but I did start to wonder just how good I was on the bike.

“So a year ago I entered my first duathlon - it was at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire and it was a qualifier for the 2016 European Championships. And I couldn’t believe it when I got selected. I was so pleased.”

After that Reed went out and bought himself a new bike and more duathlons followed.

He got better and better and more good news arrived last month. He took part in the Bedford Autodrome Duathlon and that was a World Championship qualifier.

And he once again performed well, finishing high up in his 25-29 age group to make the GB team for the World Sprint Distance Duathlon Championships in Aviles in Northern Spain in June.

Reed added: “It’s unbelievable, I know. I’m really buzzing. I’ve no idea how I’ll get on in Germany. I would love to finish in the top half and use it for experience building - a benchmark for the Worlds.

“I’ll give it my best shot and see where it takes me. I love new challenges.”

And although his ‘new’ sport is a bit more gruelling than the 800m and 1500m races he did on the track in his youth, it is nowhere near as tough as the crazy challenge he took up a couple of years ago.

He spent a year travelling around the world with his girlfriend Jessica and did an ‘extreme triathlon’ to raise over £1,000 for Arthritis Research UK. That involved a 20-mile road race in the Cook Islands, a bungee jump in New Zealand and a mountain summit trek in Borneo - all in a single day.

“That is the hardest thing I’ve ever done by a long way,” he recalled.

Reed has a Masters Degree in occupational psychology and works as a business psychologist for ETS,