South Tyneside business boss Gavin Richardson has set his sights on European glory.
Gavin, managing director of Opus Building Services in Boldon, is in Geneva representing Great Britain in the European Triathlon Championships.
Gavin is becoming a veteran of such meetings, having competed for GB in last year’s European Championships in Kitzbuhel and other previous championships.
He has been training for months for this year’s event.
Gavin is competing in the 40-44 age group and will be joined by athletes from the Coalfield Racing Team, with whom he trains regularly.
To qualify for the GB age group team, Gavin had to achieve a set time at one of the three national qualification events, which he did so at Nottingham.
Earlier this year he had qualified to take part in the European Duathlon Championship in Madrid, but had to withdraw because of injury.
Only 20 athletes in Gavin’s age group around the UK have qualified for the championship.
He said: “I’m fully recovered now and raring to go. It’s hard to say where I’ll finish in the field as you don’t know who you’re going to be up against, but I’m feeling fit and confident.”
Gavin’s recent performances at a Southport Europeana Qualifier event gained him automatic qualification for the Lisbon 2016 European Triathlon Championship.
Amazingly, three Coalfield Race Team athletes gained the first three qualification places. He said: “It’s amazing that there are three of us from the same small team taking part in such a prestigious championship” He’ll be joined by regular training partner Gavin Thompson, who lives close to him in Sunderland, and Gary Walker, who lives in Durham.
The triathlon involves swimming typically 750m then cycling 20km before running 5km. The duathlon involves only running and cycling.
Gavin started competing in 2011, wanting exercise having had his head stuck in books while completing an MBA at Newcastle University Business School.
He said: “I train for about 15 hours a week, and find it’s ideal for disconnecting with business concerns and worries. I can concentrate purely on the physical challenge.
“There are lessons to be learnt, though, that can translate into successfully running a business. Athletic competition is down to marginal gains, and I think that can translate into business – finding small things that can make a real difference.
“And of course if you are commited to working – or training – hard, the results will come.”
Opus Building Services was created by Gavin and Ian King in 2006 and now has almost 100 members of staff.
The companyspecialises in electrical and mechanical engineering, providing heating and plumbing services across a range of sectors.