Triathlon twins David and Michael Wallace are set to battle it out against top athletes – and each other – at an endurance event next month.
The Houghton lads, 28, will be travelling to Lisbon in Portugal as they take part in the European Triathlon Championships.
Both will be running, swimming and cycling big distances in searing heat against some of the continent’s top competitors.
It begins with a 750-metre swim, followed by a 20km bike ride and culminates in a 5km run.
Michael, a lifeguard and exercise class teacher, mainly based at Hetton Wellness Centre, said: “My training was set back a bit because I got knocked off my bike while riding in Houghton last year.
“It’s a difficult event to qualify for and you’ve got to put the hours in, or you know you won’t do well.”
The competitive siblings admit that they both want to win, but expect their own personal battle to be a close-run thing.
“You just don’t know until the day who’s going to be faster,” said Michael.
“We’ve had one race this year when I beat David, but we’ve got one a couple of weeks before we go to Portugal and it might be different.”
Both men, former Houghton Kepier School pupils, competed in swimming and athletics events from an early age.
The brothers are not the only notable siblings to compete in triathlon events, with Yorkshire’s Alastair and Jonny Brownlee both taking part in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Alastair is the Olympic and Commonwealth champion, while Jonny took bronze in London.
Speaking about the rivalry with Michael, David, a call handler for Durham Police and the older twin, said: “We are dead competitive, but if we can see one is doing better, then we will push each other on.
“If one of us passes the other we will try to give each other confidence to do as well we can.
“But there’s no doubt that we both want to win.”
Everyone Active, which took over the running of leisure facilities in Sunderland last year, is Michael’s employer and has agreed to sponsor him and help cover costs of the trip.
“They’ve given me £400 towards my travel, accommodation and the race entry fee, which I’m grateful for,” said Michael. It’s not cheap to get out there.”
David and Michael compete in Lisbon on Friday, May 27.