After a few years away from sport, Ben Goodfellow has rediscovered a love for swim, bike, run and, having had debut success recently with the Great Britain Age-Group Team, he’s now relishing the challenge of seeing what he can achieve in the sport.
Last month’s Europe Triathlon Powerman Middle Distance Duathlon Championships in Alsdorf, Germany was his first appearance representing the GB Age-Group Team and not only did Goodfellow win the male 25-29 age group, but he was also the fastest age group athlete overall.
“Just receiving the GB kit was incredibly special,” Goodfellow said. “But seeing your name printed on it takes that special feeling to another level.
“The chance to race in the GB kit, no matter how I would have done on the day would have been special. I went into it not really knowing how competitive I would be. I knew the level I was at, but I didn’t know where that would put me amongst a top international field.”
“Lining up at the start, I picked the second row back in the pen. I didn’t want to go to the front, only to be the person who sets off like a rocket then fades back as the race progresses.
“Runs one and two were four laps of a 2.5km loop with a 60km bike in the middle. I spent the first lap on run one sat behind a few competitors. I felt comfortable at the pace we were going, everyone else seemed to be breathing a bit harder around me, so by upping the pace a little, I managed to open a gap and pull away.”
Goodfellow’s relationship with sport hasn’t always been so positive. Having been involved in club level swimming when he was younger, he fell out of love with the sport, instead switching to play video games.
After a few years away from sport, he picked it up again while studying engineering at Wrexham Glyndŵr University, at first as something to do recreationally, but he soon caught the swim, bike, run ‘bug’.
“In my middle teens, around GCSE age, I stopped doing any sport at all,” Goodfellow explained. “I picked up lots of video gaming, far too much. Going into my final year of Uni, I joined the local tri club to try to be more active again and then found myself really enjoying seeing progress in swim, bike, run.
“In sport I have definitely been a late bloomer. While swimming as a child, despite working hard, any progress was hard to come by. I was never the tallest, strongest or fastest and that can be disheartening when younger.
“But when I picked up sports again I kept seeing constant progression. With my personality, I’ve got quite an addictive nature. I get hooked into things. Once I picked up gaming, I was very addicted and then once picking up sport again and seeing progression, I’ve jumped back in wholeheartedly.”
Since returning to the sport in 2017, the North Wales-based athlete has had multiple successes, including becoming a double British duathlon age group champion and securing the overall victory at last year’s British Standard Distance Duathlon Championships.
His time at last month’s Europe Middle Distance Duathlon Championships would have seen him place fifth in the elite men’s race and, having already had ambitions to race internationally as an elite athlete, the result in Alsdorf sparked his ambitions further.
But this weekend his focus is on the World Triathlon Powerman Middle Distance Duathlon Championships in Viborg, Denmark, where he’s hoping to add the world age group title to the European gold he won last month in Germany.
“I’m really excited to get back racing,” Goodfellow, who has recently started working with triathlon coach Nathan Ford, said. “The World Championships is the highest level. In the back of my mind, I definitely have the idea of trying to win the World Championships title to go with the European title, but it all depends how it goes on the day.
“Picking up sport again in 2017, to me the idea of racing in a GB kit, winning a GB or European title would have been unbelievable and a truly out of this world concept.”
Over 70 age group athletes will represent the Great Britain Age-Group Team at the World Triathlon Powerman Middle Distance Duathlon Championships in Viborg, Denmark on Saturday (7 May).
The World Championships come just four weeks after the European Championships were held in Alsdorf, Germany, where the GB Age-Group Team returned with 16 medals including six golds.
More information about Age-Group racing, qualifiers and qualification criteria can be found by clicking on the button below.