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Getting back on the bike with the Leeds Virtual Challenge


Stephen Bostock from Littleborough, Lancashire was involved in a serious motorcycle accident in May last year. Fourteen months later, Bostock is on the road to recovery, completing the AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds Virtual Challenge and using multisport to aid his physical and mental health.

In May 2019, Bostock was racing at the Darley Moor racetrack on his 600cc motorcycle in preparation for a Southern 100 race at the Isle of Man later in the year. He had planned to retire from racing following the outing at the Isle of Man, however suffered a serious crash during the race at Darley Moor.

“Unfortunately, I crashed and spent the next week in Nottingham University Hospital with three broken vertebrae, six smashed ribs, a punctured lung, a broken collarbone and a dislocated shoulder,” said Bostock.

After being informed by medical professionals that his injuries would eventually heal and he would suffer no permanent issues if he followed the physio work set out for him, Bostock decided to take up triathlon to aid his recovery.

“I decided I would enter a triathlon in May 2020 to give me a target to aim for. I was already a runner, mainly Park Runs and not a fast runner by any means, but I couldn’t swim and I didn’t own a road bicycle,” said Bostock.

After swimming became part of his physio, walking across the swimming pool floor, he became more familiar with the water and yet another barrier was broken. Six months later, with his doctor’s approval, Bostock bought a road bike and with that, he was ready.

“I entered two local sprint triathlons for May this year, but they were both cancelled. Then I saw the Virtual Challenge and decided to do it,” said Bostock.

The AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds Virtual Challenge was created in the wake of the postponement of this year’s event. It allowed participants to take on their choice of three duathlon distances, racing at their own pace over the course of the week between 20 and 26 July.

After training hard, Bostock set a target for himself to finish inside three and a half hours and was thrilled to cross his virtual finish line in a time of 03:27:48 and beat his target.

Bostock said: “My physical injuries were bad, but my mental issues with depression were far worse. I have been racing motorcycles on and off for 35 years and that was finished, and I didn’t know what the future held for me.

“The physical training has helped a great deal, every little win with a faster or further run, swim and cycle gave me a great boost. I am not an elite athlete by any means. At this moment in time, this triathlon result is my best, I still haven’t swum further than 600 metres in distance and that takes me 45 minutes.”

Bostock’s Virtual Challenge success has inspired him to take on more multisport, as he’s now signed up for an event with a 750m swim.

“I know I will be able to finish it,” said Bostock. “I hope to enter the AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds next year and get to run over a proper finish with my friends and family to cheer me over the line.”

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