Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Exmouth-based James Stewart is living proof that hard work in what ever sport you play can take you to the top, writes Stephen Birley.
James grew up not being engaged in too much sport, though he did play football at Sunday League level.
It was October 2010 when James began to change his sorting views! That year he saw a great friend take on, and complete the John O’Groats to Lands End bike ride and the die was cast for a life change in sporting terms.
Stewart says: “My friend seemed to enjoy that whole experience so much that I was sold on the deal. I decided to do the John O’Groats ride myself did the trip the following year raising 10k on the in total. From that wonderful experience I began to look at other sporting ideas and the natural one, given my new found pleasure of cycling, was to combine it with running and take up Duathlon as a sport.”
Duathlon is an event where competitors first run a distance of 10k, then take on a cycle before finishing with a second shorter run.
In October of last year (2012) Stewart took part in his first Duathlon. He says: “It was a very comfortable event for me, in as much as I felt really good throughout and from there the natural progression as to set a new goal for myself and with that I chose to target qualification for the World Championships, something that I managed to do in January of this year.”
He then travelled to Ottawa, Canada where he was 34th of 319 male athletes at the ITU World Duathlon Age Group Championships.
He says: “That was an awesome experience and one that wetted my appetite further. It did prove a success for me. There is a down side, if it can be called that, and that is the funding. I rely heavily on the sponsorship I can draw and to that end I am so grateful to The Massage Clinic, Exmouth Cycles and my employer Devon Signs.”
All three companies have their logos printed on all of James training kit and his GB race suit and are included on his facebook and twitter pages.
However, he is always looking for more sponsors and if he were able to get a greater financial backing he might even be able to attend more competitions. Recently he began to work with a coach and he is now keen to link up with a dietician.
He says: “I’d love to get involved with a dietician to help, its small margins at the top of the sport and I’d like to get the best possible advice to further my career.”
Stewart also has the benefit of his biggest fan following him to all events – his wife Naomi – of whom he says: “It’s great that she is so supportive of all I do. With her by my side it really does spurt me on and to see her at events drives me to the finishing line!”
Anyone who feels they can help with funding and sponsorship is asked to get in touch with James and, for more on the progress of the Exmouth athlete visit his facebook page at www.facebook.com/jstewartduathlon he is also on twitter under the name @jsduathlon