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Mr March - Roly Shaw


Tell us about your pre-triathlon sporting history and your favourite sport at school?

As a youngster, I used to run everywhere! My Mum called me "Roly The Runner" as I seemed unable to walk at any time. At school I did XC, but, didn't run as an adult until my late twenties. I played rugby for school, but, got fed up as I was nearly always the substitute - or got substituted! I played football for church youth clubs, often in goal or as a defender. My claim to fame is playing for Leeds United................Reformed Baptist Church!! Ha! Ha! One day, before kick-off, the other team captain said "We can take this bunch of bible bashers!" I was annoyed, so with my first tackle I took him out - big time! "Not bad for a bible basher" I whispered - I got booked and we lost!

I was a competitive Laser dinghy sailor from my youth until about ten years ago. I competed all over the UK, plus Europe a few times, even Mexico once. I thought I would do it forever, but, gave up when we arrived in East Anglia - The Broads were too "tame" and, by then, triathlon had taken over! I still sail for pleasure, but, only big boats in the warmer parts of the world - as per Elaine's instructions!

Over the years, we have joined sailing clubs and running clubs wherever we have lived. So, I guess I am well versed in how they tick!

How and why did you get into triathlon and what was your first event?

We were living in Illinois, USA in 1999. No sailing, so I just ran. I got injured, so swam to aid rehabilitation. A running work colleague called Nigel saw me and asked if I could ride a bike, with a smirk I said "yes" and he said "you could be a triathlete" and I actually said "what is one of them?!" He lent me his spare bike and shoes for two years and we did a few events together. The first was an OW sprint in which I did breast stroke throughout the swim - in a sailing shorty wet suit that I had used in Mexico. I was very average but loved it! I owe Nigel a lot.