Triathlete Mark will represent Great Britain in World Championships

Pontefract's Mark Mills will compete in the World Championships in Cozumel, Mexico, in September.
Pontefract's Mark Mills will compete in the World Championships in Cozumel, Mexico, in September.

Pontefract triathlete Mark Mills will compete in the World Championships in Cozumel, Mexico next month.

Mark, a member of Ackworth Road Runners, Featherstone Road Cycling Club and Wakefield Triathlon Club, will represent Great Britain in the 30 to 34 age group.

It follows his selection for Britain in that age group in the European Championships in Lisbon earlier this year when he finished in tenth place.

Mark, who has just turned 31, is now relishing the opportunity to compete in Mexico.

Next month’s championships will feature all the world’s top triathletes, both male and female, from juniors and under 23s to age group athletes and elite level competitors at the multi-stage disciplines of swimming, cycling and running.

Brothers Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, who won gold and silver for Britain at the Rio Olympics, will compete at elite level.

Mark, who lives in Pontefract and attended Holy Family and St Michael’s Primary School and North Featherstone’s St Wilfrid’s High School, said: “The Brownlees came on the elite scene around 2010 and since then, because of their achievements, it has become a much more popular sport.”

Age-group triathletes differ from elite athletes like the Brownlees in that they often hold down full-time jobs while fitting their training in where they can and they receive very little or nothing in the way of sponsorship or funding towards, travel, kit and race entry fees.

Mark, a full-time primary school teacher at Scholes, near Leeds, added: “Age group athletes tend to have a full-time job and they have to fit it round their work commitments.

“It’s hard work sometimes but I have an understanding partner.

“I did my first triathlon about four years ago.

“Since then. I’ve taken it a little more seriously each year and steadily improved.

“I usually do about 10 to 12 hours a training each week. At the moment, I’m on school holiday so I’m doing a bit more.

“I finished tenth in Lisbon but, fingers crossed, I’m hoping to do a bit better than that at the World Championships.

“The last four or five weeks I’ve been training really intensively to try to get the best result I possibly can.

“I’m really looking forward to it. I’m just trying to get my head round the logistics of getting there and getting the bike there and things like that.

“Then, I’m making sure all my training is going well and I’m eating the right things and not getting ill or overtired. There’s a lot to think about.

“The race itself is on an island called Cozumel. They’ve held lots of races there before so they are well prepared.

“I’ve been given a week off school to go.

“I’ll get there on the Sunday and do some acclimatisation.

“I’ll do a bit of training and meet all the team and see the course. My race is on Thursday, September 15, and then I’ll be home by the following Monday.”