Meet squad­die Ol­lie Dan­vers

Sol­dier Ol­lie Dan­vers set him­self a tar­get of rac­ing 22 half Iron­mans over 22 days across 22 dif­fer­ent cities. Here he ex­plains why

220 Triathlon Magazine - - CONTENTS -

When the Manch­ester bomb­ings

hap­pened I knew I had to do some­thing to help in some way. I’ve never raised money be­fore but it just felt like my time to do it. I’ve known peo­ple who’ve lost their lives on duty. You get a lot of road­side bombs when you’re on tour, but in this case they were just go­ing to a con­cert. That was what hit me the most, that peo­ple lost their chil­dren.

I liked the idea of do­ing some­thing

chal­leng­ing. I got into triathlon in 2014 through friends as I was look­ing for a non-con­tact sport after play­ing rugby and foot­ball. I’ve done sprint triathlons but I’d never done a half Ironman be­fore, and so the 22 idea [for the 22 lives lost on 22 May] was born.

I had three months to or­gan­ise the

chal­lenge, up­ping my train­ing dis­tance and daily vol­ume. I only ever ran up to an hour; I didn’t push too hard as I wanted my body to be as fresh as pos­si­ble go­ing into the 22 days. Be­ing in the army en­sures that I have a good base fit­ness as they run a very good PT pro­gramme, which keeps you above the ba­sic level re­quired and al­lows you to train for a spe­cific sport.

“That was what hit me the most, that peo­ple lost their chil­dren”

I started on Satur­day 5 Au­gust

in Nor­wich and fin­ished on Satur­day 26 Au­gust in Manch­ester. Ev­ery day I went through highs and lows and learn­ing curves, from suf­fer­ing up long, steep hills in the rain to singing and danc­ing on the beach­fronts.

The tough­est days came in the

first week when my body was get­ting used to what I was do­ing, with aches from be­ing out on the bike for three-plus hours. Things start to play on your mind, as you’ve got a lot of time to think.

Day five in Ex­eter was the hard­est,

where my legs and head suf­fered with the ex­treme hills. Day 22 in Manch­ester was the best, I set out to re­ally push my­self. I had a few nig­gles but luck­ily no real in­juries and found my body re­cov­ered quicker as the days went on. And no mat­ter how much I was suf­fer­ing, I knew there were peo­ple suf­fer­ing far more than me in com­par­i­son.

I did a three-month tour in the

Falk­lands in 2015 with the Royal Engi­neers build­ing new ac­com­mo­da­tion blocks. It’s a bit of a des­o­late place, there’s not much grow­ing there but it was bet­ter than I thought it was go­ing to be. It’s never easy be­ing away from fam­ily but train­ing took my mind off it. There’s an ex­cel­lent fa­cil­ity that I used daily and I took part in a mixed re­lay sprint triathlon.

At the mo­ment I don’t in­tend to

do any more fundrais­ing, I want to spend time with my fam­ily. I want to get lots more triathlons un­der my belt in­clud­ing a stand-alone mid­dle-dis­tance race and, after that, a long-dis­tance race.

OL­LIE DAN­VERS Ol­lie, 32, is in the Royal Engi­neers, and is based in Not­ting­ham with part­ner Gemma and chil­dren, Franklin and Darcy. He’s cur­rently rais­ing money for the Bri­tish Red Cross So­ci­ety (www. just­giv­ fundrais­ing/ 22tris22lives).

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