Challenge Roth 2013 – Blog by Fred Willis

  • By Paul Moore
  • Published January 12, 2013

I’m a 41 year old who has been pretty active all my life with my primary passion being windsurfing having competed at a National Level both at home in Ireland and more recently in the UK. I took up Triathlon around 4 years ago as a challenge with friends and to keep a level of fitness for my primary passion so when I hit the water I could enjoy windsurfing without getting too tired out. You don’t realise the benefit of youthful fitness until you get older. I used to be able to windsurf for four to five hours and wouldn’t feel tired. As I hit 35 one hour did me in!

Doing a couple of Olympic distances a year and just narrowly missing the 2hr 30 target at London by 58 seconds, I tried going a little longer in 2011 and finished the Weymouth Bustin Skins middle distance in 6hrs 30 ish and vowed on the stagger around Portland that I’d never go long again. I realised that I hadn’t trained enough for it and underestimated how hard it would be. I also didn’t appreciate the necessity for solid food and only took gels. During the bike stage my guts were churning and I longed for anything other than a sweet gel…. SAUSAGE ROLLS!!!!


Why Roth?

It was quite simply luck of the draw. I hadn’t researched the events very well and merely reacted to peer pressure. A group of 4 friends who all took up triathlon at a similar time and we met through our Coach Mark Hooks at Reboot Dorset. The Sunday before the Roth entry opened I was having a boozy lunch with some other friends when Paul, Martyn and Stu included me in a text conversation and we all hyped ourselves up for Roth, this year we’re going to go long before family life takes over. Entry opened at 10 am CET and 09:30 the next morning I had my place confirmed.

10:15 I received a call from Paul to tell me he couldn’t believe it! He logged on and all the international places were gone!!! The monkey hadn’t realised that it was Central European Time had he?

So, I’m in and their not!!!

Good thing is that I’ve got the fastest course in the world which in my head means the easiest when going slowly. They’ve entered the more expensive and hillier Zurich two weeks later….but at least we will have a nice little training group.
That evening I was contacted via Facebook by the father of a young windsurfer. Craig Wood was 19 and serving in Afganistan when he was hit by an IED and lost both legs and an arm. Through BOARDS magazine which I was working for at the time, we hooked him up with some of his windsurfing heroes. His Dad, contacted me asking about training tips for a London to Paris bike ride he and Craig were doing. The motivation and determination of his son moved me. He’s on the Paralympic sailing squad, taking on physical challenges that most able bodied people wouldn’t consider. Another double amputee that I’d met through Reboot Dorset had just rowed across the Atlantic. Does nothing stop these guys? They are amazing !!! So I decided then and there that I was doing this Long Distance for Help for Heroes as a way for me to say thank you. Selfishly, when I’m in a dark place I can think of these guys Brute Determination and think myself lucky, get my head down and get on with it!

Its Now early January 2013 and I’m weighing in at 83 Kgs and 18% body fat. My fighting weight is about 80 Kgs and I intend to be 15% body fat.

Training has just started in earnest January :
Monday: Swimming Training Zoom Tri Club
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: Turbo session with Zoom
Thursday: Track session with Zoom
Friday: off (writing blog entry)
Saturday: Swim Training early doors followed by a cycle ride around New Forest and then I’ll be running off the bike
Sunday: Endurance Run

I’ve also got entry into London Marathon so as my distance goes up I will be making a weekly run to and from work which equates to 7 miles there and 7 miles back!
Other training opportunities are 100 mile sportives during May/June and I aim for one or two half marathons.
The details of my sessions I’ll post in the weekly blogs along with my challenges for that week: how to balance family (15 month baby and wife) with work (brand Manager Hey Dude Shoes) and get all my training is so I don’t let myself down on 14th July!!!!


Paul Moore

Paul Moore

Paul Moore is the Online Editor for Triathlete Europe. When not glued to a computer he can be found writing books - most recently Ultra Performance: The Psychology of Endurance Sports and The World's Toughest Endurance Challenges. Both are available on Amazon. Paul has also written Ultimate Triathlon: A complete training guide for long-distance triathletes which is also available on Amazon.