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Clock is ticking on Norfolk athlete’s Australian ITU Sprint Distance World Championships dream

PUBLISHED: 14:07 25 June 2015 | UPDATED: 14:07 25 June 2015

Steve Barnes from Brundall who has qualified for the World Duathlon Championships.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Steve Barnes from Brundall who has qualified for the World Duathlon Championships. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Archant Norfolk.

Fitness fanatic Steven Barnes is facing a race against time to turn his world championship dream into a reality.

The IT technician from Brundall stunned even himself by qualifying for a global competition during his first ever duathlon. But the clock is now ticking on the father-of-two’s hopes of making it to the start line in Australia.

The UEA staff member needs to find £3,000 before the end of the month to finance his appearance in Adelaide. And Barnes knows that without a main sponsor’s backing his hopes of going Down Under will ultimately be sunk.

“We don’t get any funding so if I’m honest I am really struggling,” said the endurance specialist.

“I didn’t have to ask myself whether I wanted to race for Great Britain. It was only after a little while of being excited that I asked myself; ‘Where is it?’ When I found out it was in Oz I went straight from thinking ‘oh yes’ to ‘oh no’. I thought the flights were doable (in terms of price), but then I realised my bike wasn’t fit for purpose and the costs have just kept adding up ever since.”

Barnes, with the help of several fund-raising initiatives, has found around a quarter of the total he needs to be part of October’s ITU (International Triathlon Union) Sprint Distance Duathlon World Championships field.

However, if he hasn’t registered his interest within the next fortnight his age-group (35-39) place in the event – which involves a combination of running and cycling for 17.08 miles – will be lost.

“I’ve got family in Adelaide, which has really helped, but I’m not willing to break the bank to do it,” said the athlete, who trains alone.

“My wife is really supportive and told me straight away to go for it, even if she and my two kids won’t be able to come.

“We have joked it would have been far easier if the event was in somewhere like Swaffham.

“I’ll be gutted if, having put in the hard work to qualify, I can’t make it.”

Click here to read how the path to the world champs was a lonely one for the Norfolk athlete


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