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Home / Blog / Age-group blog: one man’s quest to swim, bike and run to Rio 2016

Age-group blog: one man’s quest to swim, bike and run to Rio 2016

Phil Renna makes it his mission to qualify for the GB triathlon team at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil

Phil Renna

I have a crazy idea: in a little over two years’ time I want to be part of the Great Britain triathlon team at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio (writes Phil Renna).

The odds are stacked against me – GB is unquestionably the world’s strongest triathlon nation, at 26 years old I should be headed to the knackers’ yard, not aiming for Olympic glory, and, worst of all, I have only been swimming, cycling and running for a little over a year. A long shot at best. Whether I make it or not is unimportant, this is a journey of discovery: how close can an average Joe get to the Olympic Games?

If you are a triathlete or a sportsperson, I hope this blog will be a good place to get someone else’s perspective of the athlete’s lifestyle, pick up the occasional pearl of wisdom I stumble across, and hopefully keep you motivated to achieve your goals. If you’re not, then you can always enjoy a good laugh at the occasional photo of me in spandex!

The story so far…

Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee are the cause of my madness. I had the good fortune of meeting them at an event celebrating their respective gold and bronze medals at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. They came across as entirely down to earth, fallible human beings – Alistair kept going on about how tired he felt after the race and Jonathan was berating himself for getting the penalty that ultimately cost him a silver medal.

My instinctive reaction to their normality was: “If you can do it, so can I”. And so I find myself eighteen months on putting the final touches to this post at seven o’clock on a Monday morning, having already been for one of the week’s many training sessions.

Brain vs. brawn…

My first year in triathlon has been a blur of frenzied activity. A winter of maniacal training, followed by an intense season of racing has delivered me to a critical point in my journey. I have achieved some promising results (winning my age group at the 2013 Vachery Triathlon and qualifying to represent Great Britain at the European Championships), but the pace has been too high. In a frantic effort to get up to speed, I have favoured quantity of training over quality, which has left me feeling exhausted. I almost didn’t make it out of the month off I gave myself in October.

My place on the GB team for the European championships has been a crucial intermediate goal. Rather than panicking about reaching the standard required to compete at the Olympics, I now have a much more attainable short term target and have settled in to some good quality winter training. We’re back on track!

Watch this space for more updates on Phil’s quest to reach Rio 2016!

Profile image of Jamie Beach Jamie Beach Former digital editor


Jamie was 220 Triathlon's digital editor between 2013 and 2015.