Former GB triathlete Marc Jenkins continues to defy those who said he would never compete again after suffering life threatening Deep Vein Thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms. Marc will be back racing again at this weekend’s Blenheim Triathlon on Sunday 6 June, Oxfordshire.
The 33-year-old Welshman shot to fame at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games for his heroic performance during the triathlon. A crash during the bike leg, that ordinarily would have cut his race short, saw him carry the bicycle two kilometres in order to reach the running stage of the race. He crossed the line in last place but was greeted with a hero’s welcome.
Unfortunately for Marc, the following year proved to be a battle tougher than any he’d faced on the road, or, in the water. “I fell ill mid-way through 2005, but the symptoms were similar to what I had suffered in previous years,” he said. “I couldn’t breathe very well and had pain in my lower back, my calf started to get very painful. I got out of bed one morning and it was like a balloon ready to burst. The diagnosis reported having extensive DVT’s from my knee, right down my lower leg as well as pulmonary embolisms in the lungs.”
The fight to get fit ensued which saw Marc recover and return to racing in 2006. However, following the London Triathlon he suffered another setback. This time the tendons in his legs were threatening to shatter the dream of making it back to full fitness.
After three bouts of surgery in 2007, Marc again commenced his rehab programme. He said: “The recovery from this was extensive and I wasn’t sure if I would ever walk pain free again, let alone train or do any sport – it was a shocking time!
“Rehab was impossible as initially I was in too much pain to do anything, it was constant, everyday. I could barely walk so I just sat around the house waiting for the days to pass hoping with each day that went by my legs were repairing. “
Three years on and the Bridgend-based athlete is back in training, already competing in the British Triathlon Super Series season opener at Strathclyde Park, finishing in a respectable 14th place. Although many of us would see this as a monumental achievement considering previous ordeals, Marc isn’t so sure saying: “I thought I was well prepared for my first race of the year but I’m sure it was the worst race I’ve ever had. I felt terrible after 200m of the swim and never recovered so I’m feeling quite unprepared.”
Marc regards every race as an opportunity to cherish a sport he loves and will race alongside 5,500 competitors over the weekend comprising of elite athletes, first timers and relay teams. The UK’s second largest Triathlon, set in the stunning surroundings of Blenheim Palace, will attract around 15,000 spectators this weekend for the swim, bike and run event.
This year will see the event prize money stand at £6000, divided between male and female elite competitors, with Channel 4 Television broadcasting the race on the 27th June at 8.30am.
For further information about the Blenheim Triathlon, visit: www.theblenheimtriathlon.com