Murton man wins gold at the Duathlon World Championships in Ibiza

Brian Stephens from Murton, County Durham, took first place in the prestigious championships on April 29th after four months of hard training.

The 80-year-old struggled to raise money for cancer research and his family joined him 20 years after his first challenge for his 60th birthday as he ran sixty miles from Silloth to Hexham.

The Northern Echo: Brian with his medal.Brian with his medal. (Image: BRIAN STEPHENS)

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Now, after winning the gold medal, Brian told The Northern Echo he “didn’t believe for a moment” that he had won.

“On my 80th birthday I decided to compete in duathlon and had to qualify for the race earlier in the year.

“I was into running a lot and then, little by little, over the years I decided to devote myself to cycling. It seemed like a natural thing to start doing duathlons.”

Brian’s journey took him to run, bike, and then run again in the sweltering heat while being joined by hundreds of other runners from Mexico, Cuba, Australia and the United States.

He then competed in the duathlon with a time of 1:37:20 in his age group, having trained here in Sunderland as part of the Sun City Triathlon group.

The Northern Echo: Brian on the podium in April.Brian on the podium in April. (Image: BRIAN STEPHENS)

Brian told the Echo: “I just worked as hard as I could and focused on my race. I didn’t believe for a moment that I won!

“Before the race I would have been very happy with a third place. I remember thinking if I had finished third I would have been happy.

“So you can imagine the photos with my family are almost hysterical. It is very gratifying!”

Following his success, Brian was overwhelmed with positive support and well wishes from his friends, the local community and his Sun City colleagues.

He said: “The support has been great. The people of Sun City and the sporty people I know are so happy.

“I went into a bike shop that I frequent the other day and the man behind the counter came out and threw his arms around me!

“I received a lot of positive and happy news, it was great.”

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Despite his age, Brian told the Echo that’s not holding him back as he continues to compete in the same races that professional athletes compete in.

He said: “If you stay fit and focus on doing your best, you can do it.

“I’m still doing it at a pretty high level at my age – you just have to keep going!”

Even after the Ibiza Duathlon Brian doesn’t stop there and in August he will look at cycling up the Teide volcano in Tenerife, which is considered to be the toughest and steepest bike ride in Europe.

To donate to Brian’s Just Giving Link and to cancer research, click here. Murton man wins gold at the Duathlon World Championships in Ibiza

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