All-rounder Mike is still a contender half a century on

Mike Harris receiving another trophy this year with his two-year-old grandson Dan
Mike Harris receiving another trophy this year with his two-year-old grandson Dan

Five decades ago, Mike Harris, of Widdrington, left Bellingham Boarding School with school colours in athletics, cross-country, football, cricket and rugby.

He was also a member of the school gymnastic team.

In other words, he was an all-rounder as far as sport was concerned.

However, inspired by Jim Alder’s successes, he then joined Morpeth Harriers as a 15-year-old.

A few months later, he signed up with the Royal Marines Commandos, where he further developed his sporting prowess.

He represented the marines in athletics, cross-country, boxing and hockey.

Four decades ago, Mike left the Navy and rejoined Morpeth Harriers, winning, among other things, the North Eastern Counties Marathon title in 2hr25m26s.

Three decades ago, he changed sports and won 18 British triathlon championship medals.

Representing GB for 10 years, he won 47 open triathlons, including being British triathlon champion three times, runner-up also three times and third twice.

He was British master champion 10 times, and he is also a former British Ironman record-holder.

Two decades ago, having finished with triathlon after reaching his 50s, he jumped on his bike and won 75 cycle races.

This year, after 50 years of continuous sporting competitions, at the age of 64, he returned to triathlon “just for a change” and finished 15th out of 262 starters in the Northumberland Triathlon.

On the way, he was fourth in a run-bike-run Duathlon, finished second in a parkrun and had couple of top 10 placings in cycling races to boot.

The former Northumbria Police senior self-defence trainer and physical training instructor remained a working amateur throughout his sporting career.

There isn’t a secret to his success and longevity, he says, other than setting goals, being disciplined and sticking to them through thick and thin.