A WIDDRINGTON cyclist is still going strong at the age of 61.
A good winter’s training for Mike Harris produced yet another excellent season of results.
The former British Ironman record holder twice rode under 21 minutes for 10 miles with a best of 20mins25secs, and twice under 55 minutes for 25 miles. And he achieved a number of top three placings at races across the North East.
After leaving school at 15, he immediately joined Morpeth Harriers and shortly afterwards he joined the Royal Marines, during which time he represented the commandos in athletics, boxing, cross country and hockey.
When he left the Royal Marines, Harris re-joined the Harriers and became North Eastern Counties Marathon Champion in his early 30s. He then decided to add swimming and cycling to take up triathlon and became British Triathlon Champion three times.
He also achieved top 10 placings in European Triathlon Championships and top 15 placings in World Triathlon Championships. Going even further to the Ironman event, he set the UK best time in 1986.
In his 50s he was persuaded by a works colleague to get on his bike again – thereafter he went on to win 75 open cycle races.
In these days of professional athletes, Harris stood out as a genuine amateur athlete as he was never unemployed and never missed a shift at work through sickness or injury. He always worked full-time while continuing to churn out such exceptional sporting results and performances.
A married man with two sons, before retiring last year he was a Civilian Senior Self Defence Trainer and Physical Training Instructor with Northumbria Police for 24 years during which time he never missed a single shift.
Despite this, he still often managed to train three times a day to maintain or improve his sporting performance.