After only a year of racing and competing in a brand-new sport, Preston College’s own Student Manager, Jake, and great-nephew to Preston legend Sir Tom Finney, has been selected to represent The Great Britain Age Group Team in the Standard Distance Duathlon World Championships, held in Australia, 2024!
Having made an early breakthrough in football, and playing football for academies such as Blackpool, Bolton and Fleetwood, whilst also representing Lancashire Schools and FA, an early injury from a broken ankle when he was 17 happened again during match two years ago, leaving Jake to make the difficult decision to move away from football and step out of his comfort zone and into something completely different.
Fast forward two years and Jake has not only joined Preston College as a Student Manager, but in that time he has found a new love for running. Later that year Jake competed in his very first triathlon and has since competed in five triathlons, two duathlons and long-distance running events.
Jake says: “From having no idea what to expect on my first race two years ago, where I even had to borrow my uncle’s 10 year old cycling shoes and my dad’s rusty bike, I am thrilled to say that I have successfully managed to qualify for this duathlon after competing in a competitive race in this June.
“It was crazy, I was racing against current and aspiring Great British athletes, however I was lucky enough to place in the top 4 of the event, meaning I have secured a qualifying spot and a chance to represent my country in Australia in 2024. This is by far my greatest achievement, and something which myself and my family are extremely proud of. I have always dreamt of representing my country at a sporting level and whilst this was not possible during my footballing days, I’ve been given an opportunity to do so through duathlon.”
Unfortunately, there is no funding from the Government Body unless you are an elite athlete, which means that the whole trip has to be funded directly through the athlete or with the help and support of sponsorships, funds and grants.
If you’d like to support Jake through a grant or donation to help him make his dream of representing Team GB a reality, please visit his GoFundMe page.
He adds, “I hope that with my story, I can inspire other young athletes to achieve their dreams and to step out of their comfort zone into a brand-new sport such as triathlon or duathlon. Thank you very much for your time and thanks for reading about my journey so far.”