GTC athlete of the month: Dougie Holmes

Dougie has enjoyed his first season as a triathlete with GTC. In fact, he did his very first triathlon, an Olympic distance, in 2015 at the Strathclyde Multisport Festival before joining the club.

Dougie’s first sporting love was football, which he played as a child and into his 20s. He then took up running in his mid 30s and he has completed a few marathons.

Dougie during his first triathlon.

Dougie reckons he was “hood-winked” into taking up triathlon. He says: “I had raised some money by running in 2014 and a national charity offered me the opportunity to take part in something called a half ironman. I had never heard of this before.

“So in 2015 I got to work on the training and started with swimming. I managed four lengths before I had to stop. It took the next five months of fumbling my way through self-made training sessions before I took on my biggest ever challenge, the Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire.

Since then he has also complete Ironman 70.3 Edinburgh earlier this year.

Dougie still reckons his best discipline is running although he has found a new love for cycling. He confesses that swimming feels more like survival mode for him. However, he adds: “ “As I gain experience in swimming I do like it more and more. In particular, I like open water swimming.

“The swimming part is one of the reasons I joined GTC. I have really enjoyed the club aquathlons this year.”

Dougie and the Ironman legend Dave Scott.

Since becoming a member of GTC, Doug feels he has shown improvement in all three sports, especially cycling.

When it comes to racing, he most likes the challenge of half ironman. He says: “The first half ironman that I did in Staffordshire was up there as one of my greatest achievements. I had never done anything like that before.

“I actually crashed my bike on a descent in this race and injured my shoulder, so being able to get up again and complete the race was much a relief as a success.

“I managed to raise over £4000 for the charity and not completing wasn’t an option. The injury kept me out of triathlon for the whole of 2016 unfortunately.”

Dougie on day 100 of 110 days of 10k running.

Dougie’s charity focus

In recent years, Dougie has raised a lot of money for charity. As well as his half ironman in 2015, the previous year he collected more than £5000 for the University of Glasgow Brain Tumour Research Fund by completing 110 10k runs in 110 days.

He says: “I came up with the challenge to create some longevity to the a fund-raising goal. I knew it would push me to the limits physically and it would be a mental test as well.

“I also like to help others and I regularly volunteer at JogScotland to help others achieve their goals. I have been trying to talk some of them into taking up triathlon.

“Another thing that I feel proud of is volunteering as part of the JAPES team, which helped four disabled pilots complete the Stirling Marathon this year.”

On the red carpet of Dougie’s half ironman event.

Goals for the future

Dougie has a few goals for 2018 although because he is getting married he is choosing his events wisely. He says: “I am still trying to decide which triathlons to enter next year.

“I would also like to try to run a sub 3:15 marathon, which will allow me to qualify for a ‘good for age place’ for the London Marathon. I currently have a PB of 3:31, which I achieved at London this year so it’s a big target.

“Looking further ahead I would like to qualify as an age group athlete for a major event like the European Championships. I am about to head into the veterans’ category so it could be a good goal but I am not sure if I will be able to achieve something like this. I would also hope to complete a full Ironman at some stage.

“Looking at the bigger picture, I am keen to create an event that will inspire others to take part.”

Dougie on the finish line of Ironman 70.3 Edinburgh this year.

Dougie’s tips for triathlon novices

Don’t hesitate to tri it (see what I did there?!). You will meet some amazing people who will go out their way to help you.

Just be the best YOU can be.

Go for a swim, ride your bike, go for a run. It’s that simple