A PARA-TRIATHLETE inspired by a Keighley club started his season in style by retaining a British title.

Stuart Meikle, 43, won the gold medal at the British Paraduathlon Championships in Bedford earlier this month. At the event, he gained a personal best of 22 minutes and six seconds in the opening 5km run, followed by 34.45 in the 20km bike ride and finished in 12.17 in the closing 2.5km run.

This victory already shows he is carrying his winning momentum on from 2018.

As part of the seven-strong British Triathlon Para Talent Squad, he completed a 750-kilometre swim, a 20km bike ride and a 5km run to finish first at the Funchal World Cup event in Portugal last October. Other highlights of his year included picking up a silver medal at a British Championship race in July.

Meikle had his right leg amputated at the knee when he was just six months old due to complications following his birth. He was inspired to take up running after taking his children to Keighley & Craven Athletics Club training sessions at University Academy Keighley.

He began training for triathlons in September 2017, only a few weeks after running his first 10k on a blade and was invited to a British Paratriathlon trial in Loughborough.

Meikle attended a training weekend at Loughborough University, the GB headquarters for the triathlon, and following that was selected to be part of the Paralympic Triathlon Talent Squad.

He said: "Everything is going amazingly well for me. I had a good winter break training.

"My season starts in March or April and runs until October.

"This duathlon was a British championships. It's as big as it gets really. It's all about progressing. I don't know where I am racing at yet this year. It all depends on how well I do. I am in a good position to be picked for the British team thjis year.

"I will be competing at the British Championship Triathlon in Wales in May.

"It is a case of keep pushing and keep working hard and progressing for me this season. I'm training down in Loughborough two days a week.

"The challenging part is the recovery from events. Working between training makes it so hard."

Meikle, who lives in Bingley, added he is looking for funding to take him to the next level in his sport and thanks Keighley & Craven for their support.

He added: "I need to put myself in a good position with British Triathlon this season really.

"My main aim this year is to be selected for a World Series race. That would be a massive achievement."

To make a donation, or for more information, contact him at stuartmeikle.com or @StuMeikletri