Paralympic, World and European swimming medallist Tim Reddish CBE is stepping up his training schedule ahead of two local events organised by Derby-based HUUB Events.
Mr Reddish is the former chair of the British Paralympic Association and has signed up for the Derby Spring Classic Sportive and the first Staunton Harold Triathlon.
Mr Reddish, from Nottingham, was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at the age of 31 and lost all useful sight seven years later. He regained some artificial vision in 2013 when he underwent pioneering surgery to have an artificial retina inserted into his eye.
He will entering both events alongside his sister and accomplished triathlete Lisa Reddish who lives in Trowell.
Aboard their tandem bike, they plan to tackle the 160k cycle route in the Cycle Derby Spring Classic Sportive on Sunday April 23 starting and finishing at Markeaton Park.
They will then compete alongside each other in the first ever Staunton Harold Triathlon on Sunday June 11. The event starts with either a 400m or 750m swim in the lake, 14k or 28k cycle route and then 4k or 8k run in the picturesque grounds of the estate at the gateway to the National Forest.
These events will be important training sessions for Mr Reddish’s ultimate goal of competing in his first Ironman competition in Nottingham in July as part of his 60th birthday celebrations and to mark the next stage in his sporting life.
As a swimmer, Mr Reddish represented Great Britain in disability competitions at the highest levels for 13 years - amassing a total of 22 gold, 11 silver and 10 bronze medals.
He was appointed National Performance Director for the Disability Swim Team in 2003, where he led the team at both the Athens and Beijing Paralympic Games. He has chaired the British Paralympic Association since 2008 and was also on the board of LOCOG the organising committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London in 2012.
Mr Reddish said: “My first outing with HUUB Events was the Great Northern Running event in Mickleover earlier this month when I unfortunately tweaked my Achilles tendon and had to pull out.
“It has meant that we have not been doing any road running so have been concentrating on gym work, swimming and cycling.
“I am really looking forward to the Spring Classic Sportive as I particularly enjoy cycling which anybody can do – regardless of their age, ability or impairment.”
“It will be great preparation for the Ironman – maintaining concentration, good rhythm and balance.
“The Staunton Harold Triathlon will then be good experience for open water swimming. The swim leg is the biggest challenge as the other swimmers in the pack will not necessarily realise that I am blind and attached to Lisa so we need to be aware of what is going on around us.
“The off-road sections of the run are also aspects that we need to work on – especially if either or both of us are very tired.”
Tim and Lisa have been provided with with swim, cycle and running kit by HUUB Events’ award-winning sister company HUUB Design who are the kit providers for such famous names as Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee and Jenson Button.
He continued: “I am particularly grateful to HUUB Design for the kit. As a blind athlete I obviously face many challenges on the swim, cycle and running routes so it is very important to have confidence in top quality kit that is specially designed for the sport.”
Claire Duffin, HUUB Events Race Director continued: “Tim is an inspiration to athletes and I hope that his participation will encourage other people, particularly those with disabilities, to follow in his footsteps.”
Entries are open for the Cycle Derby Spring Classic Sportive on Sunday April 23 and the Staunton Harold Triathlon on Sunday June 11 with online registration and more information available at www.huubevents.com