Tri Team Wessex's Jonathan Reading recently took part in the gruelling Ironman Florida.

Jonathan said: “For years it had been a dream to take on the challenge of an Ironman and in April this year, after one too many drinks, I finally took the plunge and booked my place at Ironman Florida. 

“I had only done one Olympic distance triathlon previously and so with six months to prepare for the Ironman I quickly realised I’d need some help with the training. An online search lead me to Tri Team Wessex and I got in touch. They were so welcoming and the next day I went along to a taster swim session with the club in Winchester

“Joining the club proved to be one of the best decisions I made throughout the whole process. It was so reassuring to be surrounded by like-minded people, some of whom had already been through the challenge I was taking on and had loads of useful advice. The coaches were fantastic and I definitely leaned on them a good few times over the months!

“The training was tough but always rewarding. A special shout out to my partner Jo who lived every minute with me and sacrificed a lot during the process to make my life easier, allowing me to focus on the training. 

“The day finally came round on November 4 and after a nervous week of anticipation I just couldn’t wait to get started. I was awake from around 2am on race day with what seemed like hundreds of checklists running through my mind! I knew though that as soon as I got in the water the training would take over. It was a beautiful day in Panama City Beach, perfect swimming conditions. Everything went to plan throughout the day until I got to the run when I think the 27° heat finally took its toll. I had always known that I’d have to dig deep at some point and with my legs failing me and a stomach in turmoil the second half of the marathon was that time! 

“The local support really helped though and seeing Jo on the sidelines gave me the encouragement to carry on and reach the finish.

“Reflecting on the whole six months it has been such a great journey. The process of setting goals and pushing your limits is addictive and something I will definitely keep doing. Tri Team Wessex have helped make it all happen and for that I am truly thankful. On to the next one!”