Inspirational 69-year-old Leeds athlete competing for Team GB in Canada
A GRANDFATHER-OF-TEN from Leeds is set to represent Team GB at an international sporting event.
Howard Bednarek, who has competed in triathlons including the ITU World Triathlon in Leeds in June, is set to take part in a gruelling competition in Canada this Saturday.
The self-employed painter and decorator flew to Vancouver today (Weds Aug 16) ahead of the World Age Group Duathlon Sprint Championship in Penticton.
The duathlon is a 5k run followed by a 20k bike ride and a two-and-a-half kilometre run.
Mr Bednarek, who represents Leeds-based triathlon club Jackpot Racing and Farsley Flyers, has inspired his four children and ten grandchildren to run, swim and cycle.
He won a place in Team GB by qualifying at a duathlon in Stockton-On-Tees in April.
Mr Bednarek, who grew up in Quarry Hill Flats and later lived in Pudsey, said: “I’m nervous but also elated because it’s something completely away from the norm.
“People can’t believe it and they wish me luck and say do it while you can.” He runs up to 40k and cycles around 70k a week while training.
Mr Bednarek added: “I still feel about 30-years-old. You feel better for it, even though your body hurts.
“I never thought I would say this but I’m looking forward to carrying on competing into my seventies.”
His youngest daughter Emma, 42, said: “The whole family is so proud of him. He is an inspiration to all of us. It is a massive achievement just to get there.”
Mr Bednarek’s wife of 48-years Christine, 71, who works in community nursing, said: “He is working all day and he comes home and trains and then he does his events. It’s brilliant. I don’t know how he does it. Some people say to him ‘you shouldn’t be doing that at your age,’ but he feels lucky that he can do it so he does.”