Brave Tom makes his GB bow

Tom Pullinger in action at the European middle distance (half ironman) championships in Italy.

Tom Pullinger in action at the European middle distance (half ironman) championships in Italy. - Credit: Archant

Brave triathlete Tom Pullinger was forced to overcome another serious injury before finally realising his Great Britain dream.

The 44-year-old secured a surprise international call-up for the European middle distance (half ironman) championships just two years after being told by doctors to give up running due to a hip problem. However, the Bungay Black Dog Running Club (BBDRC) member’s terrible luck took another turn for the worse during the build-up to the event in Italy when he fell off his bike.

Pullinger revealed: “Twelve weeks before the race I was cycling to work, as I regularly do to get some training in, but this time I hit some black ice and I went down.

“I knew it was more than a little slip but I hopped back on the bike and got to work. It’s only when I got out of the shower and couldn’t put my sock on that I knew it was more serious. I went to A&E and they told me I’d fractured and compressed by vertebrae.

“Thankfully no operation was needed and I was told I’d need to spend eight to 10 weeks in a back brace. I did, but within three days I was back training on my bike in the shed.”

The inspirational father-of-two, who lives in Harleston, lost at least six weeks of his normal training programme and in the end was just delighted to complete the multi-sport (swimming, cycling and running) endurance event. He came 40th out of 52 in his age group (40-44) and is now aiming to land a second GB spot for the full ironman (140.6 miles, not 70.3) equivalent.

“My target was just to finish the race and ideally not come last in my age group,” said Pullinger of the race which took place in late May.

Most Read

“I guess I was a bit frustrated that I couldn’t be as competitive as I’d have liked in Italy. But the whole team GB experience and taking part in the race was still fantastic.”