FOR even the most adept athlete, an ironman triathlon is an exhausting physical and mental challenge.
But a personal trainer from Chester is hoping to prove his mettle by completing 10 of the races on 10 consecutive days.
Fifty-two-year-old Dave Clamp, of Wrexham Road, flew to Sicily yesterday to battle the world's top triathletes in the Deca Iron Italy, which starts on Friday.
The event will see him tackle a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26-mile run every day for a week and a half.
“It’s about 85% in the head and 15% in the body. Hopefully I’ve built up the mental strength,” said Dave, who aims to complete each day’s contest in under 11 hours, leaving 13 hours for sleep, food and a massage.
“My plan is not to go out and race day one. It will be so tempting to treat it like a one-off race. When I see people going past, I’ve just got to think to myself ‘no, no, no’,” he added.
“In the past I’ve blasted off, trying to stamp my authority on a race.”
After finishing second in last year's World Championship in Mexico – racing at a sub-world record pace – Dave will start the 2011 contest as a favourite.
“I suppose you can’t pretend to be a dark horse when you have come second last year. I could come over modest and say I just hope to do my best.
“But I know everyone else will be looking at the start list and thinking I’m one of the three or four to beat.”
Dave worked as a modern languages teacher and GCSE examiner until three years ago, when he decided to put his triathlon experience to use training others.
He has had only two months to recover since losing more than a stone while running 1,357 miles from London to Rome in aid of the Cure Parkinson’s Trust.
Dave’s son Sam, who helped his dad through a five-day stomach bug during the cross-continental run, will also accompany him to Sicily.
“Having looked after me on the London to Rome run, he’s an expert. That’s the nicest bit – having him there with me.”
Readers can follow Dave’s progress at www.daveclamp.com and are encouraged to donate to the Cure Parkinsons Trust at www.cureparkinsons.org.uk.