From Devon & Cornwall Police:
Four officers from Devon and Cornwall Police have been selected to represent Great Britain in the European Police Triathlon Championships (USPE) which will be held in the Netherlands next month and make up a third of the British team.
And proving that there is no slowing down three of them have had their 50thbirthdays with the youngster of the team being aged 45.
PC Jo Church, from the SODAIT team in Plymouth; DC Richard Martin from Launceston; PC Jason Chubb from the armed response at Barnstaple and Sgt Linda Dabbs from the Safeguarding team at Torquay make up a third of the 12-strong British team
To qualify they all competed in at least three out of a possible six PSUK (Police Sport UK) races across the 2017 season. The best six men and six women across Britain were selected to form the British triathlon team to go to the Netherlands.
The event is particularly special for Plymouth’s Jo Church as it is her ‘swan song’ – she will be retiring from the police on May 30 after 28 years’ service. Jo first ran in Race for Life in 1997 after her mum was diagnosed with cancer. She said: “I got the running bug and continued into club running and representing the Force in both road and cross-country running.”
Her first triathlon was in Jersey in 2006 when she did a one-mile kayak, a 36-mile cycle and eight-mile run – she had to borrow a bike which was two sizes too big for her! She now competes in the age 50 to 55 category and says “I do OK for an old bird!” Last year she completed the Ironman in Copenhagen in 12 hours 10 minutes with a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run, she added: “It was an awesome experience.” Jo thinks she is the oldest competitor in the European Police Triathlon and said: “I feel privileged and proud to have been selected.” She is pictured as 820 finishing an event!
Richard Martin, a 45-year-old DC stationed at Launceston, has been competing in triathlon and duathlon for nine years and has done iron, middle and standard distance. Richard represented British police at the Union Sportive Des Polices D’Europe Triathlon in Germany in 2014. Earlier this year he won first place in the PSUK duathlon championships retaining the title for the third consecutive year.
Richard said: “My weakest discipline in triathlon is swimming so I am busy training so I can give my best at the European championships which will be held in Almere, the Netherlands on 26 May. Richard is pictured cycling in the 2016 PSUK team relays at Roadford Lane, Devon.
Linda, from the Torquay Safeguarding team, said: “I have always been very competitive and started out in athletics, mainly 400m, from an early age. I represented Northern Ireland and Ulster as a youth and also the Force at PSUK Track and Field and cross country races. I then hung up my spikes and took up triathlon in 2012.”
In 2013 Linda attended the World Police and Fire Games and represented GB in the World age group sprint triathlon championships the same year. Since then she has competed both locally and nationally for Exeter Triathlon Club and represented PSUK in duathlon and standard distance triathlon. In 2014 she was one of 12 athletes who represented the British police team in the USPE European police championships in Germany. The following year she turned her hand to a longer half ironman distance and won her age group in the Cotswold 113 event. It was this same event two years later that has enabled her to qualify to represent GB at the European Ironman 70.3 championships in Ibiza later this year.
Linda said: “I love triathlon – it is a great sport and community to be part of. It has provided many great opportunities to me over the years and continues to do so. I have found many people, particularly women, come into it as they get older, which is fantastic to see. I am honoured to join the team for a second time especially as I have just turned 50. (It seems the British team will certainly be raising the average age of the championships!)”
Jason Chubb, a 50-year-old armed response officer from Barnstaple, took up triathlon in 2012 having previously competed in gig rowing. A year later he qualified to represent GB in the London World championships and, in 2016, won the age group at Lanzarote 70.3 qualifying for the world championships in the USA. Jason has been the PSUK champion at an Olympic distance for the triathlon, sprint distance for the duathlon and has been the Devon and Cornwall Force champion at Olympic and sprint distance as well as the Force champion for 70.3 (half iron distance) for the last three years. Jason said: “I would like to inspire others who work shifts in our job to show what is possible when you really put your mind and body into it.” He is pictured as runner 607 in the Lanzarote Ironman challenge.