A triathlete who grew up in Woodhall Spa has qualified and been selected to represent Great Britain at the International Triathlon Union World Championships in Chicago, USA, this summer.
Thirty-seven-year-old Martin Ball has lived in the broader local area all his life and currently resides in Louth.
Several years of hard work, dedication and sacrifice have paid off and he will represent the Great Britain National Age Group Team over the standard Olympic Distance of 1500m swim, 25-mile cycle and 6.25-mile run in September.
On hearing of his selection, Martin said it might sound daft but his over-riding feeling was one of relief.
He said: “My family have always been a tremendous support, and the hours and hours they have given up to support me, the countless revoltingly early starts, me getting up at 5am to train and waking everyone up, the long drives, standing in the rain for hours at events, and then also the financial sacrifices we make as a family, it has always been my aim to make them proud and repay their faith in me by doing my absolute best.”
He has also been shortlisted for inclusion in the GB squad at the European Half Ironman distance races in Austria next summer. He is also competing at the Outlaw Ironman event in Nottingham at the end of this month with a view to securing a place in the Age Group GB team for the World Championships next year.
Martin said he would be giving it his all in Chicago: “I really just want to give the best account of myself that I can. I would love to turn up, race my heart out against the best in the world and represent my club and country with pride.
“Off the back of that first result, it will give me something to build on and go back and improve in future international races and, as with national competition, to just keep improving.”
Martin is the current 2015 East Midland Sprint Distance Series champion, having secured his victory and title on home turf in Woodhall Spa last month.
As well as competing, Martin is also a qualified and registered coach and heavily involved in the development of Louth Triathlon Club.
He said: “It’s just a great sport and I would love to take it as far as I possibly can, and bring that race experience back to the club to pass on through my coaching there and hopefully find more younger talent locally.”
Martin’s ethos has always been that dedication and training hard generates results – not expensive kit. With this is mind, over the last 10 months he has begun an online blog and website which is reaching 150,000 independent views already, of which 5,000 are regular subscribers to his posts.
As well as having a good following within the UK, the blog is also reaching people all over Europe, USA, Canada and Asia. The blog can be viewed at workingclasstriathlete.blogspot.co.uk
Although, as with most sportsmen, Martin self funds events, travel and equipment, he has now reached a level where without some form of corporate sponsorship it is not realistic for him to compete at world class level. He is therefore seeking support from local companies or businesses.
If anyone feels they can help, or would simply like to talk to Martin further about triathlon, sponsorship or anything else relevant, they can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org