Simon Lindley tells about overcoming cancer and taking up triathlon
My name is Simon Lindley, I am a tutor in health and safety and industrial skills in Pembrokeshire. I am 50 years old and for most of my life an active rugby player up until about 10 years ago. 9 years ago I got diagnosed with testicular cancer which had spread through my body including my lymph nodes, spine and lungs. Many surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy later and I am thankfully cancer free and 18 months ago I decided I needed to regain my fitness and, realising I was too old for rugby (the knocks hurt more), I decided upon the gentle sport of triathlon!!
Now I love training, all through my playing days I rarely missed a training session and also did my old strength and conditioning work alongside club commitments so joining my local tri club (Pembrokeshire triathlon club, club of the year 2019) and partaking in the training schedule they offered was the way forward. I quickly realised I had a lot to learn and with the expert guidance of our coaches (Nathan Miles, participation coach of the year 2019 to name just one) within the club I have learned new techniques in all aspects of triathlon. My swimming has gone from strength to strength where I am now swimming at distances and times I thought impossible at my age, my cycling is slowly becoming better and better and my running times are attaining PB’s regularly.
But it’s not all about the great pace, times and distances. Triathlon is also about inclusivity, friendships and camaraderie, something which is evident, not only within my club but across clubs as well. At present I am a relative newcomer to triathlon, this year was my first year competing and I managed 3 sprint tri’s and 1 sprint duathlon alongside a couple of longer runs including Cardiff half marathon, but my passion and enthusiasm for the sport led me to volunteering for coaching and as such the club sent me on a coaching course with Welsh Triathlon.
Staged over 2 weekends its a great course with knowledgeable and enthusiastic instructors, a well set up schedule for the weekends and a great friendly atmosphere. I learned a lot of new ideas and techniques that would help me along the way as a coach within my club and have already delivered a couple of mentored sessions which received good feedback and I enjoyed thoroughly. Hopefully I can get a regular coaching slot alongside the more experienced coaches and move upward through the coach accreditation scheme as time allows.
Triathlon made me realise that, even an overweight (not any more), middle aged ex rugby playing cancer survivor can partake in a great, friendly, participation sport like triathlon so if I can give a bit back and use my skills, knowledge and experience to not only bring on the next generation of youngsters but encourage the older, less competitive athletes to have a go and race with a smile on their faces then I will coach with a smile on my face.