Louth triathlete Martin Ball has dedicated his international call-up to his family after years of hard work and sacrifice got its ultimate reward.
Martin has been selected to represent Great Britain’s age group squad at the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships in Chicago, in September.
The 37-year-old has also been shortlisted for inclusion in the British squad for the European Half Iron Distance races in Austria, next summer.
He said: “My first and over-riding feeling to be selected was relief.
“My family have always been a tremendous support, and they have given hours and ours up to support me. The countless early starts, the long drives, standing in the rain for hours at events, and also the financial sacrifices we make.
“It has always been my aim to make them proud and repay their faith by doing my absolute best.
“Hopefully this goes some way to doing that because there are plenty of times when you are sat on the bike, miles from home, feeling guilty you aren’t there like any normal husband or dad, even though they always reassure me its fine.”
Martin is the reigning East Midland Sprint Distance Series champion, having secured the title in Woodhall Spa last month.
But despite the title and call-up, the Louth Triathlon Club member is well aware now is not the time to rest on any laurels.
“I would love to turn up, race my heart out against the best in the world and represent my club and country with pride,” he added.
“I hope the first result will give me something to build on and go back and improve in future International races.
“I want to just keep improving and give it everything.”
At the world championships, Martin will compete over the full Olympic distance, beginning with a 1500m swim before climbing aboard his bike for a 25-mile cycle and then finishing with a 6.25-mile run.
Before that, Martin, a qualified triathlon coach, competes at the Outlaw Iron Distance event in Nottingham at the end of July where he hopes to secure his spot in the Age Group GB team for the Iron Distance World Championships in 2016.
This involves a far more punishing race regime of 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle and 26.2 full marathon run.
So what drives him to push himself to, and beyond, the limit of endurance?
“I just love it; the atmosphere, the adrenalin, the camaraderie, the rivalry, and the friends that I’ve made,” 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 talent locally and help them go as far as possible.”
But for Martin personally, this now requires help.
Having self-funded events, travel and equipment, he now needs corporate sponsorship to compete at world class level.
If anyone feels they could help, or would simply like to talk triathlon, email firstname.lastname@example.org