Barry firefighter John Haskell prepares for Amazon adventure by completing triathlon!
A BARRY fire fighter has prepared for a trip to the Amazon - by cycling, swimming and running his way around London in his first triathlon!
Atlantic Ocean rower John Haskell - and firefighter colleagues Sean Ward, Pete Melhuish, Sean Lambert and Garry Allen - took part in the 2012 Virgin Active London Triathlon at the weekend.
The challenge comes ahead of John’s expedition to the Amazon which starts next week, where he will form one of the safety crew taking care of competitors in the Jungle Ultra Marathon.
In readiness for potential dealings with rainforest creatures, the dad-of-two and his colleagues even had an encounter with actor and singer David "The Hoff" Hasselhof.
And the crew raised more than £3,000 for Epilepsy research, to assist a competing friend whose son suffered badly with the condition when he was young.
John, 44, said: "The swim started well but I swallowed half of Victoria dock. "I had heard about the notorious rugby scrum style triathlon starts, but couldn't shout abuse at people because I had either an elbow, a foot, or half the dock in my mouth.
"Ten minutes in I needed a wee, but my wet suit was so tight I had to stop and tread water,” he added.
"They sent a kayak over because they thought I was in trouble - but I told him bluntly what I was up to, he gave me a dirty look, and paddled off!
"Luckily there weren’t many swimmers behind me as by now I’d realised I’d not done by far enough training, and nearly everyone had overtaken me!"
The 40-minute swim was followed by a 25 mile bike ride, in under one-and-a-half hours, followed by a run.
"Climbing off the bike I found my legs again revolted against me, and didn't want to loosen up on the run,” said John.
“Along with the back pain it nearly finished me, but I stopped for a few minutes here and there while I had a stretch.
"The rest of the run was strangely quite enjoyable. It was really satisfying ticking off the miles, and the support from people along the route was a real pick-me-up."
John completed the race in under three-and-a-half hours - and celebrated with a London pub crawl.
"I've always wanted to do an Ironman challenge, a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride followed by a full marathon, but I realise how much harder it would be - so maybe next year,” he added.
"This was a great target to aim for and get fit. "It was good timing too to be fit for the Amazon next week, as one of the stages will be a 50 mile trek through the rainforest."