Local lecturer to represent GB in Triathlon

Going from music lecturer to Cornish Triathlon Champion last year, Dan Solly from Lostwithiel has continued to excel in his races, which culminated in his selection for the GB Team at the Triathlon World Championships in Switzerland.

Dan Solly on an exercise bike with Julian Wills standing next to him

Often training three times a day, six days a week alongside his full-time role as Deputy Team Leader of Performing Arts at Truro College, Dan has worked very hard to become one of the 20 athletes in his age category to be representing Great Britain at the world championships.

“It was absolutely amazing,” said Dan, describing what it was like when he read the email from British Triathlon. “I just couldn’t believe it, I was so excited. I didn’t think I had qualified as both qualification races were exceptionally hard, competing against Olympians of old – there was an Olympic swimmer who had become a triathlete and carried on into the age group series so I was competing against people who had been doing this as a profession their whole lives. These are the fastest, most powerful triathletes in the world.

“It was an amazing experience. After all that hard work and all that training to realise I’d finally achieved this. I was thinking whether there was anything else I could do that would be greater than a world championship and there isn’t. For where I am, being an amateur, it’s as far as it goes so I’m over the moon.”

Dan manages his extensive training programme in part thanks to the support of the Health, Wellbeing and Sport programme that is available at the College.

“The College has been really supportive. The Health, Wellbeing and Sport programme is fantastic for people like me. So many of my colleagues as well are involved in the lunchtime sessions such as the circuits and spinning sessions and I can see the benefits that they’re gaining from it as well.

“Without Julian coaching and guiding me, I couldn’t be where I am now, it’s as simple as that. I mean I was fit before I started training properly but without specific, knowledgeable coaching then I would still be at the same fitness level as I was before. This has improved my fitness to such an extent, it has taught me about what my body is capable of and it’s pushed me harder. It’s been incredibly motivational,” said Dan.

Dan’s coach Julian Wills, who is the Health, Wellbeing and Sport Coordinator at the College and who also coaches elite athletes outside of work, was equally blown away by Dan’s achievement, saying: “He’s an inspiration to a lot of people out there.  A lot of members of staff have been inspired by what he’s achieved. I am absolutely delighted for Dan and his family. Dan’s children have been inspired by dad and they are now competing in triathlon as well. It’s brilliant!”