Chain Reaction Cycles


Mark Harvey

📁 OTC Triathletes 🕔12.March 2017










What inspired you to try a triathlon?

I always suspected I’d look great in lycra and so it has proved… ‎other lesser reason was that once my glittering football career was cruelly ended by injury two years ago after a knee operation and back problem (…*violins), I needed a new challenge.

Where and when was your first triathlon? What was the distance?

Stena line sprint triathlon sept 2014. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing. A friend suggested we do it 6 weeks beforehand and I thought ‘why not’. Did the swim leg breast stroke (I couldn’t swim), did the cycle leg on my mountain bike (not advisable),tried to put my tshirt on over my cycle helmet in transition….I could go on! Really enjoyed it though, ‎so did a few more races after that, training with a mate then took the plunge and joined the club.

Do you have a favourite race?

I’m a relative newbie to this but I have enjoyed some races more than others. Being originally from Derry ‘hi’ , I’ve done the Liam Ball Triathlon twice now and love the atmosphere as loads of family there to cheer me on. The Firmus City of Derry race was also good but the 6.50am start for a sprint distance (due to tides) was grim. For scenery and a challenge, Gartan Lake in Donegal is really worth doing. Flat, calm and beautiful lake for the swim, tough bike course and a run belonging more to an adventure race but overall a great day out. It was my first Olympic distance and I loved it, plus they had loads of sandwiches afterward. I like my grub.

One piece of advice you would give a triathlon newbie

Buy elasticated laces for your trainers! Best invention ever. Also, run faster at the finish to get the best sandwiches at the post race spread.

Seriously, though, you can always achieve more than you realize if you push yourself and believe. I only learnt to swim properly the year I joined the club. I genuinely couldn’t swim one length front crawl and so had a few lessons with an instructor and haven’t looked back. I’m no Michael Phelps but now doing around 80-100 lengths twice a week at training and within 18 months of ditching the arm bands did the Groomsport Half Iron man in my first season with Olympian in Sept 2016. I never would have thought it possible as I vividly remember those first few swim lessons when I was swallowing water and feeling pretty demoralised….ha, actually that sounds like the thursday night swim at Olympia.

Where’s your favourite place to ride your bike?

‎Donegal. We have a caravan up there and I always bring the bike. I did the Inishowen 100 last summer and loved it. It was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done but that peninsula is stunningly beautiful as well as having the best Guinness, seafood chowder, 99’s and tayto cheese and onion anywhere.

Ironman – Yes/No/Again?

Heart says yes. I’ve done a half iron man and enjoyed the challenge but head and, more pertinently, my knee says no. Not supposed to be doing longer events.

What do you do in the real world, outside triathlon?

‎Father to 3 gorgeous, lively and fun girls who clearly don’t get their looks from me, Niamh (7), Olivia (6) and Sarah (4). Love the local races so they can come and cheer me on. Oldest is turning 8 soon and wants to do a triathlon so maybe the club should have a junior section! They can all swim better than me already. Work wise, I’m a Solicitor working for the Health and Social Care sector, doing mainly Defence Medical Negligence work.

What’s next for you in 2017?

I’ve never gone on a roller coaster upside down nor had a McDonald’s. Maybe this could be the year…..?
Haven’t fully decided yet. Truth is who knows, last year was my first season with the club and my intention was to do a few races. I ended up doing 4 sprint distances plus 3 duathlons, an Olympic distance triathlon, a 100 mile cycle event and a Half Iron Man as well as several other swimming and running events….Maybe I should do an Iron Man, ha!


Share this article with friends

Similar Articles

Christen McMaster

Christen McMaster

                What inspired you to try a triathlon? I kind of fell into triathlon via a friend. I was doing some spin

Read More