When Liam Walker lines up to compete in the Zofingen Powerman World Championships in Switzerland this weekend (Sept 1/2) it will mark the latest success in a career that’s going from strength to strength.
Originally from Barrow where his family still live but now working in Sheffield, Liam studied coaching and sports performance at the University of Cumbria but what is remarkable is that his athletic prowess has been achieved in just two years.
“I was always active as a child but practically gave up on sport about 4 years ago, just playing an odd game of cricket and 6 a side football," Liam said. "I started this journey in May 2015 after entering the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) 100 day step challenge and when my mates forced me to do a Parkrun, began spinning classes, bought a bike, slowly learned to swim and became accidentally hooked. I didn't believe I’d start running again, never mind combining three sports as well as training anywhere between 14-25 hours a week, but I fell for the sport.”
A top ten finish in the Sheffield half marathon spurred Liam on and when he won the Rother Valley Duathlon in February after coming first in all disciplines there was no stopping him. Qualifying for Switzerland was tough and technical problems with goggles at the Leger Man Half Ironman almost ended his attempt.
“I qualified for Switzerland after entering (and winning) my very first half distance Triathlon, ('half Ironman') in 4hrs 3mins – a 1900m swim, 84k cycle ride and 18.5km run,” Liam said. “I lost 4 or 5 minutes after breaking my goggles before the second lap of the swim and had to get a replacement pair! I went hard on the bike and hoped my legs would last on the run. They did - just!”
Now working at the University of Sheffield Liam has his sights set on the peaks of Switzerland but says he owes his success to the skills learned closer to home.
“To have reached this level within 2 years is incredible and is testament to the group of people I train with at the University of Sheffield Tri Club and the amazing coaching experience gained on my degree at the University of Cumbria,” Liam said. “As a self-coached athlete I have relied on the expertise taught by the first class staff in the University of Cumbria's sports department, who passed on how to critique and analyse using the appropriate sports research.”
Follow Liam's progress on Twitter (L_Walker011) LWsponsors11@gmail.com