One Minute, One Mile, One Step at a Time

According to Runner’s World, ‘One thing all experts will agree on is that it will take about 16 to 20 weeks to train for a marathon’. A the time of writing this, with the 2024 Outlaw Half taking place on the weekend of May 19, 18 weeks away, James Bayley is bang on target with his training. 

And with committing to complete a triathlon – full or half – sitting happily among the most common New Year’s resolutions, we know James won’t be training alone. That said, we wonder how many people out there have only one goal with their tri-training – to complete it with a smile. 

 “That’s all I want out of the Outlaw Half this year. To finish with a smile on my face,” reiterated James. Dad of two, and Louth local, this year’s competition will be the second time James has dipped his toe into the world of competitive Tri events. 

“Last year, I definitely didn’t. I hurt. I was tired. I wanted to go home. So I got back on my bike and did just that. But this year, it will be different. Following the half, I plan on stepping up to the full event in July too.”

Wake Up and Smell Your Future

This may not seem like an unusual story at all. Until you consider that James at his heaviest was 33-stone, constantly bullied at school, battling depression and fearing for his life. In a constant vicious cycle of comfort eating to absolute excess, the doctors stepped in. Telling James that unless things changed, he may not live until his 30th birthday. 

James’ story is one that will resonate with the people out there who strive to be active but don’t know where to begin. The ones who look to the world of ‘fitness’ or ‘activity’ and feel nothing but dread at the thought of entering it for fear of rejection. 

The world of fitness can seem like an intimidating place. A place where perfection reigns high and anything else simply isn’t accepted. Plenty of moves are being made to shatter this perception, one that in all honesty, James held too. And one he decided to face head-on following his doctor’s worrying prognosis. 

Just Take One Step

“One day Mum came home and there was a push bike in the house,” said James. “That was it. I started with one mile and just kept adding another, and another, and another. Initially, I hid myself away, from the noise and other people so I could concentrate on my progress. A friend was training at the Skegness Tri Club so I gave that a go and loved it. When Lockdown happened moved to Louth. I’m not a person who likes change, it really challenges me; my body reacts physically with a tick. But as it turns out, the move was the best decision I’ve ever made. The club is absolutely a place of inclusion, where everyone lifts each other up. 

“I may have gone from 33-stone to 15, but I don’t have the body of an athlete. People can often feel like they ‘don’t belong’ somewhere when in reality this couldn’t be further from the truth – at least that’s the case at Tri Club. They want you there, they want to see you taking that step because they know how hard it is to do, and no one cares who you are or what you look like.”

After just a few sessions of connecting with Louth Tri Club,  James felt comfortable, and as a result, went from strength to strength. Now physically stronger, and mentally more robust than he has ever been, with confidence that continues to grow, over the 12 months leading up to his first Outlaw Half, James trained consistently, knowing that dedication would pay off.


“Motivation is hard. It’s still hard for me and certainly isn’t there every day. But the habit now is. Motivation isn’t a given. I’ve wanted to quit so many times, but I always go back to what I call the Cool Runnings moment, I tell myself ‘We have to finish the race’. If I have any moment of doubt, this is what is going around in my head. On days when I’m struggling, I take it back to basics and just get myself through the session, the workout, the last mile.

“When it’s tough, not enough can be said for the people you choose to surround yourself with. The value that lies in them and their support is priceless. People don’t realise how motivating and driving that is. To hear people you don’t really know cheering you on, celebrating your wins. You can’t accomplish anything without a support network and that’s exactly what Louth Tri Club has given me.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover is the motto here. The Club is one of the most accepting places I’ve been to. My advice to anyone struggling to start is to not get hung up on what you think other people’s expectations are, or what they’re thinking about you because you won’t have even entered their thought process. Instead, focus on yourself, and think back to something you’ve always wanted to do as a kid. Hold onto whatever that is and don’t let anything get in your way.” 

Inspired – Get Involved?

WHO: Louth Tri Club, Louth

WHERE: Members meet at the Meridian Leisure Centre before sessions

FIND OUT MORE: https://www.louthtriclub.co.uk/ 

Find more triathlon clubs in the East Midlands here

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