MICHAEL HEMSWORTH hated running at school – but he now finds himself heading to Denmark to represent the Great Britain duathlon team before jetting off to Australia for the World Triathlon Grand Final in September.

The 34-year-old York native took the third qualifying spot at the Cardiff Triathlon on Sunday to book his place on the Gold Coast on Thursday, September 13 at the sprint distance age group finals.

Before that, on Sunday, July 8, he will compete against entrants from across the globe as one of 11 GB athletes in his age group, 30-34 sprint male, in the ITU Multisport World Championships duathlon.

Hemsworth, who attended both Easingwold and St Peter’s schools, joined his friends on a 10-mile muddy obstacle course four years ago and, despite the gruelling training sessions he endured, was inspired to pursue the activity further.

With an impressive CV that now comprises finishing third in his age group at the Leeds ITU Sprint Triathlon earlier this month, and a 10-kilometre personal best of 39 minutes five seconds from this year’s York Road Race League, Hemsworth now trains with York Knavesmire Harriers, the Tadcaster T3 Triathlon Team and Wakefield Triathlon Club while being coached by Tri-PT Coaching.

Hemsworth said: “I signed up with some friends to the Yorkshire Warrior in memory of another friend.

“They made me do 3km a few months before as a bit of training and I could barely get around it without thinking I was going to collapse.

“I hated it, but I started doing it a bit more to see how many different challenges I could complete.”

He completed his first sprint duathlon – an event combining a 5km run, 20km cycling and a further 2.5km run – last year and received automatic qualification for the championships in Fyn when he finished the Bedford Sprint in March with a time of one hour, one minute and 59 seconds.

Hemsworth is one of more than 100 GB competitors in all at the championships which also includes races such as the Aquathlon, Aquabike and Long Distance and Cross Triathlons, plus ‘elite’ categories in each competition.

But, as an athlete who emerged from such reluctant beginnings, the question must be asked – is he looking forward to it?

“Absolutely,” Hemsworth said. “It’s something that, even when I first heard about there being a pathway to Great Britain, I never thought I’d achieve.

“I’m really excited to be there and my aim is for a personal best performance, hopefully finishing as high in the placings as possible.

“If you’d said to me four years ago when I did that first run that I’d be racing for Great Britain one day, I’d have laughed. I’m really looking forward to it.”