Former Barnard Castle School student Jacob Shannon will be part of the Team GB squad taking part in the gruelling World Triathlon Championships, in Cozumel, Mexico.
The 19-year-old, of Middleton Tyas, near Richmond, is currently appealing for sponsors as he prepares for the top-flight contest.
Jacob is currently running and cycling in winter clothing to help adapt to the 30 degrees of heat he is expecting to face when he competes in Mexico, on September 18, a trial of endurance involving a 1,500m swim, 40km cycle ride and 10km run.
Jacob was born with haemophilia B, a chronic condition that prevents blood clotting. He currently uses an approved medication that prevents internal bleeding in the event of sustaining an injury.
“It meant that when I was at Barnard Castle School I couldn’t really play rugby or football so I took up swimming and cross country,” he said. “The teachers were very supportive and I was swimming team captain and won the Barney Bash and Run cross-country contests.”
He left school in 2015 and is currently reading a degree in sport and exercise science at the University of Leeds where next year he will be triathlon club captain. He also trains at the Leeds Triathlon Centre, alongside the Brownlee brothers.
“The Brownlees really are an inspiration and I was determined to qualify for Team GB this year, which I did at an event in Cambridgeshire,” he said. “I came second in my age group so the aim for Mexico is to be the fastest of the under 20s.”
Barnard Castle School headmaster Alan Stevens said: “It is great to hear of former pupils continuing their success after leaving here, both academically and in elite sport.
“Jacob’s commitment has never waivered and he is certainly developing into an extremely talented triathlete, inspired by the success of the Brownlee brothers and the dedication shown by Team GB athletes.”
The trip is expected to cost Jacob around £4,000 and he is looking for sponsors. “Any help would be really appreciated,” he said.
Anyone interested in helping can contact him at email@example.com.