A Ssunderland businessman is proving a success on the track as well as the boardroom.
Gavin Richardson, MD of Opus Building Services, has recently returned from representing Great Britain in the European Triathlon Championships in Austria.
Richardson represented GBR at the European Championship in Kitzbuhel, part of the world triathlon series, an event he had spent months training for.
“I train every day, normally completing a 40km bike ride before work and then going to the gym after work,” he said.
“But I increased the training in preparation for Kitzbuhel, where I had a fantastic time.”
British Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee was the overall winner in Kitzbuhel in the elite race, claiming his fifth victory there.
Richardson competed in the 35-39 age categories and came 25th out of 55 in his age group.
To qualify for the GBR age group team, he had to achieve a set time at one of the three national qualification events.
He recently competed at a Stockton duathlon in his new age group of 40-44, and is hoping his high percentage rating will lead to qualification at the European duathlon in 2015.
“For 2015 events, I’m moving from the 35-39 age group to the 40-44 but I’m getting stronger and fitter and I’m hoping to qualify for future European events,” he said.
The triathlon involves swimming typically 1.5km then cycling 40km before running 10km. The duathlon involves only running and cycling.
Richardson started competing in 2011, wanting exercise having had his head stuck in books while completing an MBA at Newcastle University Business School.
“Triathlons are perfect for zoning out. I love the training, I really put the effort in and then I’m left with the post-exercise endorphins, leaving me totally relaxed,” he explained.
“I’m sure keeping fit helps me with Opus - small percentages in triathlons can have a significance on the race result.
“This translates into the business world - work hard and results will come.”
Indeed, since setting up Opus Building Services the firm has recorded year-on-year growth.
The Boldon-based business was set up by Richardson and Ian King in 2006 and now has almost 100 members of staff.
Specialising in electrical and mechanical engineering, providing heating and plumbing services across a range of sectors, the company now turns over around £8m a year.
When not in work Richardson is well supported by his family, wife Jo and daughters Camille, 10, and Evie, eight, in his training exploits. He trains with the Coalfields Racing Team, a local multisport racing team that Opus Building Services sponsors.
He added: “The girls have both completed junior triathlons – they love it and train regularly.”