Military charity to benefit from Bristol man’s first triathlon

Extreme fitness and determination are key to competing in a triathlon, and Bristol local Nick Pulman has these by the bucketful.

Bristol-born Nick (23) will need every ounce of both fitness and determination when he takes part in IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea – with all donations going to SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity – In July. This IRONMAN comprises a 1.2-mile loop swim around Swansea’s Prince of Wales Dock, a 56-mile bike ride from the city through The Mumbles and countryside then back to Swansea, and a double-loop 13.1-mile twin-loop run from Swansea back again to the Mumbles before returning.

His journey to this stage has been hard, but setbacks have not deterred him from pursuing this dream, nor another of one day joining the RAF as a Physical Training Instructor (PTI).

Currently an air-conditioning engineer, Nick – son of a Para, and with cousins in both the Royal Marines and the Paras – takes up the story, saying:

I applied for the RAF in 2019 because I wanted to challenge myself and change my life.

I was out of shape. I was drinking a lot. I was unhappy. I wanted to break the monotony of day-to-day life.

For whatever reason, some people give up; I knew that this wasn’t for me, so I turned my apathy into energy, changed my outlook, changed my lifestyle, and pushed myself and my body to new limits and found that fitness was my passion.

Up at 5am to train before work, and with another session after work and on Saturdays, Nick looked for an outlet for his new-found life and fitness. Inspired by his family’s rich military history, and UK Armed Forces’ role over generations, he set himself to becoming a PTI in the RAF.

However, he missed passing selection for this arduous role first time round in 2019, and just missed out on making the cut the next year. Lockdowns brought on by Covid curtailed the chance for a third application until recently, but suspected keratoconus – thinning of the cornea and irregularities of its surface – has put his plans on hold.

Nick, though, is clearly not a man to quit, and while his feet are firmly planted on the ground, he embodies the RAF motto Per ardua ad astra (“Through adversity to the stars”).

But why has Nick chosen SSAFA – the UK’s oldest tri-service charity – as the beneficiary of his IRONMAN 70.3 efforts?

it’s pretty simple, really,” he begins, “I’ve chosen to run for SSAFA because of my close ties to the military and being brought up in a military household, I know on a very personal level at how selfless serving in the military is, and I know the massive debt we owe serving personnel and veterans, people SSAFA helps day in, day out, just as it has for nearly 140 years.

So, I’m raising money for SSAFA because it gives me the chance to give something back to those who’ve served their country by giving to the charity that does so much for them, and though it’s going to be hard, as Ben Francia said: ‘Great things never come from the comfort zone’, so  I’m looking forward to pushing my body to the limits and for such a good cause.

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