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UCDon support student athlete’s journey to represent Great Britain

Posted: 11 March 2024

Jake Higham, a 27-year-old BSc (Hons) Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences Top-Up student recently received sponsorship from University Campus Doncaster (UCDon) and DN Colleges Group (DNCG) as he embarks on a journey to represent Great Britain in the Standard Distance Duathlon World Championships in Townsville, Australia later this year.

Jake’s selection for the prestigious multi-discipline event came after months of dedicated training to complete the 10km run – 40km bike – 5km run distances which make up the standard distance duathlon were capped off by an impressive performance in a highly competitive race in June 2023. Racing against both current and aspiring Great British athletes, Jake placed within the top 4, earning him the opportunity to don the Great Britain colours on the international stage.

Having grown up with a passion for sports, Jake’s journey took an unexpected turn in November 2021 when he suffered a broken ankle during a football match. This setback forced him to reconsider his athletic career and venture into unfamiliar territory but after a year of recovery, he embraced triathlons and duathlons, participating in local races and gradually making a mark in the sport locally and nationally.

Despite being still relatively new to the world of triathlons and duathlons, Jake’s dedication and hard work have propelled him to represent his country on the global stage. His journey hasn’t been without challenges, as balancing a pat-time degree studies with his full-time educational role at Preston College alongside multiple daily training sessions requires unwavering determination.

“I’ve a couple of races coming up prior to the World Championships and I’m hoping to hit a new PB in the 5km and 10km distances, but training is going well, the most important thing is to stay fit throughout winter and into the summer. I’m in the gym whenever I can and hitting a lot of injury prevention exercises, making sure that I’m strength training to accommodate my running/cycling. I’m putting a lot of the theory I’ve learnt on the degree course into practice so having that extra knowledge has been beneficial.”

Darryn Stamp, Deputy Head of School for Health, Education and Sport at DNCG added “Jake is an inspiration for aspiring athletes looking to overcome their challenges, step out of their comfort zones, and pursue their dreams in the world of sports. His resilience and determination to achieve his goals, whether that be during training, at a competitive event or even in an assignment, is clear for all to see. We’re behind him every step of the way and can’t wait to see him take his place on the international stage later this year.”

UCDon and DNCG, recognising Jake’s dedication and potential, has proudly stepped in as a sponsor to support him in his pursuit of excellence. The sponsorship will provide crucial assistance in covering some of the costs associated with this prestigious international competition, all of which is entirely self-funded by selected competitors.

“Sponsorship, no matter how big or small the donation, is vital to helping me get on that plane to Australia. It’s entirely self-funded and we receive no grants, so all donations get me one step closer to getting on that plane to Australia this August.”

Still looking to obtain additional funding for his dream of representing Great Britain in Australia, Jake has created a GoFundMe page to cover the expenses associated with the World Championships, including flights, accommodation, international race entry fees, travel insurance, bike insurance, GB team kit, and international race insurance. As Age Group athletes receive no government funding, Jake is reaching out to the community for support through sponsorship, funds, and donations.

To contribute to Jake’s journey and support his cause, you can visit his GoFundMe page.