WINNING Scottish titles in cross country and triathlon have made Elgin schoolboy Cameron Main’s sporting year a memorable one.
Now the super-fit Elgin Academy pupil has a British Championship podium place and future international competitions in his sights as he strives for more glory.
Triathlon – which combines running, cycling and swimming – is now the chosen sport for Main (15), though he intends to enter more athletics races when he gets older.
Last month, he won the Scottish youth triathlon championships in Glasgow, less than a week after finishing third in the national junior title race.
He also came first in two Scottish level triathlons at Bishopbriggs and Strathclyde in May, and ran for Scotland in the Mini London Marathon over three miles in April.
In total, he has competed in 15 major athletics or triathlon events this year, travelling the length and breadth of Britain in the process.
He admits he wouldn’t be a Scottish champion taking part in high level events but for his parents Russell and Tammy, and the help of sponsorship money from Sports Aid Scotland.
“Without my mum and dad, and even my sister coming to support me at some events, I wouldn’t be where I am just now,” he said.
“They have really helped me a lot, and without that I would probably still be a beginner triathlete doing the local races, and not winning Scottish championships.
“I’m also supported by Sports Aid Scotland, who got money from the Robertson Trust to give me £1,000 at the start of the year. With triathlon being such an expensive sport, and so much travel to do and equipment to pay for, that has really helped towards my training and competitions.”
Main is looking to promote himself with more local businesses in an effort to get more sponsorship, ahead of the biggest competition of his career so far.
In two weeks he heads down to Liverpool to take part in the British Triathlon Championships, a British Super Series event which could really put him on the UK sporting map if he is successful.
Throughout this month, to prepare for his big title attempt, he has joined the Triathlon Scotland squad in Stirling for four weeks of full-time training at a state-of-the-arts facility.
The Moray youngster is a member of the Scottish Foundation Squad for younger athletes, but was selected to train with the higher level Development and Podium Squads in recognition of the potential he is showing.
“The facilities are brilliant, with a 50 metre swimming pool, a proper running track and really good cycling routes all around Stirling,” he said. “Training with the higher squads means I’ll be able to push myself that bit more, so it’s going to be so much more beneficial.”
Having won the Scottish youth triathlon title by a margin of one-and-a-half minutes, Main is in great shape for a strong performance in Liverpool.
“It’s the big one for me and I’m setting my goals high. I really hope I can get as close to the podium as possible.”
Running is his strongest pursuit, as shown earlier this year when he clinched the Scottish Inter-District Cross Country Championships title in Edinburgh.
However, he feels both his swimming and cycling abilities are improving month-on-month, making him more of the stronger all-round athlete he needs to be to excel at triathlon.
All of his progress has been made despite suffering from Osgood-Schlatter Disease, a painful knee condition common in young adolescents where the bone pulls on the muscle because it is growing faster. Doctors recommend that he continues cycling and swimming but takes rests from running as much as possible.
His weekly training programme in Moray involves at least eight hours of swimming, around 200 kilometres of cycling and a further 35k of running, a tough schedule which he has been combining with his school studies.
However, he continues to excel in his sport and is aiming to reach international standard next year.
“My goal is to race for GB at European level one day. I’m not strong enough to do that this year and compete with the best English athletes, but maybe next year.”