Haverhill policeman Simon Bourne retires after winning Decaman

Simon Bourne - Decaman World Champion 2012

Simon Bourne - Decaman World Champion 2012

A policeman who achieved his ‘destiny’ to win one of the world’s toughest races has now retired from competing to focus on coaching.

A policeman who achieved his ‘destiny’ to win one of the world’s toughest races has now retired from competing to focus on coaching.

Simon Bourne, 49, won the Decatriathlon race in Monterray, Mexico, last month, beating American Kale Polan, 29, by 18 hours.

The gruelling 12 day race saw Simon swim 24 miles – further than The Channel from Dover to Calais – then cycle a 1,120 mile – more than from Land’s End to John O’Groats – and finally run 262 miles – equal to ten marathons.

“There’s nothing in my world now that’s worth doing as going to Decaman was the pinnacle, that’s where I always said my destiny lay,” he said.

“You have to go there with the mindset of finishing the race because of everything that’s thrown at you, so to win it I’m quite happy now to sit back as it couldn’t get better than this.

“Racing-wise now I’m content as I always wanted to do Decaman, so to win it is the final piece of my jigsaw.

“The whole reason I wanted to go to Monterray is because this is the original Decaman, a tough course in tough temperatures of a hundred plus, and it’s mentally tough as well as physically.”

The task of completing the race was not just physical but mental, as the competitors did not race off around the country but instead completed 760 lengths of an Olympic sized swimming pool before cycling 1,800 laps of a track and then running around it 420 times.

“By the time I got into the pool I was fed up with training and wanted to race, and when I pushed off I had practiced and practiced a steady pace of swimming, and I noticed straight away I was naturally quicker than the others already.

“Straight away I thought ‘I’ll nail this’, and it went to plan and didn’t seem that laborious.

“Personally, when I started the bike stage I thought i was going to win as mentally I’m a very strong cyclist and will keep going until there’s blood coming out of me.”

Simon usually slept only for an hour a day, the longest nap lasting for less than four hours.

He averaged around 200 miles a day on the bike and maintained a healthy gap between himself and Kale Polan, whose strength was cycling.

Simon was supported throughout the race by best friend Pete Golding, who was with him throughout the race.

“I came off the bike and ran as far as I could before I was falling asleep on my feet.

“I wanted to do a half marathon straight away and did that but then couldn’t physically stay awake as I’d been racing for 21 hours.

“We decided I’d do three marathons in the first 30 hours to put pressure on Kale and it worked because I lapped him and lapped him and beat him by 18 hours.

“When I crossed the line I was pretty euphoric – it was just relief as it was physically and mentally draining that I just wanted to lie down and sleep.

“I went out there to win it – I said to Pete I’m not going there to waste two weeks, I’m going there to win it.”

Simon won the race and was awarded the Decaman title on his birthday.

He decided to compete in the Decatriathlon seven years ago, and has completed around a hundred marathons, first completing the 26.2 miles at Brussels in 1989.

Simon has raced London three times and did his first triathlon at Reading in 1990.

In 2004 he represented Team GB at the duathlon European Championship (run bike run) in Italy and then competed at the World Championsip in Denmark in triathlon.

His first Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle and 26.2 mile run) was in 2007, and two years later he set a new British record competing in the Ultraman event in Canada.

“All the other steps I have done have been quite relative and a natural progression, but the step from Ultraman to Decaman was massive and not many people make it.”

He has often fitted training around his policing, such as running or cycling from his home in Bury St Edmunds to Haverhill Police Station for his shift.

“My theory is that it’s ideal to run at night as the roads are quiet so you can focus with no distraction.

“That proved invaluable in Mexico as I was doing a lot of running through the night and I was used to it.”

Simon will now be able to spend more time with girlfriend Lucy Percival, 29.

He will now focus on his coaching, helping to develop other people into endurance athletes.

His website is www.simonbournecoaching.com

“Psychologists have said that when you’re physically exhausted you’re only 50 per cent of the way there, it’s just the mind protecting the body.

“From Decaman I’ve seen just what we can do on little or no sleep and the distances we can cover.

“Most people would say this is not possible but I’ve just learnt that it is.

“I say to people you have to give up a lot to do it, but it is achievable.”

For all the latest sport see Thursday’s (November 29) Echo.




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