IMI sponsors student in triathlon

On 2 June 2024, Mathematical Sciences student and IMI Research Assistant, Noel Howley, is being sponsored by IMI to take part in the Cotswold 133 Middle Distance Triathlon at Ashton Keynes Water Park.  The race, more commonly known “Ironman 70.3”, consists of a 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride and a 21km run.

Having suffered with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) for around 6 years in his teens, Noel was bed bound and unable to train or compete in sports.  He subsequently recovered using a “strict military style routine” for even the simplest tasks such as putting on his shoes, which helped him get his life back in order.  Slowly, the step-by-step approach led him to walking around the house and other minor goals, before re-educating himself on the schooling that he had missed due to his illness.  Thankfully, as his energy returned, so did his ability to learn and focus.

At this time, due to low attendance, Noel’s school made the decision that he could only complete 4 Foundation level GCSE exams.  He says “I was aware that I was mentally and physically ‘coming back to life’…but yet in no mans land in the face of my future prospects”.  Having been denied A-Levels within his home county, he went to the next county and interviewed at Brockenhurst for his strongest subjects: Maths, Physics and Computer Science. Noel says initially Brockenhurst predicted his grade would be bottom of the class, but after pushing himself physically each day, it wasn’t long before he was predicted A* and recommended to consider university.

After successfully completing his schooling, Noel was accepted to study Mathematics, Statistics, and Data Science at the University of Bath and is now in his final year. With no significant symptoms of CFS remaining, and still consistently training, Noel found long distance running and triathlon via university clubs.  Here he noticed a new sense of purpose within his training, which became more fulfilling.

Noel has now completed several dozen events including half marathons, full marathons, Ironman triathlons and is looking forward to Cotswold 133 at the beginning of June.  Noel says “I believe there is great strength in voluntarily facing challenge in life – either physically, as was the case with the training and rehab, or mentally as was the case by choosing to pursue further education“.

All of the IMI team wish Noel every success on 2 June!