Fittest man races with timetable

18th June 1999 at 01:00
A PE and science teacher has beaten more than 60 of the country's top athletes, reports Karen Bayne

HYWEL Davies has a problem. Around a typical teaching day, he has to fit in a 10-mile cross-country run, a 40-minute cycle ride, weight-lifting, rowing practice and as many high-calorie health drinks and jumbo turkey rolls as possible.

It's a constant battle for Mr Davies, 24, who has successfully defended his title of the fittest man in Britain. Staff and pupils from the Harris high school, Rugby, have good-humouredly nicknamed him "big-head" and are astounded at his switch from mild-mannered PE and science teacher to the grim defender.

Earlier this month, they witnessed Mr Davies complete the gruelling 10-discipline event which included a mile of cycling, 50 press-ups and 800 metres on the treadmill in just over 15 minutes, winning him the title of Britain's fittest man for the second year running.

Although he beat 64 of Britain's elite athletes, including Army commandos and marathon runners, Mr Davies is not contented.

"I'm going to win this title at least two more times but I need more of a push now to do something else," he said.

He is already training for the British Indoor Rowing Championships in November, and hopes to compete in the 150-mile Sahara Desert Marathon next March.

Mr Davies, who is 5ft 9ins and weighs 11 st 3lbs, puts his success down to the understanding of physiology he gleaned from his first-class honours degree in physical education.

"It really isn't about spending hours training. Even if there was someone fitter than me - which I doubt - I could beat them psychologically because I understand my body and know how to focus."

Surprisingly, Mr Davies admits that when he was at school he was "quite unfit, unable and unconfident at sports and I didn't get on with the PE teacher."

Despite his family's sportiness, he avoided all team sports and competition until mountain-bike racing at 17.

In contrast, he encourages his pupils to keep fit for life, and plans to complete a PhD thesis to spread his knowledge about physical fitness.

"There are more computers, videos and everything since I was at school and you can see that a lot of children are not fit.

"I want everyone to see how much better they feel when they do some real exercise, and gain the confidence to play in team and individual sports. If I was just interested in training people to win, I would be a coach."

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