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The Quadrathlete Dentist

If you throw the word quadrathlon into a conversation, the normal reaction from friends is a grimace.

It's understandable. I never imagined the description "quadrathlete" beside my own name. It seems quite an impossible thing, pushing your body over consecutive hours, swimming, running, kayaking and cycling.

Although I was fairly sporty before, playing rugby at university, I only rediscovered the kick you get from a physical challenge when I ran up Ben Y Vrackie, a well-known Corbett in Perthshire.

Prior to that, personal fitness challenges had fallen off the priority list after I started my own dental practice, Infinityblu Dental Care in Pitlochry. With three young children, family comes first too. In time, you get better at grabbing training windows, whether running or cycling after setting the alarm for 6am or headtorch runs at night after the kids are in bed.

If you are a risk taker, a quadrathlon is within reach. Although there is a lot of physical exertion, most of the challenge plays out in the mind.

When running or cycling, the lactic acid build-up in the legs can make the pain unbearable. At that point, every muscle feels as if it is ready to give out. The highs, though, are the huge emotions at the finish. It is quite a bizarre feeling at the end of a race, and difficult to describe.

I'm currently planning build-up training and events before the Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon, one of the toughest day challenges in the British Isles. Basically, this quadrathlon entails swimming Loch Tay for 1.5km then running seven Munros, including Ben Lawers and the Ptarmigan Ridges. After that, it's 11km in a kayak before finishing with a 54km road cycle. Last year's winner completed it in around eight hours, but the average is more like 13 hours. You start in the water at a very early hour, earlier than I would normally do anything.

My quad partner is an old university friend, James Hamill. I recently won Young Dentist of the Year for Scotland and James won the same award for Northern Ireland. We're competing together for a number of charities.

It's good to have someone you know to pair each discipline with because you bolster each other. Part of the challenge is also being able to navigate in the mountains because the weather can change quickly.

Before all of that, it's the 81-mile Etape Caledonia cycle race, the RunBalmoral 15-mile trail race and lots of lengths of the swimming pool. Not exactly "feet-up" time, but rest is for after the finish line.

Chris Barrowman is Principal Dentist at Infinityblu Dental Care, Pitlochry. Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon is open for registrations, see www.artemisgreatkindrochit.com.

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