Raising a fist in triumph at his first World Quadrathlon Championship - 1992

World Quadrathlon Championships 
are always held in Ibiza on the last Sunday of September. 


Read Eric's own account (given below) of his amazing battle to make it three 
titles in a row.


There are sports that are entertaining; sports that are simply good fun,  and sports that are challenging. And then there are sports that push the    body to the utmost limits. One of these is the Quadrathlon! Especially 
for the Over 60s.

The Quadrathlon comprises of the following four disciplines:-
                 Swim (Sea)  5km (3.1 miles)
                 Kayak (Sea)  20km (12.4 miles)
                 Cycle (Tarmac roads) 100km (62.1 miles)
                 Run (Road & Track)  21km (13.1 miles)
The total distance travelled is 146km (90.75 miles). The race starts at 
about 9.30am and stops when the last competitor has completed all 
four disciplines and crossed the finish line.

 A jubilant Eric with the 1992 Trophy 
The 1994 World Title.

'Having won the over 60yrs World Title in 1992 & 1993, this was a race I dearly wanted to win to be the first athlete to achieve a hat trick of world titles at the Quadrathlon World Championships. '

    The sea was a little choppy, but nothing that I could not cope with. On my training swims I had been turning in times of 1hrs 40min and knew that I was capable of a 1hr 50min time in the sea. The two lap swim started of no problems at all, but half way through the second lap and for no apparent reason, I was suddenly hit by violent sickness and struggled to finish the swim in a time of just over 2hrs. It seemed I might be doomed to failure from the start.
   Onto the beach to get my kayak the sickness overtook me again but I thought that if I could have a steady paddle for the 20km and manage to get some drink and food down me I would then pick up enough energy to get me through the coming cycle section. It was not to be. sickness on the kayak and instead of a 2hrs 25min paddle, it turned into a nightmare, with me finishing in 2hrs 43mins. by this time my body was completely depleted. My special carbohydrate drink\food just had not stayed down and common sense told me to pull out of the race. But at least there were still competitors behind me and I was loath to admit defeat. I found out later that at least 4 other athletes had suffered the same problems and retired. One of them gave me some Coca Cola to drink and dates to eat. These at least stayed down and the sugar in the coke gave me a quick boost. Against the wishes of the judges I decided to carry on but agreed that if the condition persisted I would pull out. They even sent an ambulance to follow me for the rest of the race. I made it to the first quarter point where there was a drink station so I picked up more Coke and took regular sips to stop me from dehydration and to try and replace energy. It certainly helped to some degree but I still could not stop the nausea or the sickness, although now there was very little left in the body to be sick about.

   I still had the mountainous section of the cycle to come. The two medics in the ambulance were great. They gave me encouragement all the way, and even when I had to walk up part of the mountain section they were still there cheering me on. The ride down the mountains with the wind behind me was beautiful, but still the sickness persisted. I had estimated the cycle section to take me about 4hrs 30mins, but it took me about 5hrs 13mins and there were still two competitors behind me. I was not looking forward to the last discipline, 13 miles half marathon to the finish line. Normally I would have just broken 2hrs for the run but now there was not a lot left in the tank and I didn't know if I could complete it.
   Back at the transition point I racked my bike, drank some more Coke and ate a banana then set off on the run. The trusty ambulance was still with me and I had also picked up a couple of Police motor cyclists. (The Police do a fantastic job on the day of the race to ensure the athletes have a trouble free race.) I knew the feed stations were about 4 miles apart and decided to take it easy. Run and walk just to get to the finish line. One of the remaining competitors passed me after about three miles and I thought it wouldn't be long before the other one passed as well.

   That run was the longest and toughest thing I had done for a long long time. The sickness continued throughout the entire run and I was so tired and depleted I could hardly pull one foot in front of the other. But I wanted that hat trick of wins, and there was still another athlete behind me- who I found out later was suffering from the same sickness as me and that he wouldn't give in because he wanted to catch me.
   Well, I made it to the finish line. That 2hrs run took me 2hrs 35mins to complete. They tell me that I looked like a ghost of someone out of Belsen Concentration Camp when I finished. But I had made it! I had aimed to break 11hrs for the race, but in actual fact it took me 12hrs 32mins 10secs. It was one of the longest days of my life.
   I am pleased to say the other athlete finished about 7 mins behind me, safe and sound. The reason for the sickness none of had suffered from before was never resolved. My opinion is that it was something we drank on the swim, possibly diesel from the yachts that frequent the coast line.

Eric failed to finish the 1995 championship. His body gave up after ten and a half gruelling hours of competition. What Eric didn't know was that he was suffering from an underactive thyroid and had lost 25% of it.  With daily medication keeping the condition under control, and after a year off,  Eric entered the 1997 Championships in the Over 65yrs category. Here's his account of the event.

   'The sea was choppy and awkward and as I had not raced for nearly two years I didn't want to go out too fast and blow out before the finish. Apart from this I had no one in my age category to beat so I just had to cross the line to pick up the gold medal.
I took it fairly easy and completed the swim in 2.15.40, a slow time but not too bad considering everything. The kayak section was hard going in the choppy water, especially out at sea where we were about three miles from land on the back leg. A disappointing time of 2.15.40 put me behind schedule for my goal of achieving 11hrs for the course. But I still felt good and there were still some athletes behind me.
   On to the cycle section and I really felt good now, pushing along as much as I dared - bearing in mind that I still had half a marathon to run afterwards. I made up some time on the cycle section and turned in a time of 4.11.22.
I began the run and had to walk and run past the half way section - true to the words of my coach who had warned me that this would happen because I had not put in enough long distance training. Although I was tired I was still feeling good; no nausea or sickness, but I was very glad to se the finish line.
   I completed the run in 2.07.08 giving me a total time of 11.34mins to take another Gold Medal. And to be the first athlete over 65 year to complete the course.
   Since then I have taken a year off an may consider going back at 70yrs to set another record. But that is in the future - and possibly another story." 
Eric Hatliff, September 1997